The most alarming phenomenon for this new decade is to suffer from a new disease called Coronavirus disease(COVID-19). The worst fact about this deadly virus is that it gets transmitted by the close contact of person to person. It has already spread into 198 countries and there is no cure for this disease. WHO has declared it the Global Pandemic of 2020.
The entire world is crying for rescue now. As it has no medical cure, only taking precautions can save people. So it is very important to make people aware of its symptoms, precautionary steps, and all the necessary information. Here, social media can help to a great extent.
We have already seen the powerful role of social media in the last decade through many incidents. There are nearly 3.8 billion social media users all over the world. Now the biggest communication and information sharing platform is different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Reddit, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and too many to be told. So, there is no need to describe the influential role of social media in the present time.
The social media campaign for raising awareness is not similar to other platforms. A guide of WHO describes the methodology of the four-element approach called SPAR. It comprises strategy, protocols, assets, and resources. The strategy is for designing the methods of information sharing, the protocol is the systematic approach, and the asset is the way of describing in the easiest way and resources is for defining reach and engagement.
Think about you, where did you hear about the COVID-19 for the 1st time? Well, I heard it from Facebook when it was limited in China. Now there is rarely a country where the virus has not reached. I learned that there are a few precautions that we need to maintain. Washing hands frequently, avoiding public gathering and wearing a mask can help in preventing the virus.
Social distancing is the most effective way to battle the virus. Now, wherever I go, either on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram or Twitter, I see people are talking about social distancing and washing hands. ‘#Stay home’ has become like a new movement. It is because social media has global reach and without language, there is no barrier.
People get news from social media more than the newspaper. Everyone owns a mobile phone now. So, people can get news or a message within a second. That makes a common platform for people to share breaking information. What COVID-19 is, how it spreads, how to take precautions etc can be known to all effectively here. By frequent watching of news and videos, people get influenced.
For example, a lot of myths and fake news were floating around about COVID-19 from the beginning. But within a very short time, the myths were busted by experts on social media. Though social media itself is responsible for the fake news, however, it is also true that it can spread truth better than print media.
Now, every Govt. and non-Govt. agencies use social media platforms to share their announcements and decisions. People can know what is instructed by Govt. and what should be their role in preventing the virus.
China, Italy, Iran, and Spain are the worst sufferers of the novel corona virus. People are dying and screaming for help there. The entire world feels sympathetic to them. They show love, kindness and also they pray for the helpless people through social media and it creates a nice environment of humanity.
Videos are powerful and amazing tools for raising awareness. Nowadays the Facebook and Instagram are filled with videos of washing hands properly. It may sound silly, but the impact is outstanding. People subconsciously know the methods. Besides, there are videos on maintaining self- quarantine effectively. As quarantine is boring for everyone, the videos are giving them a strong message that nobody is alone.
The animation is another way of raising awareness among general people. It is suitable for viewers of all age groups. As animation is very engaging, it is easy to show the necessary steps of precaution through it. It is attention-grabbing and easy viewing. You can learn a lot of information about the virus, it’s structure, death rate, conditions of affected countries as well as what to do to prevent the virus attack by watching only an animation. It is as simple as that. Animation can present any complex thing easily. So it can be a great option for raising awareness.
The illustration is also a creative medium for providing a message. Hundreds of words can be said in a limited space by an illustration. The use of images, colorful designs can be helpful in that case. It attacks viewers’ attention and makes them aware within a second. The healthcare-related websites make the illustration and they share it on social media. People get to know information very easily here. So it can be used widely to awaken public consciousness on the corona virus.
A new feature of ‘Facebook Live’ has already proven its effectiveness in raising public awareness. Many doctors come to live and give the necessary information and facts on the Corona virus. People believe it as an authentic source. Celebrities come to live and try to influence people as they have millions of followers. So Facebook live is an amazing tool that can raise awareness among millions of people.
At last, I want to say that social media is a platform where people feel connected as a global citizen. It is no longer a place of spending time aimlessly. Corona virus has made humankind helpless and frustrated. As it is very new and nobody has enough knowledge to tackle the danger, people look for information and news. Also, there is no vaccine and medicine to cure it so prevention is the only way for staying safe. It requires certain behavioral changes, personal hygiene, and social distance to prevent the virus. That’s why it is very important to raise awareness among people and social media can be the perfect option in that case.
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