Doctors Are Tweeting About Coronavirus To Make Facts Go Viral

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal:

Bob Wachter, the chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, has had a front-row seat to the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Wachter’s job, at least in part, is to keep the department’s 3,000 or so faculty, trainees and staff current on developments in research, education and clinical care. But most days he sets aside at least two hours to keep another group informed: his Twitter followers. Dr. Wachter, 62 years old, is part of a growing group of scientists and public-health officials who are increasingly active and drawing large audiences on social media. They say they feel a moral obligation to provide credible information online and steer the conversation away from dubious claims, such as those in “Plandemic,” a video espousing Covid-19 conspiracy theories that drew millions of views last week. […]

Dr. Wachter typically writes his tweets in threads, long strings of posts on a single topic or idea; on Wednesday, he posted about masks. […] To compose his tweets, Dr. Wachter keeps a document open throughout the day, where he drops in material he believes could be relevant to his followers. He starts writing posts between 4 and 6 p.m.; his wife, a journalist, often proofreads them, he says. His tweets post between 7 and 8 p.m. The doctors feel like they “have an obligation to put out information that is as correct as it can be,” says Dr. Wachter. This is important during amidst a pandemic, especially after a new paper in the journal Nature this week found that antivaccination views are drowning out the more mainstream voices online, “partly due to the ways antivaccination advocates interact with some users of social media platforms,” reports the WSJ.

“As a result, researchers predict, antivaccination views ‘will dominate in a decade.’”

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