Responsible usage of social media key to ensuring well-being – Dr. Zeti

By Rafiqi Yusoff

KUALA LUMPUR, 22 November 2021: Social media can play an important role to create awareness among the community and policy makers if users could use the platform responsibly as we prepare ourselves to move into the endemic stage, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeti Azreen Ahmad told the Selamat Pagi Malaysia (SPM) on TV1 (RTM) this morning.

The Head of Department of Communication, AHAS KIRKHS was speaking on the segment ‘Komunikasi Masyarakat: Ke Mana Arahnya Melepasi Era Pandemik”(Community Communication: Which direction moving away from Pandemic Era) where communication is seen as the highlight in ensuring public’s wellbeing during the transition from pandemic to endemic stage.

Dr. Zeti indicated that usage of the social media as a two-way communication that involves response is a strategic and effective medium of communication between the authorities and the public. 

In this context, she believed that social media can actually play an important role to provide the means for the authorities in particular to fully grasp the response from the public. 

She stressed that it is important for the authorities to know whether the information presented is effective, understandable and also sufficient to all layers of the community.

“In my opinion, with social media, it is easier to identify the extent of the public’s understanding towards the information conveyed because information needs to be continuous,” Dr. Zeti said.

Communication, as specified by Dr. Zeti, is the sharing of information or messages to the public in general, therefore the public also needs to understand the information or messages being conveyed directly.

On COVID-19 outbreak, Dr. Zeti stated that communication is crucial as the tool to curb the spread of the virus as it requires action from all layers of the community to jointly look after themselves, their family and others by reminding each other.

However, with the advancement of technology, we now see an ‘infodemic’ with wide spreading of information where people are faced with the situation of not being able to differentiate between false and truth which makes things difficult for the public to rely on the authoritative sources.

In response, Dr. Zeti remarked that as a community member, one should know his or her responsibility by taking note of the current issues and responsibly searching for authentic sources. 

“We need to take into account the source of the information obtained, and we need to fully understand it and only share what is true. It is our own responsibility to stay in a safe environment,” she added. 

On social media slander, Dr. Zeti shared her opinion on false statements of fact or information that are often circulating on social media.

“Slander is quite easy to spread around with the advent of social media. Therefore, social media users should be more careful not to believe or post anything that they are not sure of,” Dr. Zeti remarked. 

The pandemic situation has also changed the world whereby data analysis has become important.

In response to this, Dr. Zeti shared that this is a very good development when the study done by researchers is widely used by the authorities in decision-making process which she felt would be beneficial to the public. 

The interview with SPM, brought by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM), was held live today at 9.00 a.m.

To watch the recording of the interview, readers may click the link here: ***

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