By: Eileen Guo
Social media is one of the best ways to share news nowadays, especially if you are trying to alert people of something serious in a very quick manner. Whether it be COVID-19 news from individual states or breaking news on a national scope, social media brings the message where it needs to go. Engagement rates on social media platforms have shot up in the past few months since the outbreak. Though much of it encompasses news anchors reporting current events, people have become more and more supportive, posting encouraging messages and empowering those in need. Over the past few weeks, updates have been posted on the amount of people that have been affected by the virus, and this has only made people increasingly aware of the current situation. Influencers with a relatively large following have the ability to reach out to large groups of people to raise awareness: whether that be raising funds to buy masks in support of the medical professionals fighting the virus on the frontlines, or reaching out to those who are able to foster a newborn puppy. Influencers and celebrities have the ability to spread positive messages to the masses; when high-profile figures show that they’re quarantining, more people are inclined to do the same. I’ve noticed that people have been trying to take their minds off prom getting cancelled, or not having a graduation by spreading encouraging messages on their social media pages. Now that people are becoming more grateful of having a safe shelter and a supportive family during such a confusing time, many are realizing that there’s a lot to be thankful for in a time like this.
Unfortunately, social media can do just as much bad as it can do good. Social media is great for spreading information and news, but some of that can be misinformation or “fake news.” Misinformation, especially about COVID-19, can cause panic. If it’s something as important or serious as a worldwide pandemic, do some research to see if what you are reading is actually factual. Otherwise, you may be inclined to share misinformation and fuel panic over something that isn’t necessarily true.
Social media has a strong influence over the population in that it can easily manipulate the opinions of the masses. Nevertheless, it’s important to stay thankful during a time like this, and be cautious of what gets put out into the public.