Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Swine flu: The dangerous power of Twitter

So far Twitter seems to be immune from criticism, it has been the site of opportunity and obsession that has revolutionized the web.
However, there is concern growing that Twitter could facilitate an unnecessary global panic about swine flu.
The New Foreign Policy website has highlighted that Twitter’s infinite reach and power could do more harm than good by introducing “too much noise into the process”.
As the outbreak spreads millions of ‘tweets’ are flooding the website as people share their fears and anxieties but even more alarming are the people claiming to know possible cures to treat swine flu.
People are fearful that the reach and volume of these messages will scaremonger the public with hear-say and folk law.
There is a genuine concern that these 'tweets' will result in dangerously misinforming its audience with potentially hazardous consequences.


nimi said...

hmmm but thats the same as for the the internet in general, you can get information on pretty much anything, including weird cures, facts & fiction. Im sure there is loads of scaremongering out there about 'swine flu'
Its still up to the reader to use judgement. Depends whose Tweets you are listening to or reading rather.

emily said...

Yeah, I agree. It's not twitter that's at fault, it's people's natural love of the drama of a crisis. Twitter just helps the message get passed around faster. The difficulty is people have not yet learned to discern between rumour and truth. That's why we'll always need "independent" (different debate) news like the beeb who check facts.