How to Use Social Media to Effectively Connect With Young People

By Adam Miller

Meet the experts trying to change the way we communicate about COVID-19 

Keeping up with Canada’s COVID-19 public health information can feel like a full-time job. 

Ever-changing daily case numbers, countless news conferences, conflicting advice from officials and constantly updated guidelines can be overwhelming at the best of times.

So a group of experts has stepped up in an attempt to help with information overload by explaining the coronavirus in a clear and concise way that connects with a younger audience.

And they’re hoping that the powers that be are watching — and learning.

“We need to meet people where they are at,” said Dr. Naheed Dosani, a physician and health-justice advocate in Toronto. “We need to think about what works for them.”

Social media ‘lost opportunity’ with health officials

More than 45 per cent of Canada’s COVID-19 cases have occurred in those under the age of 40, and Dosani said the best way to connect with that demographic is through social media, something he called a “lost opportunity” with politicians and public health officials.

“Most people under 40 get their information nowadays not from a press conference in the middle of the day and typically not from traditional media sources,” he said. “They’re often using social media platforms to engage and collect information.” 

Dosani, a palliative care doctor, began using platforms like TikTok and Instagram in January to reach a younger audience and share information in an effort to destigmatize the topic of death.

Embracing social media, connecting with young people key to effective messages

Originally published on cbc.ca October 15, 2020