COVID-19 Content: Memes and Misinformation
By Sabrina Devereaux
Information sharing takes many different forms, one of which is memes. Whether you’re receiving them in your Instagram feed or they’re gracing your group chat, it’s hard to escape the widely popularized, image/copy combos. Keeping with the theme of reflecting pop culture and societal concerns in general, memes adopted COVID-19 as a subject matter. Some in the name of public health, some commenting on shelter at home—and detrimentally—some spreading misinformation.
For an example of a funny, informative and nostalgic post, here’s the High School Musical hand washing meme. Helpful for reminding us to wash our hands in general, but most importantly for the impeccable timing of Get Your Head In The Game + WHO’s 20-second hand washing allotment. You can time your own hand washing verse at washyourlyrics.com!
For more lighthearted, pandemic-themed memes see Laugh Away The Apocalypse With Coronavirus Memes.
However, for all the good, useful and informative memes/social posts out there, the opposite also exist. COVID-19 has placed us in the middle of an unprecedented public health crisis. More and more information is broadcasted from public health officials and political leaders daily, often hourly, and some information is the polar opposite of what was thought to be known just days or hours before. It’s no wonder that some information circulating your social media feed is outdated. Missing one report or newscast can leave you completely in the dark to new information, and outdated information (memes especially) can be shared just as easily as the latest stats.
To share useful information, including memes, on your social channels follow these easy steps:
Date and Time Stamp Everything
Doing a repost on social media? Say when the original content was posted. This allows anyone viewing your post to know how up-to-date and relevant the information is. This is essential because algorithms are different on every social platform, so something you post today could show up in someone’s feed two weeks later. Adding a date/time helps eliminate confusion and allows individuals to gauge relevancy.
Include Specific Data
It can be a challenge not to share the most visually appealing content out there, but for the good of public health, you should consider sharing the ugly infographic with specific metrics over the cute non-specific symptom chart you saw on Pinterest. If there’s ever a good time to break your aesthetic, it’s during a pandemic.
Delete any Outdated Posts
Any SF techie can tell you the importance of keeping your data clean. In this case, we mean keeping only relevant posts on your social channels. This tip also accounts for various social media algorithms. Your most popular and widely circulating post may not be your most recent one. If you’re publishing COVID-19 content, make sure to delete any old posts with contradictory, outdated or irrelevant information.
Information sharing is incredibly important, and especially so when facing a global crisis like COVID-19. Following these easy steps and sourcing information backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will keep your social channels reliable and act to aid public health.