In a few years from now you might look back and laugh at the fact that in 2020 Aussies were rushing out and panic buying loo paper.

Researchers that focus on how social media impacts an audience’s perception of incidents recently said that what’s happened in regard to mass purchasing of toilet paper appears to be a mass psychological event prompted by triggering images on social media platforms. Simply put, when people see others panic purchasing toilet paper (for whatever reason) they too are tempted to join in. Like a strange fear of missing out on something that everyone else is in on.

So, Why Toilet Paper?

While some people (including commenters in our forum) believed that the mass hysteria surrounding poo paper was because of fears COVID-19 might cause gastro issues, that’s actually not quite accurate. A number of people also incorrectly believed that since China is a massive manufacturer of everything from clothes to toilet paper that the country’s lock down might impact supplies. Others were of the thought that if Australia, or more realistically, some virus hot spots in Australia were to be put in lock down or isolation for 2 weeks, they wanted to be prepared. It’s not just Aussies losing the plot when it comes to COVID-19, there have been reports of armed robberies in Hong Kong where an armed gang stole 600 rolls of toilet paper in one day. One woman accidentally ordered 12 years’ worth of toilet paper online, after she constructed a toilet roll throne, she sold the toilet paper to raise money for her daughter’s school.


Reality Check

Although the mass hysteria surrounding COVID-19 and the resulting toilet paper crisis has been fueled largely by social media, it’s not that uncommon for people to collectively lose it over a pandemic. Sometimes it’s something as innocuous as one person laughing that then somehow morphs into hundreds of people apparently unable to stop laughing. Yup, that’s a real thing that happened in Tanzania in 1962. You never quite know how you’ll react when everyone around you starts to panic, perhaps you’ll keep your senses, perhaps you won’t. Most people two weeks ago probably never thought they would be the ones fighting in the aisle over a packet of toilet paper, they probably didn’t think it would end with someone being tasered, but yet, here we are. This certainly isn’t the first time an infection disease spread across borders and oceans, but it is the first that has taken place at the height of social media.

LiveTribers, did you find yourself wrestling in the toilet paper aisle recently? Are you shocked at how people are reacting to this perceived crisis?


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