Viral Age

Not all viruses are negative. They can also be in positive forms, especially if they bring goodwill, inspiration and motivation to people.

When you speak of virus at present, one word comes to mind- NCoV. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (NCoV) outbreak has spread throughout many regions and parts of the world, sowing great concern amongst governments and their citizens. As of 11 February 2020, there are over 43,000 confirmed cases with about 1,018 reported casualties. Several countries have imposed travel bans to and from China and its Special Administrative Regions following the spread of the virus. The 2019 NCoV is the latest of viruses that have rocked the global scene, following the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) scare in 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012.

Negative news, especially the spread of viruses on a global scale, creates fear and panic. It’s a good thing that social media can also be an agent to neutralize the global tension. While it can often be a distraction, social media can also serve as an inspiration amid negativity. In recent years, we have seen the emergence and spiralling of a new virus- the digital virus.

Dance crazes, acts, ideas and concepts are being posted on social media in the hope that these become "viral." Viral is defined as anything that is circulated rapidly and widely in the social media space. The term viral is typically used in marketing parlance.

Locally, celebrities continue to build their popularity and earn significant income by creating online channels where they can use their respective fan bases to popularize an act. Digital geeks also use their social media influence to earn extra income, on top of what they earn from their daily work, by posting videos, tutorials or advertisements. Non-government organizations, especially those that espouse good causes, have recently used social media to market events and advocacies in hope that people will donate or pledge any form of help.

Recently, the positive acts of ordinary Filipinos helping victims of the Taal eruption have gone viral; thus, inspiring many more to pitch in and help in their own little ways.

At the end of it all, the virus of goodwill, care and love is the best cure to the viruses that are plaguing are world today. While we are talking about medical solutions to solve NCoV, we cannot ignore the fact that many Chinese nationals are experiencing discrimination in many parts of the world because of the virus’ origin in the Chinese province of Hubei.

My appeal is for us not to create another form of virus- the virus of hate. While we must act with caution, we must make viral those acts that will correctly inform people about NCoV and eliminate prejudice towards the Chinese.

In this viral age, let us only spread the positives--- not the negatives.

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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