Right now we're living in unprecedented times. With COVID-19 moving across the planet, families and businesses are having to learn how to keep moving forward amongst an onslaught of swiftly changing information. During a conversation with one of our technology partners, Splunk, they shared their current COVID-19 data aggregation:
This got us thinking: How can we best stay informed during this crisis while still staying sane?
Check your sources
First and foremost, with public health emergencies, it is always best to stick to official agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Center for Disease Control (CDC), or state, county, and local agencies where appropriate.
Outside of that, it is as important as ever that we check our sources before reading or sharing. Not all resources are alike, and with a situation as widespread as this novel coronavirus, not only is there a lot of information out there but misinformation as well. A study by MIT researchers determined that, at least on Twitter, false news stories spread faster and farther than the truth. There are many ways that both individuals and businesses can be sure that the information they are sharing is correct. As someone who reads a lot of news online, there are a few things that I check for.
- Date: When was this published? Is it recent enough to still be relevant, or has it resurfaced due to a clickbait headline? If an article is old enough, try googling some of the keywords for more up-to-date information
- Authority: Who wrote the content? Look at both the website and the specific author for signs of bias and credibility.
- Look & feel: Does the website look suspicious? Most of us have run into a website and immediately turned around - whether that means it's extremely ad-heavy, trying to trick you into clicking on things, or looks like it was made in the early '00s. Trust your instincts if something looks off.
When in doubt, try searching elsewhere for the same information. If you can find it corroborated elsewhere by known reliable sources, you're probably good to go. Some large online platforms, content aggregators, and social media companies are doing their part to assist in this. Pinterest, for example, has limited all of the relevant search results to only internationally-recognized health organizations. Many major news outlets, like the New York Times and The Washington Post that have removed COVID-19 related articles from behind paywalls, are allowing people access to the content without a subscription. Even further, I'm sure you've noticed your inbox filling with notifications from every company you've ever interacted with, letting you know their contingency plan for their services and their employees.
Right now, it is essential as both individuals and businesses to be sure that the data we're reading and sharing is clear and accurate.
Amanda Mull recently wrote about plague dread, the specific anxiety that comes from an onslaught of information paired with a lot of unexpected time spent at home or alone. While it is important to follow recommended guidelines and stay informed about local and national announcements, there's nothing wrong with signing off once you get the information you need. My strategy for this is pretty simple: limiting screen time. When at home, it's easy to accidentally spend hours on my phone or computer, so I try to be conscious of this. When I can tell that all the scrolling is taking an emotional toll, I'll leave my phone in another room and focus on something else (have you seen this Buzzfeed list of quarantine hobbies?).
These are certainly unprecedented times, but we're more connected now than at any point in the past, and that can make navigating situations like these a bit easier. For more information, see Praecipio Consulting's COVID-19 response to see how we're working through this crisis.
Looking for tips on how your team can adjust to remote work? Check out How ChatOps Can Connect Your Remote & Traveling Workers or Less Meetings More Collaboration.