Role of Social Media in the Current Pandemic

Shahbaz Munawar Kazmi
Social media is the source of information, entertainment, communication, and interaction.  Social media is a fast, effective platform for sharing, searching, and distributing information along with the common people. It informs us what is happening in the world.  It keeps us up to date with the current world but especially during the pandemic the proximity with social media increased. What’s the role of social media really been during the coronavirus pandemic? Positive or Negative? Has it spread fear, anxiety, stress, depression, and panic, or has it spread calmness and serenity?
People have to cope with the vagaries of life and this sudden pandemic makes us suffer. During this crisis, lack of awareness, knowledge, and preparedness would put people and health care staff at risk. The dilemma is how to pass the knowledge of current disease statistics and its prevention to the general population at a rate equivalent to or better than the spreading. We have seen in Pakistan different posts on social media in the outbreak of corona. The post and commercials inform us of the precautionary measures. So that we may become clear on this issue. Even the government is trying to use Facebook for its Ehsaas program to try and connect donors to charity providers and the poor, which is no surprise for the incumbent party. It has also helped popularize certain slogans like #staysafestayhome.   Only Social media can help to aware and educate people about the current pandemic.
Due to the corona pandemic, people were far away from their loved ones. It created skepticism and fear in minds of people about whom they care. They have to bear pain and pangs of separation. The only way they can connect to each other was social media.  Social media helped people to interact with each other during the pandemic. A powerful way to bring positivity in a scary time.  They were physically disconnected but emotionally connected.  They wanted to gad about the world. This could become possible merely because of social media.
 The negative aspect of social media was that it restricts us during the COVID pandemic. It bound us. It made People lazy and lethargic.  People went to Gaga staying at home for a long time. Then due to this, we suffer mentally.  Mental health is a prerequisite element in our life but they fell into depression.  We are far away from physical and healthy activities. Too much merge in social media during the pandemic made us dull. Excessive of everything is bad and we did the same. Likewise, a study reported by The Lancet described “WhatsAppitis” in which a young woman had wrist pain because of sending too many messages from her phone.
We know that social media is a powerful tool for changing people’s minds and it is not a fallacy. The other ill of social media during this pandemic is the spreading of fake news. People can use this platform to spread false news heedless of consequences. It is completely hellish and the perpetrator should get punished. The Qur’an says the same that ” Don’t share any news without confirmation.” Social media is making much nonsense in this way. It is misleading and misguiding others. Misinformation creates confusion, and spreads fear, hampering the outbreak response. Misinformation on the coronavirus might be the most contagious thing about it.” These circumstances create disorders and it results in a shortage and black marketing. For example in India, the fake reports about Corona make a shortage of face masks and sanitizers due to a lack of financial resources. This platform can also harm resources and the economy. There have been countless articles propagating fake news and misinformation ranging from the most hilarious (releasing 180 lions on the streets of Moscow) . We have already seen reports of suicides emerging from Italy and Germany due to stress related to the virus directly.
Celebrities, Teachers, religious and political leaders must come forward to post about COVID-19 on social media that is informative and make sure that their followers know what’s happening. They have a huge fan following. People love to imitate their heroes and if heroes try to bring positivity then there will be positivity everywhere. They should post precautionary measures so that people may get aware. These are hard times everywhere but using the platform of social media we should spread optimism instead of pessimism.  The crux of life is happiness. We can make this planet worthy of living during these difficulties and panic.
The writer is a student of the English department at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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