The hottest topic on Twitter right now is the Swine Flu outbreak. The #swineflu tag has exploded and become one of the top 2 trending topics on Twitter search. Swine Flu has killed over 60 people in Mexico and cases have been discovered here in several states, including California, Texas, and New York. None of the people stricken here in the U.S. are seriously ill, and only 20 cases total have been diagnosed.
However, if you were to simply use Twitter to get your information, you’d hear a different story. The #swineflu tag is being used to post gossip, misinformation and outright lies about the situation, which is not the least bit useful and can even be harmful. Some social networking experts say people are using the flu outbreak to get more followers. Ever since the Ashton Kutcher/CNN race to 1 million followers, it seems the prime motivation for many Twitter users is to get as many followers as possible, and posting tweets about the Swine Flu, regardless if they are accurate or not, seems to be the hot way to attract them right now.
If you’re worried about the outbreak, get your information from credible sources like your local health department or the CDC. Google has made available an interactive map that is charting the course of the outbreak, and most news outlets will have regular updates. Don’t let a tweet on Twitter scare you!