During a crisis, people tend to use the internet in various ways, depending on their personality, goals, and circumstances. Here are 7 personas that people may exhibit on the internet during a crisis:
- The Information Seeker
- Constantly searching for information about the crisis
- Stays informed about the latest developments
- Joins online forums and communities to exchange information with others
Example: A person who frequently checks news websites and social media for updates about the COVID-19 pandemic, joins online groups dedicated to discussing the latest scientific research on the virus, and regularly participates in online discussions with medical professionals to stay informed about the latest developments.
- The Activist
- Passionate about the crisis and wants to make a difference
- Uses the internet to spread awareness and campaign for change
- Engages in online activism to make their voice heard
Example: An individual who uses social media platforms to raise awareness about environmental issues, organize protests against the government’s policies, and sign online petitions that advocate for change.
- The Empathizer
- Deeply affected by the crisis and wants to show support for others
- Connects with others online to offer words of encouragement, sympathy, and hope
- Shares uplifting stories and positive messages to help others cope with the crisis
Example: A person who uses social media platforms to connect with others who have lost loved ones due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shares stories of hope and resilience to inspire others, and offers words of encouragement and support to those struggling with mental health issues.
- The Critic
- Skeptical about the crisis and wants to challenge the official narrative
- Shares alternative viewpoints and criticizes those in power
- Engages in online debates and discussions to challenge prevailing opinions
Example: An individual who questions the official government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, criticizes the effectiveness of lockdowns and mask mandates, and advocates for more transparency and accountability from public health officials.
- The Escapist
- Wants to escape from the stress and anxiety of the crisis
- Uses the internet to distract themselves, seek entertainment, and engage in leisure activities
- Uses social media to connect with friends and family members and share funny memes and videos to lighten the mood
Example: A person who spends hours watching funny videos on YouTube, playing online games, and browsing social media to take their mind off the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic and connect with friends and family members.
- Sees the crisis as an opportunity to create new business ventures
- Uses the internet to research new business models and reach out to potential customers
- Promotes their products or services online and uses social media to build their brand and attract followers
Example: An individual who starts a new online business selling masks and other protective gear during the COVID-19 pandemic, uses social media platforms to promote their products, and attracts customers through targeted advertising and online marketing campaigns.
- The Helper
- Wants to make a difference in their communities and help those in need
- Uses the internet to find volunteer opportunities and connect with others who share their values
- Raises awareness about the needs of their community and mobilizes support for their cause
Example: A person who volunteers at a local food bank during the COVID-19 pandemic, uses social media to raise awareness about the growing issue of food insecurity, and mobilizes support from others to donate food and money to those in need.
In times of crisis, people turn to the internet for information, connection, and support. The seven personas I’ve outlined – The Information Seeker, The Activist, The Empathizer, The Critic, The Escapist, The Entrepreneur, and The Helper – represent just some of the ways that individuals use the internet to navigate difficult times. Whether it’s through sharing uplifting stories, engaging in online activism, or starting a new business venture, each persona plays a unique role in shaping the way we respond to crisis and adapt to change. By understanding these personas, we can gain a deeper insight into how people use the internet during times of crisis and build a more resilient, connected, and supportive online community.