“All People Wear Masks” by Stranofly is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Why this topic is significant
Both of our topics focus on the communication of COVID-19 information and how it is perceived by the public. By definition, communication is the imparting or exchange of information or news. This is a very important factor of how the public has reacted to the pandemic. The contagious nature of the virus also forced Americans, and people around the world, to isolate or quarantine in their homes with only family members or roommates. That isolation made us much more dependent on remote communication, increasing the importance of responsible posting on social media, internet forums, live-streams and websites. The impact communication has had on the Coronavirus and vice versa exemplifies the interconnectivity of science, technology, and society.
How our chapters relate to this larger topic
Josie’s topic revolves around the pandemic as it is perceived over the internet such as social media outlets. The amount of fake news and information skewed from the truth is concerning. It has caused the public to be more paranoid about this issue. The media and internet both influence public opinion and perceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic by spreading misinformation, not fact-checking information, and taking advantage of the widespread susceptible audience that is available online. With regards to online information, it is hard to get people in society the truth. This is making communication difficult for the people working to spread the truth, and making issues with public perception. The inability to access truthful information also makes it more difficult for individuals to make healthy, informed decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Caroline’s topic also involves the communication and how it has affected public trust during these uncertain times of the pandemic. There is discussion about misinformation, disinformation, mal-information, and how it has impacted the public. In our increasingly globalized world, the influence of technological communication strategies continues to relay information rapidly– placing the burden of providing effective and accurate communication on groups like the government and scientific communities that already have significant demands placed on them because of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to the work an organization or business is implementing to help control the spread of the virus, adapt their practices to align with health and safety standards, and put resources towards finding a cure, the widespread presence of misinformation has proved how important proper communication is to maintain a positive public attitude and better serve the community. Businesses who were able to successfully navigate this difficult situation will see their efforts benefit both during the pandemic and afterwards because of an increase in customer support and loyalty.
The two topics fit together. Because the pandemic has created increased stress on organizations and individuals, both those groups are vulnerable to believing and or spreading false information regarding the virus. Caroline’s topic focuses on how people and their trust in institutions are affected with misinformation. Josie’s topic discusses how the role played by the internet in building public perception. The mistakes and mismanagement of organizational communication during the COVD-19 pandemic have significantly influenced how we view the pandemic as a whole and also the public image of many important institutions. Both topics affect one another, so it is important that they are discussed together.