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For many Indians, Twitter has become a hope of surviving this pandemic

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Rishika Rao, a Jaipur resident who owns a digital marketing agency, found that the way she used Twitter during the pandemic had slowly changed. For the vast majority of Indians, desperate for a pandemic trying to find help and relief for their friends and family, Twitter has become a place to turn for help. And for people like Rao, it has become a place to help people who need help to survive COVID-19.

“Last year I and my whole family suffered COVID, “she said.” At the time, my Twitter friends helped me a lot. Now I think if I could help them, it would add a lot of value to my existence on the platform. “

Rao is one of hundreds of people Twitter use the platform to organize deliveries and to assist people dealing with the latest attack on coronavirus pandemic in India. The number of infected and dying increases at an alarming rate. The country is already the second largest after the United States in terms of COVID cases worldwide.

This is not the first time we see social media being useful in emergencies – we saw the same thing during Floods in Chennai in 2015, Utarakhand earthquake in 2017 and Floods in Kerala in 2018.

But this is perhaps the first time we have seen the state of emergency sustained and stretched for so long. The change, which appeared on Twitter, is something completely different from last year, despite the fact that the country saw its most severe national lock for several weeks, which affected the lives of many people – not only physically, but both financially and psychologically.

Yet there were many people at the time who used social media platforms, including Twitter, to beat their blues and learn new things like baking bread. We all tweeted to watch Tiger king On Netflixand planning to return to normal in just a few weeks.

A whole year later, however, we are in a whole new world. You will see countless publications online asking for medicines, beds and even intensive care units. Some are also looking for food that they could send to COVID patients and those who have quit their jobs and are working because of the new wave of the deadly virus.

Many social media users use their presence on Twitter and other similar platforms to help people suffering in this difficult time. For example, the political writer Praja Tiwari has shared details of the COVID care center in Delhi, which is available for free access. Marketer Aanchal Agrawal also has tweet link to a Google Sheet document which contains details on plasma donors, isolation beds, intensive care units and medical centers, among others.

There are many other users on the microblogging network who have shared resources to find basic requirements.

People like Sunitha Krishnan and Ankit Vengurlekar also deliver homemade food for COVID positives in Hyderabad and Mumbai, respectively. Similarly, there are network users like Rao who retrieve and share details about patients who need medication and emergency care. Twitter also has people willing to deliver food and medicine to the doorstep in areas including Delhi, Gurugram and Mohali.

“The useful part of social media that we found is that we will find not only the problems in social media platforms like Twitter, but also their solutions,” said Sabita Chanda, who works with the non-governmental organization (NGO) India Cares Foundation, which started in April to help primarily the people in the pandemic.

She currently helps connect patients and their caregivers directly with doctors and hospitals.

“We thought 2021 would show something better than the demands we received in 2020, such as for plasma donors, oxygen cylinders and hospitals,” Chanda said. “But now I can tell you that there are times when I haven’t slept for 72 hours.”

In addition to people like Chanda, there are public figures such as radio jockey Sayema ​​Reman (known as RJ Sayema), who now spends most of his time on Twitter to help people.

“I feel that as a public figure, as an influencer, now is the time to play the vital role of a person who can connect need and desire to the source,” she said. “And if I can do that, I will take every opportunity to do so.”

Some doctors on Twitter are also helping people understand the pandemic and what exactly they need to do.

Dr. Vandana Goel, who works at the Delhi Mohalla Government Clinic in South Delhi, has launched as a free online consultation six days a week from 4 to 5 p.m. She said the online consultation has started because hospitals no longer have beds and people are afraid of becoming infected even when they visit a nearby health clinic.

“I think that doctors at this point should just forget about the money, because our country is in a real critical state and is currently in crisis,” she said.

Along with Twitter, people in the country show support and assistance to those suffering from the coronavirus pandemic on platforms, including Facebook,, Instagram, and even LinkedIn. Some also share the details WhatsApp to help people get timely support.

However, many celebrities such as famous actors and actresses, as well as popular brands and models who often use social media to increase their online and offline popularity, are yet to come.

What motivates people to help?
“The thing is, kindness is contagious, too,” said RJ Sayema. “You see, one person is doing well and the other wants to.”

While influencers and the public often use Twitter and other similar platforms to maintain their popularity among people, doctors and health professionals have also jumped on social media to spread their service.

“This is a very unique environment where you can cross all areas of work and areas of activity,” said renowned surgeon Dr. Arvinder Singh Soyn.

He added that the huge potential reach of Twitter and social media platforms is helping to spread knowledge among people who need immediate help.

“I don’t know how much they’ve benefited, but I see a lot of influential people posting stories on their Instagram, Facebook and other social platforms that help people in need, and that’s a good sign of how social media is growing and influencing in a positive way.” Said Amit Bisht, a media analyst at Publicis Sapient.

Challenges in helping people through social media
However, providing help through a platform like Twitter is not that easy. It is also important to note that people who try to help and help others are not equal to those who currently need them. Checking information quickly after receiving it from other online sharing sources is also something that is ongoing training even for journalists and the media.

“It’s a difficult task,” said the Chanda Foundation of India, which cares. “I can say that we are trying to do everything possible, but we may not be 100 percent correct while checking – given the amount of requests we receive.”

In some cases, Chanda noted that it is also difficult for her to connect people who want help and care with the authorities because they do not respond in time.

RJ Sayema ​​has ruled that they can only publish patient details if she receives their medical report.

“When people turn to me, I do my own checks, I want government reports or I ask them for their contact numbers, I actually ask them about the number of days the person was sick and which hospitals they called,” she said.

She also stressed that in addition to certifying the problem and the patient, she tries to track every single problem she reports on Twitter until the person in need of help reaches the hospital or receives the necessary support.

Many people on Twitter and other platforms also want drugs like Remdesivir and solutions like plasma therapy. However, Dr Soyn said it was important for people to follow their doctors’ advice instead of trying to get medicine first.

“These nuances are not available on social media and you need to contact the right people offline. And I mean medical health, doctors, hospitals, and only then can you continue your treatment, “he said.

But another equally worrying concern is that for much of India, this aid and this information remain inaccessible.

Internet penetration in India is not so important that most people would get support directly from social media or other online sources. According to data provided by the Indian and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the country has over 504 million active internet users. This is 36.52 percent of the country total population of 1.38 billion.


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