COVID-19 has dominated the news, giving traditional news media an essential role in disseminating vital public health and policy information. As a result, broadcasters like the BBC, CNN and others have significantly increased their audience size. While skeptics criticize traditional media and their biases for varying reasons, the COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the negative role social media can play in its potential to spread false news.
However, it’s not all bad. In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, new media play critical roles in several areas, including ensuring basic healthcare provisions like vaccines are available. Consider that this is just one-way mainstream media helped fight against the COVID-19 virus. This blog will consider the others in further detail below.
Finding Ways to Get Vaccines
In the United States, many vulnerable populations found themselves at the butt end of an underdeveloped vaccine matchmaking program. Consequently, the most desperate people often lined up outside pharmacies, as they had no choice but to go on an extensive search for a location with a vaccine.
Fortunately, major news platforms could highlight alternative solutions to the current healthcare problem. For example, following a New York Times article about Dr. B, many vulnerable groups were able to learn about an online program that could connect them directly to vaccines.
Disseminating Information To The Public
First, new media aids in the timely, comprehensive, and effective disclosure and dissemination of information. New media has inherent advantages in information disclosure due to their zero-lag redistribution. Furthermore, integrating social and traditional media combines new media’s advantages of promptness and convenience with traditional media’s authority. It greatly improves information distribution and effectiveness, resulting in platforms such as government department WeChat, Weibo accounts, and mainstream media mobile applications.
While social media can help by disseminating relevant COVID-19 safety information, it is not immune to fake news. Numerous conspiracy theories, false claims, and lies instill fear in the public. Fortunately, all the world’s major social media platforms have joined forces with the WHO to combat misinformation and keep the public safe and healthy.
They use sophisticated algorithms to filter the news and ensure that only fact-checked, reliable, and trustworthy information is available online.
Organizing Life-Saving Fundraisers
New media, as it usually does in times of major crisis, helps people unite and fight together. For example, organizations and individuals use new media platforms to organize fundraisers to assist those in need. People are assisting hospitals struggling to care for all of their patients by donating funds for personal protective equipment and medication. They also assist individuals who have lost their jobs, local businesses that cannot afford to pay their employees while their doors are closed, and the elderly who cannot leave their homes to purchase groceries.
While it isn’t the platform that creates the fundraisers, new media gives do-gooders a place to connect, organize and encourage everyone to pitch in.
Enabling Closer Interactions
Another way new media helped to fight the pandemic is through its ability to assist in meeting daily needs during the lockdown. Daily life became inconvenient after the government-imposed lockdown and other restrictions and control measures. Many felt isolated as they now had no choice but to stay home.
New media allowed people to interact closely, greatly alleviating the anxiety caused by social distancing. New media platforms also meet people’s basic needs. For example, a new media platform in Shanghai offered residents services such as searching for qualified suppliers of anti-epidemic materials, ordering face masks, and navigating fever outpatient clinics.
Sharing Public Safety Tips With The World
Perhaps the most important benefit of new media in its fight against the pandemic is assisting the public in learning everything there is to know about the novel coronavirus. Social media news spreads like wildfire, which is especially useful right now. COVID-19 news has most likely flooded your newsfeed across all platforms.
That’s how many people learned about the virus for the first time and the symptoms and precautions. And so we are constantly reminded of the critical importance of basic hygiene and social distancing.
What’s great about social media right now is that celebrities are sharing their personal coronavirus experiences with the rest of the world. Many people trust public figures more than their government or anyone else advising them to take precautions. As a result, more people tend to listen when influential people speak out and urge them to take it seriously by sharing powerful messages on their social profiles.
Encouraging Worldwide Positivity
As they always have, new media platforms help us stay connected. They assist us in providing and receiving the support we require during this difficult time, reminding us that the world is in this together.
Aside from the outpouring of support for those suffering from quarantine and isolation and those dealing with loss and grief, new media helped to fight the pandemic by ensuring the world stayed positive.
Sharing memes, jokes, antidotes, and relatable content on new media platforms allowed the world to laugh, stay positive, and get through the crisis a little easier.
Despite new media’s backlash in spreading false news and facilitating increased phone time, these platforms have shown the many ways they played a part in fighting the pandemic. From encouraging positivity to being the center point for charity organizations, there is no shortage of examples one can look to for proof.