It’s not a pandemic yet but you wouldn’t know it from the exponentially growing number of tweets about swine flu and #swineflu and, beginning yesterday, swine flu renamed H1N1. Like many others, I dislike the term “viral” marketing. But there’s an eery aptness to the term this week. This is real time and big time. This is proof of concept for the power and nimbleness of social media – especially Twitter – as a communications strategy.
Ambient awareness (“What are you doing right now?”) be damned. There’s much more going on here. Twitterers are trading useful links, like this Q&A about swine flu on CNN.com/Hhealth and a visual reminder to use hand sanitizer. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is/are twittering like mad, @CDCemergency (over 53,000 followers) and @CDCFlu. And take a look at the CDC home page: RSS feeds, email updates, audio/podcasts, video, photos, charts. This is a case study unfolding in real time.