The Social Media Entourage.
The Social Media Entourage of
Hey there!! Have you seen the new celebrity in town? You are most probably lying if you have; because it is invisible to the naked eye and almost impossible to accurately detect. In spite of being invisible, it has become the centre of our world and has shaken it to its very core. It is none other than the Novel Coronavirus Disease or COVID-19 and not, ‘China Originated Virus in December-19’ as social media would have you believe. Just in a matter of months, it has become the centre of our social media multiverse, directly or indirectly influencing our every action.
COVID-19 is a virus, a parasitic being smaller than bacteria which has forced us to lock ourselves in our home and for the better or worse forced us for social interaction with family and social media interaction with the world. Most of the world population having nothing to do is increasingly using social media apps and handles to keep themselves occupied along with which comes both the human ‘ingenuity’ and ‘stupidity’ for global display.
This state of joblessness brings out the creativity in us which we are eager to display on social media. Not everyone is an extrovert therefore they mostly observe other peoples’ work, be it painting, poetry, dance, TikTok and most importantly ‘memes’.
People came up with many social media challenges ranging from the’ look-alike’ challenge where people dressed up as celebrity icons or inanimate objects, to ‘ dance challenges’ and even cookery challenges like ‘ The Dalgona Coffee’ challenge; all to just keep oneself occupied.
Even our honourable Prime Minister brought out his creative side by encouraging the country to come together to show appreciation for our frontline workers by appealing to our auditory sense of unity, by clapping and banging utensils together and also appease our visual senses by lighting lamps and candles, all of which was again posted on social media.
With all its benefits came some problems, the impressionable minds of some of our people began falling prey to a rollercoaster of myths and misinformation regarding coronavirus which spread like wildfire among social media handles. Silly myths led to sillier actions like:
- The virus cannot survive high temperatures, therefore taking a hot bath would keep you safe.
- Drinking concentrated alcohol will kill the virus in our lungs, which led to fatalities due to both ethanol and methanol poisoning.
- Eating chicken would cause COVID-19, there was violence against poultry farmers because of this.
- Mosquito bite would cause infection.
- Vaccines against pneumonia are effective against COVID-19
- Parcels from China cause COVID-19.
- COVID-19 only affects the elderly.
- If you get COVID-19, you will definitely die.
- Donald Trump even suggested injecting disinfectants to kill the virus inside our body.
- Taking hydroxychloroquine would prevent infection.
And the list would go on. As an individual in the medical field we can at least debunk these crazy myths and spread awareness.
Some of these myths encouraged and provoked communal violence and religious prejudice which hurt us as a nation as many of our innocent countrymen were subject to unnecessary harassment and social media bullying.
Personal efficiency in studies took a hit due to lack of motivation and an overly comfortable home environment. With lectures being taken online, we only did more harm than good to our mental health.
In spite of this lockdown, there is a silver lining, we get the chance to spend quality time with family and for the better, our environment is healing, proof of which can again be found in the Oh so many social media posts.
Though the pain and suffering of a COVID-19 patient are unfathomable, we all should take initiative and use social media to support them and serve the public by following all lockdown protocols and maintaining good hygiene and spread awareness to stay home and stay safe.
By Prakrut Paidisetty