Who cares about what the world thinks about us? Was the pandemic a situation anyone expected to happen ? No. So-
‘is the world outside important’ or ‘our mental self’ or ‘a social setting’
important? This is what we find ourselves asking every time .Is the “mass” for us or are we the
“mass” is something which we need to ponder upon. The world or we could say the “social
media” has divided us into innumerable categories i.e introverts, extroverts and the newest of all ambiverts.
It's necessary to ask why it is so? Humans have the tendency to sort themselves out in groups to feel safe;
typically known to us as herd mentality. When we fail to understand ourselves and the fact that we don’t fit
in a certain category, it ultimately makes us question our entire self worth. Hence, the pandemic is totally a boon
for people who don’t care about validation from social media.
Imagine the number of times that important news, feedback, follow up links can be circulated by the ease of a touch, but can't a wave of panic and commotion be raised by the users due to the lack of knowledge failure of authentication. A pandemic without mass and social media is a pragmatic thought for the naive mind. Ethical use of social media is a prevailing dream but not all understand the emerging requirement to preach it. The pandemic made us sit back home and connect with our family which is much better than only seeing them once a week or just on calls due to packed schedules. We could practically see them and tell them what we felt at the very moment which was not always possible pre-pandemic. This has helped us all make a better relationship with them. I believe that social media has become the “middleman” or “virtual duplicate” of oneself. If we have to express something to people, why do we need to use Facebook or Instagram to quote something up for them? I believe in human touch and a connection in today’s era and I am sure there are many of us.
So the pandemic could have been a positive outlook for people who actually want to make a difference in their life and dream of an alternate reality. If we need a pandemic to open our eyes and understand the severity of the situation and how mass and social media opinions have a hold on us, I would want this to be a learnt lesson. There is a life outside of the social media world which is the “actual life'” we are living in. Hence the best way to put it would be, “ if people are sheep, mass and social media are the shepherds”.
Final Year B. Pharm
The COVID-19 has created an atypical worldwide crisis.
Famous social media platforms like Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook along with all the mass media platforms were at the heart of the pandemic. Trending memes, videos, information, and the news kept us entertained and informed all over the pandemic. The hilarious meme trends seemed to be more contagious than the disease as they spread rapidly. The social platforms were used by people to channelize their talent and creativity in the quarantine period along with this the health care professionals also used it as a stressbuster from their tedious schedule. Not only for entertainment purposes but to spread news, disease information to the whole world, awareness was brought to us by these mediums.
As the engagement of people on the various social media platforms increased it was beneficial to various business owners to work on strategies for online marketing, advertising, and product sale and make a revenue out of it when the shops and malls were closed. The people’s choice of shopping online have increased up to a whopping 85% in the post-pandemic period according to a report.
Personally, my whole routine in the pandemic period included the use of various media platforms. Starting from the news in the morning with a cup of tea, then talking to friends, family and checking up on them every day, attending online lectures, watching movies, and listening to music. Every bit of my daily chore included use of a media platform. Imagining a pandemic without these media platforms is dreadful. There would be no source of entertainment and everyone's day would be filled with boredom. We wouldn’t get the information about the disease or awareness related to the disease. Without the online way, businesses would be facing big losses and this would lead to collapsing economies in many countries. Overall the people would be in a bad state of mind. All this would only worsen the effect of the pandemic, and we can say the media platforms saved us.
BUT! With the intent of using the media platforms for spreading positive news and awareness, they were also used for spreading misinformation, fake news, and fulfilling political agendas.
In China, a rumor had started stating that bioweapons research in a Wuhan laboratory resulted in the genetic manufacturing of COVID-19 in order to create a biological war. The news was filled with exaggerated and unverified rumors. Various unproven remedies were suggested as cures for COVID-19. Political agendas were propagated over the death of a famous actor. Constant media reporting created an uncertainty about the lockdown among the people leading to impulsive buying of hand sanitizers, facemasks and essential products.
All these situations question the accountability of these media platforms and creates a phenomenon called ‘confirmation bias’ - the tendency to accept statements that reinforce our established views and downplay those that are contrary to them. But developing new strategies and policies by the media platforms can limit the spread of misinformation and thus ignoring the negatives we can surely say that social media and mass media have indeed helped us to survive the pandemic period in a better way .
S. Y. B. Pharm