It is not the first time in human history that a pandemic sticks to our world’s throat. A century ago, a flu pandemic started in 1918 and killed around 50 million people, one-third of the world’s population. In those days, the medical development level was deficient, and sharing information to save people’s health was done by telephone, mail, or face-to-face communications.
Now, after more than a century, we have faced a new global pandemic again, threatening millions of people’s lives. But Today, massive social media platforms by different new methods have magnificent pace, reach, and impression in sharing data.
Nowadays that the digital ecosystems surround us, when people face a situation that affects a big part of society, they choose social media as a massive tool to search needed data. While people are trying to figure out what’s going on, they start to judge what they hear from traditional media like TV. They ask: how much is valid what the TV says? If it’s accurate, that famous name on Twitter must has written that. Because we know there are limits on what people can say on a TV show, but nobody can put limits on who knows the reality, he publishes that tweet.
There are different statistics show the number of global social media users. But we can say that around 9 million people all around the world actively use social media. Now Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook have millions of accounts. Can these social media use their penetration power to make a positive impact in crisis days?
Let’s take a look at social media’s role, actions, and what they will do in Covid-19 days.
1. Social Media as a tool for leading people to valid sources of data
The most critical role of social media is to lead people to accurate data sources. These vast platforms with billions of users and data that use artificial intelligence to manage big data during the Covid-19 pandemic have taken the same approach in sharing accurate data. You can see some examples of these approaches below:
When you log in to your Facebook account, it shows a specific title on the homepage below the menu bar named “Covid-19 Information Center,” which links you to the same-named FB page with lots of data, statistics, and relevant links to the WHO website.
Similar data shows up when you search it on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Besides social media, other digital platforms like Google prepare notable results and scientific articles when you search “Covid-19”.
2. Social Media as a massive communication tool
Since 2019 that coronavirus started to expand worldwide, social media became more crucial to spread the data. A lot of important organizations are still trying to inform societies by their social media accounts. Diseases control and prevention centers, World Health Center (WHO), many magazines, and other health organizations regularly deliver guidance on many platforms, which helps inform people accurately.
3. Social Media as a platform to lead influencers
Health organizations and clinicians with an impressive community in social media and social media influencers can conduct the online traffic to reliable sources and help stop fake data from spreading.
Social media platforms by expanding the accurate health-related data, delivering education content on washing hands, and social distancing via banners and pop-ups can play an essential role during the Covid situation. Even if this approach users have stopped searching on WHO or other reliable websites, the possibility of seeing the same message on social media platforms by millions of people increases.
4. Social Media as a diagnostic tool and consultant system
Social media can spread accurate data about tests, experiences, results, and where to search. For instance, specific groups can be used for sharing data efficiently. Many doctors join certain social media groups to write online answers about Covid-19. One of them is PMG COVID-19 as a Facebook sub-group with more than 30K followers. That’s why the importance of social media groups is increasing.
5. Social Media as a supportive platform for accelerating researches
Social media data about the digital footprint of symptoms, interactions, photos of the events, travel destinations, and other human behaviors should be analyzed in real-time to recognize and model the Covid-19 conduction and trajectory, which can help research and accelerate them. The platforms that are good at managing big data and AI technologies should use their power during Covid-19 and support the researchers with their analyzes.
In general, if social media and its tools have been ready and integrated into the proper channels as an effective tool for intervention and recovery, they can help be practical tools for Covid-19 or future people’s health-threatening situations.