With fake news, trolls, and "toxic positivity" permeating through, social media has become quite an avenue of negativity these days. Still, it hasn't failed on its mission to disseminate info the fastest—democratizing it through a free vehicle that is the world wide web. Lately, social media—Twitter, in particular—has vastly lent its platform to Filipino frontliners in the medical field spreading helpful information about public health. As Twitter rises up to the occasion by suggesting fact-checking and even hiding a few of Donald Trump's tweets, it has also paved the way for the following humble heroes to influence with facts and inspire with first-hand stories from the sidelines!
Meet some of these newly-hailed Twitter personalities below, who are—to our advantage—total eye candy, revealing their motivations as they continue to spread information and good vibes on the platform!
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Neil is a Registered Medical Technologist and a junior intern at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Hospital. While funny and snarky mostly when tweeting about the state of Philippine governance, this future doctor doesn't ever consider public health a joke. "Everyone deserves the best quality of healthcare,” he declares. Thus, the same concern, he has on health as the rest of the country's frontliners do their part. "Our first line of defense is a healthy body, a healthy mind, and a healthy lifestyle, so let us all fight back by keeping our immune system in its best shape," he advises. With thousands of followers, Neil is no stranger to how the online world can be deliberately malicious when it comes to information—and so he suggests, "Acquire info from reliable sources and health platforms, find the date of the original story. It’s okay to be anxious and scared at this trying time, but one must not succumb to it. One must find hope because if there's one thing stronger than fear, it’s hope."
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John Mar D. Dangane/ @jmdangane
JM, a post-graduate intern at the Manila Doctors Hospital, easily turns emotional when talking about his peers pulling through amid the pandemic. "To see my colleagues and seniors deal with the situation first-hand, I can't help but be amazed at their bravery. Knowing the risks, they could actually turn their backs, walk away, and go home, but they didn't," he says. "They took the challenge not because it's their job, but because it's the right thing to do." Using Twitter to inform, JM just as well believes in the anxiety-alleviating power of social media. "The Internet may be considered cruel by some, but this can also be of great help. Reconnect! Reach out to your acquaintances via social media, remember your passion and pursue them like following dancing and cooking videos. or refresh and be inspired by reading online books and watching TED talks!" JM, who does dance covers on TikTok, advises.
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Finding himself right smack in the middle of the action, Vino is currently studying infectious diseases and helping out in the deliveries of disinfectants and masks. He thus stresses the socio-economic impact of a pandemic and how the government can quell it with preemptive measures. "As a medical student, we have learned a lot of things during this pandemic," the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health sophomore shares. "As future clinicians, we’re realizing that the government needs to prioritize our healthcare workers by providing them with better salaries and benefits. Some of us are inspired to pursue a career in policy making and hospital administration to address the lack of proper measures we are seeing today." For now, the Registered Nutritionist Dietitian advises utmost self-care by elevating the importance of well-balanced meals. "It’s important for us to strengthen our immune system through proper nutrition, especially during this pandemic," he says, hopeful. "We can overcome this pandemic. Always remember that you are not alone in this fight."
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With a swamped schedule, Jai, a UP College of Medicine alumnus, seems too busy to even send a tweet. But his line of work is exactly how he's become an influential, medical figure in Pinoy Twitterverse—if necessary, criticizing government inaction, cascading data and releases from his battleground, and generally providing a peek of the frontliners' life. As a reluctant hero, Dr. Jai's best piece of advice to those at home for now is filtering authentic information. “After all, you can’t fight what you don’t understand," he says. Besides his health- and career-related posts, Jai likes to distract his nearly 100k followers with content that amuses—like those of his adorable beagle Coco. "Given the current situation, it’s understandable if you choose to detach yourself from time to time for your own mental health. But still try to keep yourself informed with what’s happening around you. Finding the right balance is key."
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Banner image courtesy of Neil Patrick Lacuna