In a world which is losing its head according to Grumpy Group Organiser, he shares his thoughts on the impacts social media during the Coronavirus outbreak and ridiculous selfies.

Toilet paper

GGO can’t understand why people are stockpiling toilet paper.

Why does Covid-19 seem to be gripping the country, indeed the planet, with heightened fear compared to other recent outbreaks such as SARS and Swine Flu? I don’t recall the panic reaching the levels we are all experiencing now, do you?

It struck me as I scrolled through Facebook the other day; social media is spreading fear far quicker than any Coronavirus can travel.

Think about this:

  • 2003, during SARS there was no Facebook, no WhatsApp.
  • 2009, during Swine Flu, Facebook had just 150 million users.
  • 2014, during Ebola, WhatsApp had just 450 million users.
  • 2020, and to Covid-19, WhatsApp has 2 billion users, Facebook 1.69 billion.

It’s the way we consume information and news that has changed – and it’s dangerous too. Did our friends share photos of empty supermarket shelves during previous outbreaks? Do people realise that sharing information like this only makes the situation worse? The power of social media is amplifying bad news way beyond what is balanced and rational.

And why toilet roll? Is it because it can be used to wipe both ends? Friends have always laughed that my bathroom has a bidet. Well they’re not laughing now, are they? No toilet roll? No problem. And as for tissues, how about handkerchiefs? I have so many in my drawers you could hang them across the street and people would think it was the Queen’s Jubilee all over again. Maybe I’ll sell them on eBay and make a fortune.

However, there is always room for a smile and ever since it was brought to my attention that you can say ‘Covid-19’ to the tune of Come on Eileen, I’ve been unable to read it any other way.

Take a selfie at your own risk

Social media has been covered already in this column but links perfectly to the topic of selfies. Facebook in particular seems to be full of people showing off where they have been and what they have been doing. One-upmanship has a comfy home online, it seems.

Getting that perfect holiday snap is a priority for many of us, with some risking it all. One report found that we are five times more likely to die from a selfie than a shark attack - with an average of 43 people dying a year while taking a selfie.


People seem to be risking it all to get the perfect selfie.

But, how far are we willing to take it? To find the answers, conducted a survey yielding 2,023 responses to find out what we are willing to risk for a photo. Nearly half said they would stand on the edge of a cliff to take a selfie, 33% admitted to going to a destination just to take a photo, 7% would climb a tall building or landmark, while 41% said they have risked their safety to take a photo.

It seems these little things we carry around in our pocket are a window to the world but one we are happy to jump out of. The world really is full of idiots.