Twitter during COVID-19 is filled with commentary and conversations about coronavirus.
￼There’s some really good information. And it’s been clearly established that we’re facing a serious situation. Beyond that there’s lots of noise — nervous chatter about things that we can’t control and stuff our tweets will never change. In our efforts to help (especially us health professionals) we’re creating a new information problem. There’s just too much of it that isn’t helpful.
It could be that one of our greatest dangers is the hysteria, hype, and echoed drama that offers no value to anyone.
To avoid feeding the infodemic I’m committed to cutting back the volume and nature of what I share.
I’m rethinking my social sharing on Twitter during COVID-19
Here are four things I’m trying to keep in mind on Twitter during COVID-19
- Avoid the echo. Try to share and say things that perhaps haven’t been said a thousand times. Some are doing a great job with sharing certain kinds of critical information — no need to repeat their work. ‘Amplification’ is good to a point.
- Create value. Try to say and share things that are most likely to add value￼. Always think, how does this Tweet really improve things? Is this important? Drop the drama and think about how we’re helping readers. Before you post, think to yourself how this adds to the greater good.
- Dont politicize. No doubt there are a bunch of ways all this could be done differently by our current administration. But don’t politicize the pandemic. This doesn’t help anyone. There’ll be time for that later.
- Listen. I’m working to listen more than I speak. While she wasn’t talking about Twitter and viral pandemics, this advice comes directly from my grandmother who told me I have two ears and one mouth for a reason! I’ve been trying to do this more over the past few months, in case you’ve noticed. But it has real application now.
So this is my personal commitment to minimizing coronavirus noise. If we all did just a couple of these we might keep Twitter and the other social channels a little cleaner. And after looking at these suggestion they might be good rules to live by long after we’ve flattened the curve.
It’s tempting to live narrate the crisis
Honestly, all of this is hard for me because it’s so tempting to speculate, worry, and narrate the crisis. And drama draws attention and engagement in this situation, for sure. But we need to save the stream for the stuff that keeps us most informed.
Peer-to-peer we need each other’s eyes and ears for what matters most. More importantly, as health professionals we have a responsibility to serve as reliable messengers for a nervous population. We have to be careful about what we say and how we say it. As some like to say, (wait for it…) words matter.
So watch you words. And wash your hands.
Image modified via the CDC.
If you like this you might like our COVID-19 Archives. It isn’t a whole lot but, like COVID19, it’s growin’ fast. Check it out. And as a reminder, every post here has tags that sit just below the post (look!). These will lead you to great related stuff.