The Smart Way to Use Twitter to Learn About Swine Flu
Since then, I've seen critical blog posts and stories charging that Twitter is spreading misinformation, and does more harm than good. Here's the latest report from CNN, entitled "Swine flu creates controversy on Twitter" (which I found on Twitter). It cites four sources, including Evgeny Morozov — who wrote the cautionary blog post I cited Sunday — all of whom essentially warn users to take information on Twitter "with a grain of salt."
Have you seen the #swineflu hashtag? Click over there if you like. You'll see a random sampling of information, some of which is useful, some of which is not. How can you tell which is which? Here are a few tweets from the stream. See if you can tell the good info from the bad. I'll put my reactions in parentheses.
SwineFluWatch: WORLD NEWS: New Zealand confirms cases of swine flu http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSSP465504 #swineflu
(link to article from Reuters)
It can take some time to sort the signal from the noise, but the process is definitely entertaining. Just ignore the spam and the alarmist tweets and look for the good stuff.
I should add that Twitter is not for everyone — news junkies like me love wading through Twitter chatter, but my partner, Ann-Elise, is not interested. I was trying to explain it to her Sunday night, and telling her how we could use it to find links to all kinds of info. She cut me off. "I just don't want to know about Twitter," she said. "This is where I draw the line."