Swine Flu spreads via Twitter

Forget Oprah: the biggest star of Twitter at the moment is the Swine Flu

Forget Oprah: the biggest star of Twitter at the moment is the Swine Flu, an occasionally fatal illness that has escalated to a public health emergency as it spreads throughout the United States. Though there are only 20 reported cases of the Swine Flu in the U.S., mass hysteria has swept the country, and Twitter is adding fuel to the fire.

Over the past few days, Twitter has exploded with the #swineflu tag. Many tweet about the spread of the illness; others prophesize it ravaging the United States; still more joke about contracting the disease. As of this writing, Swine Flu is the subject of the top two trending topics on Twitter search. The use of Twitter as a forum to discuss a frightening illness has less to do with updating people with news stories and other developments -- it's about spreading gossip, panicking, and potentially misinforming one's followers about a grave concern.

Twitter inched close to becoming nothing more than a popularity contest during the Ashton Kutcher/CNN battle to reach 1 million fans and Oprah's membership. People suddenly desired more followers than their neighbors as a motivating force behind joining Twitter, and saw the best way to attract users as microblogging about the hottest topics. Ergo, many are using the Swine Flu as an excuse to publicize individual accounts with little consideration of the mass effects.

Instead, those concerned about Swine Flu should express caution and assess their sources critically. Remember, it's hard to supply much information or context in 140 characters. Google has provided a useful interactive map charting the course of the Swine Flu. Google also provides constantly updating news feeds from a variety of credible sources via Google News. Also check out Health Map, a global disease-tracking interactive map.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags twitterswine flu

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?