Coronavirus has redefined “going viral”.

For years, influencers and marketing experts have generated millions of hours of content with the hope of one thing:

It goes viral.

This may be the last time you read or hear that term for a while.

Some people have been panicked since the early stage of Coronavirus (or as the kids are calling it, COVID-19). Others are still in denial, speculating this is simply a unique flu with great marketing.

One way or the other, all of the major sports leagues have shut down, major events are cancelled, and it seems now governments are taking the threats very seriously as they encourage people to avoid large crowds and unnecessary contact with others.

Even here at Impact North, we’ve taken the steps to encourage safer and cleaner procedures with everyday actions, and encourage the minimization of in-person meetings with clients (both inside and outside the office).

World health experts and statisticians are predicting this is only the beginning, and we will see millions of infected citizens.

As communications experts, we question what is the true cause of the chaos out there? Is it truly the virus itself and the fear of contracting it? Is it the fear of losing loved ones who are in the higher risk age brackets? Or is it the sheer confusion of the millions of mixed messages that the general public is unable to filter through or make sense of? The one thing that may be spreading much faster than the virus itself is misinformation.

In our world of social media, everyone has a voice, but not everyone has an educated or helpful voice. We see it all the time with our clients’ google reviews, comment sections, etc… Now these voices are only helping to intensify the hysteria, whether it’s by denying the true danger that may exist, or by over-exaggerating the potential risk of otherwise safe behaviours.

What would happen if this were the world 25 years ago? The early days of the internet, no social media, no up-to-the-minute reporting, whether accurate or not. In those days, information about a virus like this would be spread through traditional media. TV, radio and newspapers. One could theorize that the information about Coronavirus would have been concise, focused and accurate, and likely more controlled by the proper authorities. The right measures would likely have been put in place more quietly, and while numbers of infected may be increasing as they are now, the panic would have been decreased infinitely. No panic, no fights over toilet paper, no hysteria.

So the question again is, are we afraid of Coronavirus? Or did FDR’s timeless saying; ‘The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself’ re-invent itself in the context of today’s technology?

To all of our family, friends, clients, partners and even strangers, please take every precaution you can to come through this pandemic safe and healthy. We wish everyone the best.