Swine flu: Twitter’s power to misinform ?
April 26th, 2009

Evgeny Morozov posts on Neteffect.The New ForeignPolicy.com April 25 5.56 P.M.:

Despite all the recent Twitter-enthusiasm about this platform’s unique power to alert millions of people in decentralized and previously unavailable ways, there are quite a few reasons to be concerned about Twitter’s role in facilitating an unnecessary global panic about swine flu”.

(..) “First of all, I should point out from the very outset that anyone trying to make sense of how Twitter’s “global brain” has reacted to the prospect of the swine flu pandemic is likely to get disappointed. The “swine flu” meme has so far that misinformed and panicking people armed with a platform to broadcast their fears are likely to produce only more fear, misinformation and panic”

Here is a tough question to communication experts out there: how do we reach the digital natives out there, especially those who are only accessible via Facebook and Twitter feeds? The problem is that while thousands of concerned and misinformed individuals took to Twitter to ventilate their fears, government and its agencies were still painfully missing from the social media space; the Twitter of account of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] was posting updates once in a few hours – and that was probably the only really trustworthy source people could turn to online”.

Also check Ben Parr’s posting on the Social Media Guide Mashable ‘HOW TO: Track Swine Flu Online’

“This resource guide will help you better track not only cases of Swine Flu, but other public health concerns as well”.

“Stay Calm, Stay Informed. While there’s likely to be much concern on social networking sites about public health incidents, it’s important to keep things in proportion, and go direct to the sources of news rather than spreading panic”.

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