LIKE so many people in this weird new world we find ourselves in, I'm not worried for myself, I'm worried for someone else.

As the government fails to take a clear and firm line on what steps groups of people should be taking - from small businesses to theatres to individuals - following the relentlessly grim news cycle, as we must, becomes increasingly stressful as there is suggestion then conflicting suggestion of what we need to do.

Self-isolate, but what does that mean? Can we go out for walks while in self isolation? The official government and NHS guidance, according to their websites is no, we can't. Will everyone stick to that? Probably not.

We shouldn't got to restaurants, or the cinema or theatre; we should carry out social distancing. But what does non-essential travel actually mean in practice? Why isn't the government instructing businesses to close rather than leaving it all up to personal choice?

It turns out quite a few of my favourite people are aged 70 and over - I just hadn't ever thought of them as elderly. Some of these 70-somethings are the most active people I know. They volunteer, they're on boards, they parkrun, they golf, they care for grandchildren, they would make you exhausted just thinking about their daily schedules.

So it can't be easy, when you feel young at heart, to acknowledge the potential frailty of a body that has aged while your outlook and temperament has not.

What to do with my active mum, who is of a certain age but thinks she's 29? Her deafness means we can't pick up the phone for a chat and lip reading isn't easy if I'm in the garden and she's peeking out the front door.

To social media we turn. I've set up, and gird yourself internet, a Facebook page for Ma Stewart, connecting her to relatives in Australia and New Zealand as well as relatives on the other side of town.

I wrote her out a set of instructions for her first foray into the world wide web's interactive elements, the chief of which was "Only post nice things."

As I took her through what each section was for, showing her photographs of beloved children in Sydney and Auckland and England, with her showing real delight, it reminded me of what Facebook's initial purpose, why we all signed up.

Not data harvesting or boastful experience curating or tedious, circular political bickering.

It was for keeping up with people you love, near and far.

We're going to need that in the coming weeks and months. There's already been a surge in amusing memes and delightful GIFS (Mum, I've explained GIFS. We'll come back to memes later) making humour amid a crisis.

A young boy in Wales started the trend of hand washing posters with each necessary step set to a line of a song. There's a marvellous catalogue now thanks to collective input from strangers on the web.

There's a glorious video doing the rounds of an Italian nonna giving advice as to how to cope with coronavirus. "Instead of hugs and kisses," she says, "We wink." Your nonna has been telling you all this time to wash your hands - listen to nonna. Locked in for two weeks? Wash your windows, she says. She'll be making sauces. 100ml of ragu? 400 Euro. Nonna is joking, it's her job to feed you up.

Boris Johnson has said, starkly, that loved ones will die. The G7 group released a statement yesterday with the words: "The Covid-19 pandemic is a human tragedy and a global health crisis."

When news websites are brimming with those anxiety inducing messages what we need is cat videos and lots of 'em.

Lockdown will hard mentally. Some of us will delight in a chance to stay indoors, read books, watch a hearty dose of Netflix and eat up the treats we've been saving. Others will be stir crazy, some will find it nigh-on untenable.

Many, many will be lonely. And the only reliable and consistent interactions they will have will be on social media.

Now is the time to make Twitter and Facebook friendly, supportive places to be.

I've already seen people offer to be at the end of the phone for anyone who needs to talk. I've seen people suggest WhatsApp groups for those who are stressed and need companionship.

A return to innocent days of connecting in good faith with good feeling is just what we need now.