Monday, April 27, 2009

It Depends Who You Follow


# 3060



I’m  hearing a good deal of media noise about the Swine Flu `panic’ being fomented on Twitter, and other social media.   A quick Google of the news finds several articles, including this one from eWeek Europe.



Is Twitter Spreading Swine Flu Fever?

  • 27-04-2009
  • By Darryl K. Taft

Social media such as Twitter are doing more harm than good by stoking fears of a swine flu pandemic, while other sites are finding ways to help, says Darryl Taft


The enhanced social interaction allowed by Twitter, is spreading the word about the possible siwine flu pandemic, but is simply creating more panic according to some.



Is there panic on Twitter?  


I haven’t seen any . . . but I don’t doubt it.


You see, what you get out of Twitter (or any social media) depends on who you follow.  


With Twitter, you decide whose feeds you will monitor.   If you elect to `follow’ idiots, you will receive idiotic feeds.   If you follow `panic mongers’, you will get panic `tweets’. 


But Twitter is simply a tool.   Blaming Twitter for spreading panic is like blaming the telephone for spreading malicious gossip.  


For many, their idea is to follow as many people as possible, probably in hopes thousands will follow them.   It seems pointless to me, but then, I’m old and a bit of a social curmudgeon.


And if that’s how you are using Twitter, indiscriminately following everyone and anyone you find, then you are likely inundated with nonsense and are missing out on the real value of the service.


I follow just a couple of dozen people, agencies, and organization that I am really interested in.  And I get good, solid information 24 hours a day.  


Some feeds I can recommend to get you started include:




Check and see who THEY are following, to get an idea of others you might want to follow as well.


If you want bad information, conspiracy theories, and panic you can find them in abundance on websites, SMS messages, emails, and street corners just about everywhere you go.  


You don’t need Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace to find them.


They appear to be part and parcel of the human condition.


Greg Friese said...

Excellent points about usefulness of social media.

How do you make the most of using the #swineflu (twitter hashtag for swine flu) to sort through the noise and find helpful information?

FLA_MEDIC said...

Greg, I'm notoriously bad at social media skills.

Someone just reminded me about the #swineflu hashtag, which I keep forgetting to put on my tweets!

Hard to teach an old medic new tricks, I guess.

I keep hoping for some sort of filtered search. Maybe it exists and I don't know about it.

Anyone know?

Anonymous said...

Do you know the xkcd cartoon? Today's cartoon is about swine ful and Twitter.

Be sure to mouse-over the image for a secondary "punchline."