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Webology ; 19(5):209-219, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2058368

ABSTRACT

March 2020 saw South Africa go through its first 21-day lockdown, and fear gripped the country as a new virus identified as COVID-19 caused a devastating impact throughout the world. During this time, history played the devils advocate by reminding society of the previous flu known as the 1919 Spanish flu, which saw millions of people succumb to its prowess. To a large extent, social media enabled a confused and saddened society to be connected. Besides essential services, all other sectors of the economy were instantly shut down. Social media became societys lifeline during COVID-19 as it abled them to remain connected. One could say that social media became societys life support in these uncertain times. A forwarded message does not declare the original sender nor restricts who the next receiver could be. Businesses were also able to function by using social media to the point that people could now buy everything virtually from a store without going to a store. Social media could not replace all essential functions, but it helped provide a sustainable bridge for postlockdown. Certain sectors of the economy, which dealt with production etc., experienced the full brunt of the lockdown. Artisans and artists lost a platform to showcase their talent and display their trade, leading to a loss of income. Education Institutions had some forms of online platforms which were used;however, distance learning was implemented overnight through the use of online mediums. While Moodle is a required platform used by many higher education institutions, other online platforms are also used. This paper describes the use of WhatsApp as an online medium providing higher education institutions with a lifeline by keeping them connected during COVID-19. For this paper, the author uses the Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication which looks at the sender and receiver and the medium used to disseminate information. The senders and receivers are students, lecturers, administration staff, and management. Content analyses were used as part of the research methodology for this paper.

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