May 5, 2009

Swineflu - An Infectious Use of Social Media

Last weekend, Twitter was abuzz with the news of swine flu hitting Hong Kong. You could feel a palpable surge of panic but, thankfully, it rapidly calmed down. Compared to the awful days of SARS, where over 250 new infections were being announced each day, there is still only one infected case here in Hong Kong. (Read the latest updates on the WHO's official pandemic outbreak website).

What interests me about the way this "outbreak" is being handled is the prolific use of social media. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has even set up it's own social media guide at On Twitter, savvy users are using the hashtags, "#swineflu" or for Hong Kong news specifically "#swinefluhk". There's a local blog on the topic in English (, Technow has a good web 2.0 guide in Chinese and a doctor i snot managing to keep his domain up to date.

But by far the best visual tool is the crowd-sourced "2009 H1N1 Flu Outbreak Map" on Google Maps. It was created by "Laurel" on April 25th, has 25 collaborators, has been viewed 1,844,629 times and has 2664 comments!

They've even come up with a catchy URL, ""! The map is embeded below so that you can play around with it yourself.

View 2009 H1N1 Flu Outbreak Map in a larger map

1 comment:

Svineinfluensa said...

There is also a Norwegian blog about the same topic.