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“EducateJenny” Twitter Initiative update

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on April 25, 2010

The Initiative is plowing along and picking up speed. Thanks to a RT by Simon Singh, at @SNSingh, many people have gotten involved. Now, as usually happens, as more people join in there is the risk for the tone and direction of the Initiative to be adversely affected. As such, I would like to take this chance to make some suggestions to anyone who wants to chip in.

  1. The goal of the initiative is to scour the web for stories of people being hurt due to antivaxx/lack of vaccination and send a tweet to @jennyfrommtv to point the story out and ask her to change her stance on vaccines. POLITELY! The point is not to rehash all the counterarguments to the anti-vaccine crowd; that’s been done perfectly well on major skeptical blogs. The idea is to counter emotions with emotions. Logic rarely can tame feelings; only other feelings can. Hopefully, if we point out enough stories of people being hurt from lack of vaccinations, Jenny will change her stance on the issue.  Why do I care to change Jenny’s mind? Because I believe she cares just as much as we do, but I also believe that she is misinformed or her strong emotions do not allow the facts to get through. Also, she has the ear of hundreds of thousands of people; she does have the power to influence countless others and to hurt or help many, due to that popularity (over 126,000 followers on Twitter at last count, to contrast Phil Plaitt has 38,000). She can be quite an ally in helping eradicate some horrible childhood diseases and reducing the negative effect that the movement she supports unfortunately has on people’s well-being.
  2. If someone joins in, form the other side, regurgitating the old and tired arguments though, do feel free to point out the existing counterarguments, preferably from sources that link to the original data source. But after linking to the response try not to get drawn into long, pointless Twitter fights. Again the point of this campaign is to point out the human suffering that is resulting, not to get into arguments with the antivaxxers.
  3. Do provide links to as many well done studies about vaccines and their safety as you possibly can; if the full study is available link to that, if not the abstract will have to do.
  4. Please ask your followers to join the initiative and let us make #educatejenny a big trend in Twitter. Who knows we might even succeed!!!
  5. Contact the big names in skepticism that you know off on Twitter and ask them to support the Initiative. We need them to throw numbers our way. The easiest way is to send them a Tweet asking them to support our campaign.
  6. And lastly remember: keep it civil and polite. Most people on the other side care just as much; most don’t do it out of a desire to hurt people. In their mind they are helping; we just need to show them that their efforts are having unfortunate effects. We just need to point them in the right direction; they will have to make the “conversion” themselves.