Hitting their stride: some social media users found new friends online during lockdown, bonding over walks as part of their outdoor exercise time. Photo: FILE

Friendships formed online in lockdown

June 14, 2021 BY

SOCIAL media once again became the first port of call to remain connected during the circuit breaker lockdown last month.

Creator of the Bendigo GalPals Facebook group, Kaitlyn Meggs Hammond, said the online space became more popular than ever while the public’s movements were restricted.

“Definitely through COVID it took off a lot more than I thought it ever would,” she said.

“It just started with a few hundred girls and then only recently it took off and got to 2000 members, especially last year with lockdown.”

Ms Meggs Hammond was inspired by a similar Geelong Facebook group, and wanted to create one for Bendigo women when she was in her late teens.

“Having lived all over regional Victoria, you see how other pages have developed and how other people are making friends and that’s what I wanted for Bendigo, just to be able to connect with other girls and find a friend soulmate,” she said.

“The original purpose was to make it so that people could connect and meet friends that they probably wouldn’t normally get to meet through everyday life.

“I think the reason the Bendigo page has been so successful is because there’s so many young women and girls out there that just don’t have that connection.

“They may not be able to make the friends at school that they would get out of the page, some people may just need someone to talk to just online and that gives them that security.

“Because I created it, I felt like a really proud mum I guess, seeing something that’s helped young women and even my sisters and myself be able to make friends and I’m pretty sure a lot of them catch up.”

Sil Moreno created the Latinos Unidos en Bendigo, or Latinos United in Bendigo, group almost one year ago while in lockdown to connect with the community.

“We try to share different events, activities, we even do some private barbeques to celebrate our own holidays or special days that we have,” she said.

“It’s to remember our roots, to keep in touch with people who can understand our feelings about being very far away from home and also to keep some of our traditions.”

Two weeks ago, Zulma Fohrigen messaged Ms Moreno ahead of her move to Bendigo and the pair formed a friendship during the circuit breaker lockdown by meeting for walks.

“Sometimes when you see what people put in their social media you can identify with some of the things that you like to do,” Ms Fohrigen said.

“It was just a good energy between Sil and me, and we kept doing walks every afternoon.”