My Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of people doing things like this with their usernames or profile pictures:

While a week ago that might have been useful, I am by now not sure it is. Yes, we should stay home. But all my friends, and my friends’ friends, are the sorts of people who know that already. We are a bubble.

But – as Sascha Lobo writes in this column – there is annoyance among those who do get the message about the behaviour of those who do not.

So let’s leverage that and try to get the message out to others beyond our bubble.

The way to do that is either by advertising on social networks, or by social networks themselves putting something into their interface design to warn people of the risks.

I asked my Twitter followers (tweet here) and Facebook friends (public status here) what they were seeing across different social networks. The responses, and how they differ by age and network and location and language are pretty interesting. Many people report seeing nothing at all. There seems to be more on Youtube and Spotify than there is on other social networks. UK and Netherlands based people are getting very locally focused advice, others elsewhere more mixed advice. The German Ministry of Health seems to have deployed Joko Winterscheidt towards a demographic younger than me (thanks Marc Brennender!)

But the interesting thing – with the exception of this in Denmark (thanks Poul Andreasen!) – is the relative blandness of the messages. “Stay informed” “Get the latest messages” “important Information”.

Those are not nudging people to behave differently.

Not “how far are you from the person next to you NOW?

Not “do you know who your child was playing with? And where that other child had been?

Not “you can’t play basketball and keep social distance!

Not “you might be healthy, but your grandmother might die of this” (OK, maybe that one is a bit harsh)

There are some reasonable infographics about physical distancing around – this by the Canadian Government is not bad for example. But how do you get those in front of the eyeballs of those not doing social distancing now?

How about crowd funded donations for an ad campaign? With a suggested 1 Euro donation per person, gathering that money from those who are annoyed that others are not physically distancing. And then a reputable organisation – the WHO ideally – designs hard hitting but accurate nudge infographics and an ad campaign targeted at those groups who (as far as we can tell) have not got the message yet?

I’m in to pay 1 Euro for that, if it means we can avoid a total lockdown in Berlin. Anyone else in for that?

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