Thursday, May 7, 2009

Where Ya Get Your H1N1Info

H1N1, or swine flu. Where are people getting their info on this much-discussed version of influenza? I give you two different lists, both courtesy of the great folks at the Pew Center in this new report.

Most Useful Sources (in order)
  1. Internet
  2. Cable news
  3. Local TV news

Source of Information

  1. Local TV news
  2. Cable news
  3. Network evening news

That second, disturbing list, deserves some explanation. Respondents were asked where they learned something about H1N1 and they could rattle off any number of sources, so 69 percent somehow managed to find local TV news as a source of swine flu info and 63 percent identified cable news. Both have covered this frothing at the mouth, but that's a different matter.

Indeed, the Pew folks found H1N1 to be the big story in terms of interest, even besting that perennial favorite the economy.

Of course H1N1 so far isn't as bad as TV went on and on and on about, and there are even reports of people thinking about swine flu parties to get infected. Why? Apparently there is anecdotal evidence that back in the big one, the 1918 epidemic, people who caught an easier Spring version were better able to handle the next Winter version that killed so many people. The thinking goes -- and I do NOT recommend this because it's dumb -- that catching it now will help you next Winter when we get a nasty, mutated, angry version of the swine flue sweeping across the globe.

The Internet is the growing source of info, and compared to TV I have to say -- thank god. Then again, it's hard to know where on the Net people are getting their info, so lemme take back that thanks until we know more.

Knowing More -- Added Stuff

A Pew Center person pointed me to a report that breaks down where on the Net people are going for H1N1 info. Thanks!

The good news? The CDC is #1. The bad news? Wikipedia is #2. Then there's Google and Yahoo, basically search engines, and then oddly enough ... MySpace? The land of awful music and even awfuler web pages, a source of swine flu info? CNN shows up on the list at #6 and sadly is the only news site mentioned. There's also another government web site, and ... Facebook?

The only thing missing from this frightening scenario is Twitter. Probably comes in at #11.

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