The Virus And Social Media

I am sorry but social media can be doing more harm. than good.

We can always point to the access to information almost immediately as a positive….and on the other hand we can point to the morons that are challenging people to lick toilet seats or those dweebs that are spreading some sort of conspiracy instead of much need clarity of information.

“The facebooks and twitters of today are nothing but tulip manias and other pyramid schemes that were well-known in late 18th century Europe. They provide no service and make nothing of value, but they are rather adept, for a brief while, at convincing quite a few people that they do.” (Baruch Pletner)

We are staying home and interacting through social media….but is that a good thing?

Everything that we’re currently enduring would be worse without the Internet. Without it, we wouldn’t be getting nearly as much information nearly as quickly. Our ability to look up what doctors are saying would be nil. Our ability to know what the coronavirus is doing in other countries would be limited to foreign correspondents. Our knowledge about the crisis we’re facing would be limited to what we could find out from the television, the radio, newspapers, and magazines.

The optimistic view is that social media could prove useful at a time when many of us are otherwise isolated from one another. Conversations around the coronavirus, especially those at the community level, can help us navigate this crisis, says Jeff Hancock, a professor of communication at Stanford University and the director of the Stanford Social Media Lab. Those discussions are “reflecting how society is thinking and reacting to the crisis,” Hancock says. “They’re allowing society to sort of talk its way through what is an unprecedented kind of threat.” Scientists and other public health experts are also using social media to more directly engage with the public or discuss emerging research, while community leaders are using it to form ad-hoc volunteer networks to help vulnerable neighbors.

WHO and other public health organizations also use social media to inform the public about the outbreak, and control the panic. Of course, it doesn’t mean that misinformation is not being circulated among social media users. For many people, conspiracy theories are a natural response to the senseless cruelty of this crisis. They offer clarity and an opportunity to blame someone for the havoc. So it’s not unreasonable that a number of dangerous conspiracy theories ‘blew up’, offering interesting, albeit completely incorrect ways of viewing the situation. Some claim that the virus is a biological weapon, created by either the US (to kill Chinese people) or China (to kill Americans). Some claim that the outbreak was orchestrated by big tech – to undermine China’s status as the world capital of high-tech manufacturing.

All I am trying to say is to be leery of the information you may get from social media…….go to reliable sites for that info.

“Virus Truthers” have made their appearance…..remember those types from a decade ago?

NBC News is calling them “coronavirus deniers”; the Daily Beast is going with “coronavirus truthers.” These are the people—most of them conspiracy theorists or far-right activists—who started the #FilmYourHospital hashtag urging people to head out to their local hospitals, film the entrances, and then post the results on social media. Their argument: Things seem pretty quiet at these hospitals despite harrowing reports to the contrary. As NBC points out, just because the outside of a hospital appears calm doesn’t mean the inside is. And an expert notes that some hospitals, even in hard-hit areas like New York City, may simply be quieter than others: “There can be particularly high-risk neighborhoods within a hot spot. There may be hospitals where they’re not putting refrigerated morgue trucks out the door. If you take it all together, it’s one big picture. If you look at it separately, it may look like another.”

Adds Will Sommer at DB, “The videos also don’t consider that, as hospitals cancel elective surgeries and ban visitors, fewer people could be parking at the hospital. The videos also don’t take into account the fact that coronavirus patients are likely isolated from the rest of the hospital, meaning they can’t be easily seen by walking past an entrance or lobby.” The phenomenon started when former Fox News commentator Todd Starnes tweeted a video Saturday of a calm-looking Brooklyn Hospital Center; the next day, a New York City councilman tweeted a video of bodies being loaded onto an 18-wheeler outside the same hospital. Even so, the hashtag (which Sommer notes was started and proliferated by QAnon conspiracy theorists) and accompanying conspiracy theory had already taken off, with thousands tweeting about it by Monday and people including a onetime California congressional candidate posting similarly quiet-appearing videos of hospitals. A Fox News contributor retweeted, then deleted, that video.

It will get crazier as the pandemic rages on…….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

2 thoughts on “The Virus And Social Media

  1. Hospitals are quieter outside because all routine clinics have been cancelled. (At least over here) Also non-urgent surgery, and many other things that make hospitals busy to the random viewer. What is busier is intensive care and respiratory wards, and other than ambulances arriving, you will not notce this from watching a hospital entrance. They are fools.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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