Deconstructing Swine Flu Mania

I've taken a stab at deconstructing some of the media hyperbole regarding swine flu. You can read my shy-of-1000 words essay at TheModerateVoice or Newsvine. Two highlights follow. Today's "facts" from the World Health Organization provide perspective:
Today WHO reported that 11 countries have “officially reported 257 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection.” In the U.S., we have 109 laboratory-confirmed human cases and one death. In Mexico, there are 97 confirmed human cases and seven deaths.
Moreover, the specter of the 1918-1919 pandemic doesn't seem likely today, based on WHO's most "conservative" (ie, worst-case) scenario: …continue reading →

Will Media Backlash Doom Twitter?

Doubtful. Mainstream Media Do Not Have A Good Track Record On Calling Fads. My 81-year-old father, who uses his MacMini to play solitaire and who lives in rural/agricultural southwest Georgia, asked me about Twitter over the weekend. That's penetrating the mainstream. And yet the incumbent backlash has begun, on the heels of Twitter's launch into popular culture courtesy of Oprah. It's "a fad" according to Business Week. Nielsen claims it is unlikely to ever have more than 10 percent of all Internet users and, therefore, cannot be successful. Then there was last week's screed from Maureen Dowd. So I decided to do a little research. Check out what the popular press had said about earlier communication technologies. …continue reading →