The swine flu outbreak is spawning debate about how people get information during health emergencies -- especially at a time when news sources are becoming less centralized.
Some observers say Twitter -- a micro-blogging site where users post 140-character messages -- has become a hotbed of unnecessary hype and misinformation about the outbreak, which is thought to have claimed more than 100 lives in Mexico.
"This is a good example of why [Twitter is] headed in that wrong direction, because it's just propagating fear amongst people as opposed to seeking actual solutions or key information," said Brennon Slattery, a contributing writer for PC World. "The swine flu thing came really at the crux of a media revolution."
Twitter's popularity has exploded in recent months, and Slattery said it's a new development that a wide number of people would turn to the site in search of information during an emergency.
A spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, said that the online buzz about swine flu is a good sign. It means people are talking about the issue, and that's the first step toward learning how to reasonably protect yourself. Read full article »