Memes and the Infodemic

Perhaps you’ve heard the term infodemic before. We are not just dealing with the #CoVID19 pandemic but also the deluge of information that goes with it.

An infodemic is an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – occurring during an epidemic. It makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it. Even when people have access to high-quality information, there are still barriers they must overcome to take the recommended action. Like pathogens in epidemics, misinformation spreads further and faster and adds complexity to health emergency response.

World Health Organization,

The Grumpy Cat meme is what led me to start my Facebook page, Endocrine Witch.

I don’t know if Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist who coined the word meme, ever imagined that memes would get to mean what they do now. As memes go viral, it contributes to the infodemic.

The meme first appeared in Richard Dawkins’ first book, “The Selfish Gene” (1976), and was an attempt to understand why some behaviours, from an evolutionary perspective, seemed to make no sense but, somehow or other, were found to be very common in human societies.

Mark A. Jordan,

Do memes make sense? Why do people share memes? Let’s talk about CoVID-19 related memes at the #HealthXPH tweet chat 9 pm Saturday (Manila time), 31 October 2020.

T1. Tweet a CoVID-19-related meme you came across or actually shared recently.

T2. What would be common reasons why you would share or not share a meme you see?

T3. Would you fact check a meme or triangulate its source? Why or why not?


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