(Marion Cossin), Writer supplied
A variety of false info is unfold on social media, which signifies that utilizing social media to offer dependable scientific information on COVID-19 shouldn’t be a simple activity. The hazard is all of the larger for younger folks, who get loads of their info from social media.
Individuals aged 18 to 29 are among the many least vaccinated in Québec. As of Sept. 17, 72.9 per cent had obtained two doses, in comparison with 89 per cent of 50- to 59-year-olds and 73.8 per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds. Many are involved about vaccination.
To answer this group’s unease, we needed to seek out an efficient instrument we might use to achieve them and reply their questions.
So, we created the “Which Virus Are You” web site, which explains COVID-19 in an interactive and entertaining method with the assistance of specialists. It took off and have become very fashionable inside weeks after being launched. Right here’s how it began.
Click on right here for extra articles in our sequence about vaccine confidence.
When Québec’s analysis company Fonds de Recherche du Québec launched a name for initiatives “Jeunes dans la lutte contre la Covid-19” (Youth preventing COVID-19, we, a bunch of science communicators, thought of submitting an thought straight away. The objective of the competitors was to assist college students create modern and artistic digital communication initiatives that will deal with the COVID-19 considerations of individuals between 18 and 30.
Earlier than the decision went out for initiatives, our small group of PhD college students had already had some science communication initiatives underneath out belt, together with ComSciCon-QC. So, the concepts began flowing straight away.
We shortly noticed that whereas there have been already many info sources about COVID-19, what was lacking was a instrument that made info engaging to younger folks, one that will make it potential for them to change and share concepts.
From the outset we needed to “assume interactive,” to get out of the straitjacket of the printed phrase and conventional studying, and actively contain the person. The opposite precept that was essential to us was to have two-way communication: to pay attention, and never simply present info. We felt that conventional communication approaches round COVID-19 lacked reciprocity.
COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy could be overcome by relatable tales and accessible info
But how do you get younger folks to share their emotions with out producing an unmanageable quantity of knowledge? We knew an open discussion board would require hours of time to average and will doubtlessly open the door to abuse. Direct digital interplay with specialists might solely be sporadic and restricted.
After a couple of hours of brainstorming, we got here up with the concept of a a number of selection quiz. Quizzes are entertaining and could be enjoyable. Most of us like to check our information and share our opinions. It’s arduous to withstand a quiz like “Which Disney princess are you?” or “Which Hogwarts home do you belong to?”
4 virus avatars
The plan was clear: to design a question-and-answer quiz that will assign every person a “virus avatar” that represented their emotions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. The following problem was to construct characters that represented the range of individuals taking the quiz whereas avoiding being judgmental. After doing preliminary analysis in media reviews, and interested by our personal experiences and people of our household and associates, we got here up with 4 “pandemic behaviours” that will be represented by our avatars: the super-informed, the fearful, the skeptic and the indifferent.
Along with the quiz, we additionally had to offer high quality info to our viewers. To do that, we wanted the assistance of scientific specialists on the themes we needed to cowl. Underneath the management of Nathalie Grandvaux, director of the Host Response to Viral Infections Laboratory on the CHUM hospital’s analysis centre, our group of specialists wrote the fabric and supplied us with dependable up-to-date sources.
The 9 psychological obstacles that result in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and refusal
It took loads of work to synthesize and popularize this info to create accessible infographics. We then handed the fabric over to Impakt Scientifik to design the ten infographics. For every of the avatars offered on the finish of the quiz, we offer three reality sheets to reply customers’ questions. The thought was to make use of the quiz as a enjoyable instrument to lure younger folks to the positioning, then counsel that they study extra by exploring the remainder of the content material.
(Marion Cossin), Writer supplied
Opening the dialogue on vaccination
We launched the web site on July 16 and arrange a social media technique to achieve a large viewers of younger individuals who would have very totally different opinions than our personal. To take action, we needed to know their codes and the instruments they have been utilizing. We have been very lively on our social networks all summer time, posting day by day. We obtained extra feedback than we have been anticipating on our posts.
The posts generated over 20,000 interactions (reactions, shares and feedback), with some customers questioning our content material and others leaping in to defend it. The feedback we obtained on the Fb web page have been extra aggressive or based mostly on false info from doubtful sources, which meant we needed to spend time moderating them.
The platform allowed conversations about vaccines to occur between people with opposing views. It additionally allowed info to be shared between populations that don’t typically work together. That satisfied us we had chosen the precise method.
A system that works
Thus far, our venture has reached over 265,000 folks by a mix of social networks (Twitter, Instagram and Fb) and our web site. The vast majority of customers have been between the ages of 18 and 34 and positioned in Québec, however our geographic attain was very extensive and included different Canadian provinces, Europe and French-speaking Africa. We additionally obtained very constructive suggestions from science communication professionals. Some essential establishments supplied to assist unfold the phrase about our venture.
Whereas entry to scientific info is a vital situation to get folks to undertake public well being behaviours, misinformation is rampant on social networks and confuses folks. So it’s important to offer high quality scientific info in an accessible and engaging format. On this method, we are able to stimulate younger folks’s curiosity in science and scale back the space that also exists between specialists and the general public.
Essential messages will solely get throughout if you happen to create a local weather of belief and mutual listening, giving younger folks the instruments they should make good selections and turn out to be the residents of tomorrow’s society. The query that continues to be is how one can encourage scientists to make use of these new types of communication and provides them the instruments they want to take action.
Alexandra Gellé, a chemistry pupil at McGill College, and Émilie Dubois, founder IMPAKT Scientifik, contributed to this venture.
Do you’ve got a query about COVID-19 vaccines? E mail us at email@example.com and vaccine specialists will reply questions in upcoming articles.
Marion Cossin obtained funding from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec for her PhD and for the "Which Virus Are You" venture.
Alexia Ostrolenk obtained funding from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec for her PhD and for the "Which Virus Are You" venture..