In A Rush?
2 days ago, Mark Zuckerberg uploaded a picture that will hopefully spark an epic social movement.
If you haven’t already, check out the original post and read the comments…
The anti-vaccine community uses digital content to spread fear, anecdotes, and mistrust of anything you can’t buy at a farmer’s market. They also like to claim that health professionals don’t understand vaccine manufacturing. Well, Mark Zuckerberg, certified changer-of-the-world, and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, pediatrician and philanthropist, purportedly know how to read and make educated decisions. There’s no need to accuse them of “not reading vaccine inserts” or “not understanding the science” – they made a solid choice.
More importantly, the picture’s fame reaches a very important population: vaccine hesitant parents. If you’re hesitant about vaccines, it’s all good! Social media and propaganda induces curiosity. Pediatricians get it, you want information and an open conversation. In the meantime, it may help to see photos, memes, and GIFs of happy, healthy children getting shots.
So let’s take the social media throne shall we?
Parents already love flooding Facebook with pictures and we can fashion this behavior into a powerful public health tool; one that’ll provide ease to the vaccine hesitant and ultimately save lives. In addition to pictures with the Easter Bunny and snapchat filters, throw in some vaccine pics of your babies, your friend’s babies, or a stranger’s babies (just kidding, this is weird) and be a public health warrior.
Hashtag Science 101: Use pro-vaccine hasthags such as #Vaccinations, #Vaccineswork, #ProVax, #VaxTruth, or #VaxwithMe. Bonus points if you start a trend with an obnoxiously long tag like, #DoALittleVAXMakeALittleLoveGetDownTonight. Creativity saves lives.
Once again, this is my adorable niece @BabyHinJew. Can you postulate how she earned this nickname?
In case you think this is all futile, take a lesson from the computer-savvy anti-vaccine community. Back in fall 2014, the anti-everything group took on the Centers for Disease Control and created the parasitic hashtag, #CDCWhistleBlower. I brushed it off. Then that hashtag got tweeted 250,000 times between August 18 and December 1 of 2014, with almost 64,000 coming from only 10 twitter accounts. Goodness.
Want free pro-tips? Check out @UNICEF.
The pro-vaccine community followed suit and hashtags such as #MeaslesTruth, in the wake of Disneyland’s new measles attraction, were used to debunk myths and encourage vaccinations. But as “twitter armies” grew, so did repeat uproars. Last summer, during Senate Bill 277’s (enforcing school vaccine requirements in California) media coverage, the anti-vaccine community lit up the internet.
They resorted to bullying-tactics, death threats to legislators, got the backing of celebrities, such as Donald Trump (huge surprise) and Rob Schneider, and had agencies, including the California Chiropractic Association, on board. Nonetheless, while the effort made a viral splash, it failed in the end.
I posted this picture last summer and the anti-vaccine community did not find it amusing.
Now that you’re fired up and armed with your smartphone, let’s reshape vaccine messaging on social media. We can have a greater impact because we’ll be classier and wittier with our pictures. Ride the progressive Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan public health train and post, post, post!
What’s My Point?