As college students, we have all been told time and time again: do not go into the arts. We live under capitalism, where our value as people is directly correlated with how much we’re paid. As corporations turn into media conglomerates and media conglomerates turn into monopolies, economic opportunities for creatives are shrinking. Terrified parents have only increased their pleas to their artistically inclined children, begging them to get degrees in something “useful.” However, quarantine has forced us all to reconsider what it is we deem useful, and to reckon with the massive role that entertainment media plays in our quarantined lives.
In March, we published an article about what platforms people were using to connect with each other digitally during the quarantine. Nine months later, students are still maintaining virtual connections while we wait for a vaccine. We’re still using our devices to watch TV and movies and play games virtually with our IRL friends, but students also report using social media to form new friendships that are online-only. Some are growing their social circle in quarantine by connecting with others in primarily queer and primarily youth spaces, like internet fandoms. Finding each other through their interest in some of the great media that have come out during quarantine (to name a few, “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” “The Half of It” and “Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts”) as well as by revisiting nostalgic classics, students report a renewed interest in fanfiction, fan-made content and using social media sites like Discord and Tumblr for connecting with other fans.