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The New Norm of being (mis) Informed

Kamalini Ramesh Wednesday, December 22, 2021
The New Norm of being (mis) Informed

“Don’t use social media to impress people;

Use it to impact people” Dave Willis

All countries dealing with the Covid pandemic have not only been battling the virus but also the surge of misinformation that has plagued the internet. The founding father of the 21st century, Social Media has had people drinking gallons of water in hopes of fighting the virus. However, when the vaccines were rolled out and people were given a chance to immunize themselves, they again chose the advice of memes over that of local governments and the WHO.

The impact of the ‘infodemic’ has been a matter of life and death in a literal sense.

Numerous lives could have been saved if only people turned up at the vaccination centers in larger numbers. It has spread despair in patients afflicted by the virus, making them feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Influential people with large follower bases have also been a small part of anti-vaccine follies. Though they may not be willing, their faces have been plastered in memes and WhatsApp forwards.

I’m sure that most of you have read forwards prescribing ‘remedies’ like having garlic juice, hot steams, or even the extreme step of drinking ethanol which is highly dangerous to health.

Some of these remedies may cure symptoms like cold and nose blockage, but not the disease itself. Misinformation like this is not restricted to Covid alone, reports of huge events and conspiracy theories on the internet too have instilled panic and chaos in communities around the world.

It isn’t fully the fault of those who spread misinformation that widespread panic is caused. It is also the fault of those who take in the information without even a hint of scepticism. Being narrow minded and verifying information is crucial.

A product is popular only when consumers buy it in large quantities, just like that a meme becomes viral because it is readily accepted. When we are about to take a big decision, we have numerous doubts. we must realise that just as many doubts have to be clarified before we taken in information from the internet.

Technology is just as much a boon as it is a bane. Essential information about the latest travel bans, vaccination rollouts have also been shared through the same platforms. While these have helped people, they haven’t garnered as much attention as memes and forwards have. Science and invention are meant for the betterment and comfort in living conditions. Using it for the right purposes is a giant leap towards a developed future. So, the next time you find a forward providing you with remedies, send them a forward providing vaccination details. This way you can educate the people around you and keep them protected.

Stay Healthy, Stay happy!

Kamalini Ramesh
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