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Friday, May 07, 2021

From Bengaluru, a daily Twitter Spaces segment to bridge Covid-19-related info gaps

Another impact of the Twitter Spaces interaction was the formation of a volunteer group named 'Namma Team' to help people get hospital beds, oxygen and medicines.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 6, 2021 7:07:21 am
KarnatakaA medic collects swab sample of a man for COVID-19 test at BMTC bus stand in Bengaluru. (PTI Photo)

At a time when several social media accounts with a large following are turning into Covid helplines, a Bengaluru-based influencer is going the extra mile to bridge the gap between “the well-informed (government) and info seekers (public)”.

Using Twitter Spaces, which allows users to host live audio conversations, satire account Tharle Thimma (@BLRrocKS) hopes to address the “confusion” over several Covid-related issues, including how to procure vital drugs.

The person behind the account, who chose to remain anonymous, told Indianexpress.com that the idea stemmed from a simple online query sent to a “responsive bureaucrat”.

“It was pretty evident online that people were confused by various decisions taken by the government either at the state or BBMP (municipal body) level. I could see people panicking without the right information in such trying times which led me to reach out to IAS officer Captain Manivannan requesting some time from his busy schedule daily to address some concerns,” the person said.

This gave birth to a daily Twitter Spaces meet in the last week of April. With more people joining in, the 15-minute session was extended to a 1.5-hour daily interaction.

“Captain (Manivannan) had raised a clear disclaimer saying he was taking part in the conversations in his personal capacity and not as someone associated with the government. However, we continued the same in a bid to bridge the gap between the well-informed and the information-seeking population,” the person behind Tharle Thimma said.

One of the participants, Ravi R, told Indianexpress.com that confusion persists on how to procure Remdesivir, an antiviral drug on high demand. “It was after listening to the online interaction that I realised that the concerned hospital should raise an intent to the drug controller and not the patient’s kin. With this info, I approached the hospital desk and they soon obliged,” Ravi said.

Another impact of the Twitter Spaces interaction was the formation of a volunteer group named ‘Namma Team’ to help people get hospital beds, oxygen and medicines. “The team grew to around 200 people including civil servants overseeing the process in their personal capacities,” the person behind Tharle Thimma said.

“I am now trying to rope in more IAS, IPS officers to continue the same as serving verified information is an important aspect to build confidence among all stakeholders of the society, especially in times of a pandemic like this,” the person adds.

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