The COVID-19 crisis has torn the health system in India, forcing many to turn to social media for help. # SOS calls for oxygen bottles, medication, hospital beds, etc. are now common on social media, be it on Twitter or Instagram.
But how do you use these platforms to get the right help, especially if you are not familiar with them? We’re looking at how best to use these platforms to get help with COVID-19 resources.
Some common points to consider
When posting help on a platform, don’t worry about missing followers or not having a blue check mark. The goal is to reinforce your call with those who have a wider reach and can help you find leads.
When posting, be it to your local WhatsApp group or on Twitter, make sure you clearly highlight all the important details. This includes the type of help needed, even if it’s just medication or food, the patient’s name, age, blood oxygen or SPO2 levels, whether hospitalization or home facilities are required.
A contact number, patient’s blood type, etc. should also be included when calling for assistance.
Remember to clearly state your needs when asking for help on social media for the best answers. You will be forced to dial a lot of numbers so be patient. Lots of leads on social media may not always work.
Twitter has become one of the main areas where people post calls for help and others amplify those SOS calls. Twitter also has a dedicated COVID-19 hub that users can access from the Explore tab, the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your Twitter page.
Users can see live event pages, public service announcements (PSAs), and other information here. The COVID-19 SOS page is also here on the Explore tab. The SOS page contains tweets, leads, and other information that will help those who seek help on the platform.
Users can also tweet or search with # Covid19IndiaHelp to see what others have tweeted about help in their city.
Another useful resource for finding information is https://covid19-twitter.in/This is a simple aggregator tool that can be used to search for medications, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, etc. for your city. Make sure you tick the correct boxes. The results show some verified leads for the information in question.
Lists of health officials, public health experts, health journalists, fact checkers and other authoritative sources have also been compiled for accurate information, according to Twitter. There is also a list of verified organizations participating in COVID-19 relief work. It has also expanded its Home Timeline prompts to include the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines. The information will be available in both English and Hindi.
Users should rely on hashtags like # COVID19IndiaHelp, #COVIDEmergencyIndia, and #COVIDIndiaSOS when tweeting for help on the platform. Even if you don’t have a significant number of followers on the platform, try to tag those with accounts with larger numbers of followers so they can step up SOS calls.
As always, check all the numbers that are shared on the platform and if in doubt, do not prepay as fraud has also occurred.
Use lots of hashtags to make your call heard. And make sure to delete your post whenever you get help so that others who need it can get it.
On Instagram, many influencers amplify their followers’ SOS calls for help. It’s best to tag them on your stories and see if they can repost and share your call.
You may need to create your public account in order for your stories to get more views and be widely distributed as well.
When posting on Stories, make sure you clearly outline the requirements, much like you do with Twitter. Clearly emphasize the need, be it hospital bed or ventilator or oxygen bottle or even the medication. The patient’s name, blood type, age, SPO2 levels, and caregiver contact information will also help with posting on Instagram.
Allow your friends and followers to share or republish your stories so they can spread them on their networks.
The advantage of Telegram is that groups can be very large here. Some users have created groups where they post verified resources for help in different cities.
The groups in Telegram where you can find help are ICLU: Covid Response and Covid Resources Pan India. You can search for and join these groups in the Telegram app as they are public groups.
Facebook has its own COVID-19 information tab on its mobile app and desktop website where you can get official government information about the outbreak. However, many users also post hashtags on Facebook, e.g. B. #COVIDEmergency, #COVIDSOS # COVID19emergency, which you should use when making a #SOS call on the platform.
Make sure your post is public and not limited to just friends for more information. You can change the settings at the time of publication or even after it is published. If the post has a globe / world icon near the timestamp, then it’s public.
Facebook has also partnered with the Government of India and will begin rolling out its Vaccine Finder tool on the Facebook mobile app in India this week. The tool will be available in 17 languages and will help people identify nearby places where they can get the vaccine. The tool also shows walk-in options and a link to register on the CoWin website and schedule vaccination appointments. The tool can be accessed in the COVID-19 Information Center.
If you are part of groups on Facebook it is also helpful to post there and see if other members of the group can help you as well.
Truecaller has published a Covid Hospital Directory for users in India. The directory is integrated into the app and, depending on the company, can be accessed either via the menu or the dialer.
The directory contains telephone numbers and addresses of hospitals in several states, obtained from official government databases. A search button allows users to quickly find the information. However, getting to the hospitals could be another problem as most of them are flooded with calls.