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4 methods you possibly can design social media posts to fight well being misinformation

It’s no secret that on-line misinformation has been a giant downside all through the pandemic. After all, well being misinformation isn’t unique to COVID – it’s a problem we confronted properly earlier than the pandemic, exacerbated by the worldwide shift into the digital age.

However maybe you end up questioning how what you submit on social media may help to fight well being misinformation, and how one can share correct well being info in a manner that’s going to stay.

In our analysis throughout the pandemic, we’ve explored what sorts of methods are best. Listed here are 4.

This text is a part of Quarter Life, a sequence about points affecting these of us in our twenties and thirties. From the challenges of starting a profession and taking good care of our psychological well being, to the thrill of beginning a household, adopting a pet or simply making pals as an grownup. The articles on this sequence discover the questions and produce solutions as we navigate this turbulent interval of life.

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1. Forewarning

A robust method for difficult misinformation and disinformation is the “forewarning” strategy, additionally typically referred to as “pre-bunking” or “inoculation”. The latter time period borrows from medication, that means to guard somebody from a detrimental consequence by giving them some expertise of it.

As First Draft Information, a undertaking which goals to battle misinformation and disinformation on-line, places it:

Very like vaccines practice your immune response in opposition to a virus, figuring out extra about misinformation may help you dismiss it once you see it.

This method gives a warning label or message to explain the form of false info an individual is prone to hear. It works finest with audiences which are emotionally invested within the subject.

For instance, this video by @drstellac makes use of a preferred TikTok format to attract consideration to a few of the pink flags that audiences might encounter in promotional supplies for well being merchandise. Combining key methods (pointing to textual content, selfie video, trending audio or songs) with the forewarning strategy exhibits how content material types which are common on social media can be utilized to make scientific info extra palatable and fascinating.

Utilizing this format you possibly can work with well being specialists or draw from verified info sources to coach viewers about find out how to recognise and scrutinise bogus scientific claims.

2. The ‘truth wrap’

One other inoculation method is the “truth wrap”. Fable busting has lengthy been used to fight misinformation, properly earlier than social media started to saturate our day-to-day lives. However current analysis has proven that moderately than presenting a fable after which busting it – as the standard format goes – what works higher is to current a truth, then the parable, after which a rehash of the actual fact, including extra element.

Right here @laurenpcrna makes use of the actual fact wrap method by first offering factual details about the COVID vaccine approval for kids aged 5 to 11 and introducing a paediatric emergency doctor because the supply. She then reveals the parable about long-term results of vaccines on youngsters and explains why it’s fallacious.

This method works by establishing the credibility of the supply and drawing the eye away from the parable. The parable turns into a tool to additional reinforce the details, moderately than as an alternative taking centre stage. It’s a very good method to make use of when coping with doubtlessly delicate matters reminiscent of vaccination of youngsters, the place an excessive amount of emphasis on the parable might produce sturdy emotional responses.

3. Visible metaphor

We checked out 3,000 public well being webcomics shared on Instagram throughout the first 12 months of the pandemic and located that a number of artists depicted COVID utilizing visible metaphors reminiscent of a monster or villain.

The authors of a 2021 examine argue that such anthropomorphic metaphors “seize the existential experiences of the self and the bestial nature of the virus”. By depicting the virus as monster, comedian tales can visually body the “battle” in opposition to COVID as one that’s collective and empowering, calling on society to battle the metaphorical beast.

This comedian by @elfylandstudios in collaboration with @lifeologyapp options COVID personified as a monster for example the virus’ traits and behavior for younger audiences. Right here, reimagining an summary idea utilizing acquainted cartoon types helps to translate complicated well being info utilizing a extra recognisable visible language.

Within the caption accompanying the submit, artist Elfy Chiang explains that she made the comedian in collaboration with specialists in virology “to assist adults discuss to little youngsters concerning the pandemic and assist them make sense of the modifications in our every day lives”.

This methodology is especially helpful for speaking with kids and younger folks, although it may possibly work throughout all ages. Should you’re not the inventive sort, do not forget that stick figures and a robust message are all you want. It’s also possible to use photographs or a comics generator as an alternative of drawing.

4. Inside worlds

One other highly effective technique is the usage of “internal worlds”, referring to our ideas, emotions, recollections, values and wishes that aren’t often recognized to others. This instrument can humanise tough experiences, create empathy and supply perception into folks’s motivations, fears and beliefs.

In these two examples, @jassevangelista and @flimsy_kitten, on TikTok and Instagram respectively, goal to lift psychological well being consciousness by revealing the internal worlds of individuals fighting melancholy. Depicting how folks with melancholy expertise on a regular basis life can foster empathy and assist others who might determine with them to seek out consolation in the truth that they’re not alone.

Finally, in these examples, the content material creators construct a reference to the viewers by speaking well being info in a private and intimate manner.

Learn extra:
From well being to the surroundings, how comics might drive behaviour change

In a local weather the place sensationalist and daring claims are sometimes amplified on the expense of details, it turns into infinitely extra necessary for individuals who need to counter well being misinformation and disinformation to equip themselves with methods that may break by means of the noise. The methods we’ve set out right here, and in our social media storytelling information, ought to present a helpful start line.

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