instagram
The Instagram application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. Reuters

If you look past all the havoc and deaths it has caused, the coronavirus pandemic has brought the human race together like no other event has in decades. It has made us realise the importance of family and friends a little better by keeping us away from them. It has also shown us the better sides of our neighbours, doctors, our local police, healthcare workers, or anybody in our community who is helping people out in these turbulent times. Instagram seems to know this fact very well and wants you to thank all of them in a really nice manner.

The Facebook-owned social media network has announced a new dedicated 'Thank You Hour' and a new sticker for its users just for this.

Thank all coronavirus heroes on Instagram's 'Thank You Hour'

Instagram users can show their gratitude and thank all the people around the world who have stepped up in the most remarkable ways to support friends, family and their communities during the pandemic using a special sticker and a shared story which will be shared at the dedicated Thank You Hour which starts at 7pm every night on April 11 all through next week.

The Thank You Hour features a new sticker and shared story which a user can use to show gratitude to whoever has helped them or just thanking all the helpful souls around the world.

Announcing the new Thank You Hour service on Twitter, Instagram wrote: "It's a sticker in stories that lets you show gratitude for what's helping you through this time. Use the sticker and your photo or video will be added to a shared Instagram story at 7 p.m. your time where friends can see your thanks."

Available in select countries, but rolling out to more soon

The sticker and the shared story will be available in select countries for now. However, Instagram says it plans to expand the availability in other countries over the coming days.

Instagram's other coronavirus-related stickers

Over the last few days, many people have taken to Instagram and other social media networks to share their gratitude and thank you notes to people who have been actively fighting on the frontlines and ensuring people are safe at home, as well as in hospitals, thereby helping curb the contagion.

Instagram has already added two other coronavirus-related stickers amid the lockdowns – a 'Thanks Health Heroes' sticker to pay tribute to healthcare workers and a 'Stay Home' sticker which encourages people to stay at home.

Stay Home sticker

The 'Stay Home' sticker is already quite popular with Instagrammers and works similar to the new Thank you Hour service where the content gets added to a collective 'Stay Home' story where people can share their experiences.

The shared or collective Thank You Hour story will respect users existing privacy settings and the content won't be visible to everyone using the app. However, if a user adds the new sticker, it will be shown to all of his connections in a new shared Thank You Hour story, that gets shared at 7pm each day.

How to add a new Thank You Hour story and sticker

Too add a new Thank You Hour story and sticker, you will need to add a new story and head to the sticker tray where the new Thank You Hour sticker will be the second sticker in the tray, located right after the Stay Home sticker.

All through thus week, starting at 7 pm each day, there will be a Thank You Hour shared story that will be pinned to the top of your Stories tray. Here you will be able to see the stickers and shared stories of all the people you follow.

Instagram announced: "From healthcare workers, essential workers, small businesses, to the friends, family and at-home activities that keep you energized, we hope this is a small, but meaningful way to shine a light on what you're grateful for right now."

Small initiatives that go a long way

Such initiatives help Instagram users rally around social causes. This type of sharing could also help communicate key messages and encourage people to participate in helping combat the COVID-19 spread. Though it may seem a very small measure, if one looks at the bigger picture, the extent of social media reach and socially reinforced messages which show that yours and your friends' participation carry significant weight and has the potential to prompt others to act as a result.