I’m creating a photo album in quarantine. It’s called “Cats Who Block My Monitor: A Series.” It features my cats sitting in front of my monitor as I try to do my work. They think that since I’m home all the time now, that means I am subservient to their every whim as I never was before.
Ah, the perils of a life under quarantine.
Fortunately, I cannot complain since I and the rest of the ENX2 Crew are among the fortunate few who can work remotely at this time of upheaval. With many others either without a job or working on the frontlines of COVID-19 pandemic, I’m sure they would love to wrestle with the problem of having my cat’s face in front of them as they tried to do their work.
The coronavirus has all but stopped life throughout the world. People are terrified of getting the virus, of losing everything they own, of even stepping foot out of their homes. Every time you turn on the news, all you hear is how many dead, how many infected, how many people are suffering. It’s information overload and it’s going to hurt us in the end.
Fake News in the Time of Coronavirus
I’ve spoken about fake news previously and Logan even touched on this topic in a previous blog. Once again, fake news has reared its ugly head. But this time, it could cause some serious damage other than throwing a wrench in our political process.
Just this past week, my dearest, closest friend sent me an image of a Facebook post saying that the Trump administration was going to provoke the Stafford Act which means everyone will be in a two-week mandatory quarantine and no one would leave their house.
For everyone’s information, The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act is a law that gives state and local governments the ability to provide help to citizens during times of natural disasters. It provides assistance and gives order during a time of disorder. It does not force people to stay inside their homes.
And this is how fake news becomes a real threat. Because someone posts something on Facebook, people share it with people they love to protect them, and it goes down the line. My dearest friend shared it with me out of love and concern, because she knows I live alone, and she knows I never have food in the house and she wanted to make sure I stayed safe and was prepared.
I took the time to do a little research on the Stafford Act and reassured her that it’s ok, I’ll be ok, and there is in fact, food in my fridge. Not a lot but, you know, there is food there.
Killing the Beast That is Fake News
And that’s what we all need to do to kill the fake news beast. Here are five ways to spot a fake news story, from a former newspaper copy editor:
- Check the source. Make sure it’s someone credible like a news organization or government agency. This can be tough because there are a lot of “media” outlets out there that claim their stories are true. But we all know what media companies we can trust, to a certain extent.
- Do your research. If it sounds too out there, then it’s probably fake. But to be sure, you should take the time to do a little research. A small hop on Google or Snopes.com should verify the facts.
- Read past the headline. Always remember, the headline is meant to grab your attention. Of course, it’s going to be scandalous and eye-catching. But it’s not the whole story. Take a minute to read the first three paragraphs – that’s all you need to get the full scoop.
- Check the sources. I’m a big believer in having evidence to back me up. That’s why you should always check the sources of a news article or even a blog post. See where they’re getting their information. If it’s not a credible source, then it’s not a credible story.
- Check the date. I know this may seem weird, but you would be surprised. Just the other day, I saw some celebrity death that made me go, “Oh, he died?!?!” Only later, when sharing the article, did I realize the guy died a year ago. Oops.
And maybe instead of sharing another scary fact, share some positivity right now. We all need it, after all.
We’ll Get Through This Together
This is the part of the blog that I told Nicole I would get inspirational. Buckle down because it’s not my forte. So here we go.
I know how scared we all are. I, too, am nervous about my well-being, my loved ones’ health, and the world in general. But we can’t live a life in fear and we can’t take stupid risks. There is a fine line we need to tread for our safety and the safety of others. Stop being selfish. Stop complaining. Be happy that you’re alive and safe and healthy.
Thank you to all the health workers, grocery workers, delivery people, and essential business owners who are rising to this challenge and are putting themselves in danger, risking their safety, to make sure the rest of us can survive this. Thank you to all those people who have tried to find a silver lining in this mess and tried to keep everyone’s spirits up from singing on their balconies to quarantined dance parties. Thank you for staying in your home to keep others safe. Thank you to my neighbor who found a package of toilet paper and asked me if I needed any the other day.
We need to rise to this challenge and know that tomorrow is another day.
And in the immortal words of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, “Get the hell off the beach.”
We’re Here to Help
If you are a small business owner who is having trouble with your digital marketing efforts during this time of trouble, we’re here to help. Contact ENX2 Marketing by dropping us an email or calling and/or texting 844-ENX2-WEB. Please stay safe.