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Archive for April 2009

The problem with Twitter

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Swine flu has been the splash on most papers today and this weekend. Although Twitter can be used to spread information effectively, it also has a tendency to create hysteria where there shouldn’t be any. Swine flu is currently the top trend, and yet how many cases have there been in the UK and US? As of last night, 20. Out of 360m, 20 people contracted the virus, one of which was hospitalised. Yet everybody is talking and twittering about it, and for the moment, I think it’s needless and pointless.

Here’s a screengrab of Philip De Franco’s (American blogger) tweets.

phillyd

Until swine flu reaches the UK, or there are more serious causes for concern, I don’t see the point of twittering about it. Getting swine flu to the top of the trends is like running into a cafe and shouting that there’s a¬†small building¬†fire down the road – not many people will care, and it won’t affect many people. But there will be people who will want to rubberneck. As PhillyD states, twitter spreads panic easily through the sheer amount of tweets a topic gets. I guess it’s a blessing and a curse. Twitter can disperse news faster than any other outlet, but as there is no context, meaning can be lost.

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Written by bjobbo

April 27, 2009 at 10:23 am

Posted in Journalism

Tagged with , , ,