The coronavirus pandemic is a communications crisis in addition to being a medical emergency:
- Each of us face the risk and uncertainty that comes with a new, and still poorly understood disease.
- Each of us face the risk and uncertainty that comes with interpreting and responding to how our governments, and other powerful institutions respond to it.
- And each of us face the risk and uncertainty that comes with the question of what each of us will do – do to protect ourselves, to protect our loved ones, and to protect our communities.
We cannot and must not deal with all this risk and uncertainty only on the basis of our own personal experience and what we think we know.
We have to rely on others – perhaps on public health experts, on politicians, on public authorities, on platform companies, and on publishers, all of whom who can help us understand the pandemic, judge our governments’ responses, and respond ourselves.
There is great power in this. We, collectively, know more about the pandemic than any one of us. And only we, collectively, will be capable of minimizing its death toll and handling the wider economic, political, and social impact. None of us can do this alone.
There is also a great vulnerability in this. Every time we trust someone else, we take a risk. What if they are not to be trusted? What if they meant well, but got it wrong? What if their motives were mixed and the results uneven? What if we misunderstood them? What if they were making shit up or deliberately trying to mislead us?