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China: Tracking swine flu on Twitter

Swine flu for China so far is a chance to reflect [zh] on how SARS was prevented from becoming a pandemic, and the steps being taken now in Mexico and elsewhere.

Wang Jiadong has a post [zh] looking at how social media have been used to track the spread of outbreaks, from trending topics on the China Google to #hashmarks at the Twitter search engine, introducing the global Google swine flu map to his readers along with the QQ version.

The tech community at cnBeta have posted on the American CDC's [zh] use of Twitter and YouTube to disseminate the latest information, and are actively discussing the situation in the comments:

能评论吗

Can we comment?

吃猪肉能传染么?

Can you catch it from eating pork?

如果中国的什么疾病控制中心用QQ发布某信息…… 那估计很多人就要喷代谢产物 ~~ 你觉得呢?

If the Chinese CDC or whatever started using QQ to spread information….then I bet a lot of people would be shocked silly…don't you think?

看看人家国家~~再看看天朝gov 。差异啊~

You look at other countries, then you look at our government. What a difference!

就是你这种人…… 外国用所谓的这些软件发布就是潮流要是国内 用什么QQ发布 估计你就要来喷代谢产物 了! 不要看外国的月亮的时候那么崇拜 实际上你这么崇拜人家 人家未必把你当啥东西看

It's people like you…..it's the trend right now for foreigners to use these so-called programs to disseminate information, but if they started using QQ or whatever to do that here, I bet it'd be YOU that'd be shocked silly! You shouldn't be always worshipping the foreign moon every time you look at it. You know if you keep worshipping people like that, people are just going to ignore you.

Twitter真是个肥猪流网站! 这么废品 的功能就想不明白为什么这么多人要用??难道这就是外国人思想观念比较新的具体体现了?

Twitter is really a non-mainstream website! Such a crappy service, I can't figure out why so many people want to use it?? Is it supposed to be the latest manifestation of some foreign ideological concept?

差距是有的,但是和十几年前的中国比起来,现在进步了很多,应该鼓励不能嘲讽

There is a difference, but compared to China a few decades ago, there's been a lot of progress. You should encourage, not mock.

An earlier cnBeta post [zh] noted that usage of the #swineflu had reached a rate of 10,000/hour. A commenter there points out that the @CDCEmergency Twitter account had already reached 25,000 followers, to which another reader writes:

中国非典,禽流感的时候,又不见消息这么灵通?好了,现在其它国家有疫情了,中国就哇哇哇地宣传。果真是那样,三句话总结新闻联播:前十分钟,领导们很忙;中十分钟,全国人民很幸福;后十分钟,世界上其他国家的人民都生活在水深火热之中。

In China during SARS and avian flu, did we see free flow of information? So now it's other countries with an epidemic, and China is yapping about it all over. It really is like they say with the three-line summary of Joint News Broadcast: In the first ten minutes, the state leaders are very busy; in the middle ten minutes, the people of China are very content; in the last ten minutes, the people outside China are living in hot water.
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  • Ahmad

    I found this link very useful: http://www.ProactiveAndPrepared.com
    You should get a mask that protects your eyes too.

    • https://twitter.com/feng37 John Kennedy

      Thanks Ahmad. Unfortunately, the site seems to be blocked in China.

  • Brandon

    The Swine Flu is spreading very fast: http://www.swinefluworldmap.com/

  • http://www.reddit.com/r/Outbreak/ Swine Flu Outbreak News

    Twitter is not a very good way to monitor for swine flu news. There is too much duplication and opinion, which is often false or misleading.

    One of the best places to get swine flu news is http://www.reddit.com/r/Outbreak/ At that location, you can vote for stories, comment on stories or contribute new stories yourself.

  • http://swine-flu-pig-flu.blogspot.com/ h1n1 virus

    It might be the start of a pandemic, but it is more likely just a bit of a preview for the inevitable flu pandemic that lies in our future. In the latter case, the good that comes from it (not to diminish at all the tragedy of those who have died from this outbreak) will be better preparation for that eventuality.

  • ken

    Check out this website http://www.swine-flu-tracker.com/ that tracks the spread of swine flu, it really puts things in perspective.

  • knights

    Yeah, blame everything on China. . . .even Mexico is dogging after usa to tarnish China’s image. It’s ok China, you are a forgiving big brother, so let the little ones pick on you if it makes them feel better :-)

    • https://twitter.com/feng37 John Kennedy

      Nice to see you again, Knights.

  • Elaine

    Well, as a Chinese who is studying in the US. I think my government is doing really well. I don’t know why Americans always say bad things about China. During the time that SARS was very popular in China, lots of cities including Shanghai(where I was living in) was doing really well and no one caught SARS in those cities. However, I don’t wanna argue about something, but people should at least remember what China has given to the world in the past thousands of years. As a Chinese, I personally really like my government. Our government people have their ways to deal with things. They might be different from those in the US, but come on, it Ok. It’s none of forigners’ business. Chinese people are doing fine and like our government pretty much.

  • https://twitter.com/feng37 John Kennedy

    Hi Elaine, thanks for the comment. Not sure what you’re responding to, however. As I point out in the first sentence above, swine flu hasn’t reached China yet.

    Despite that, are you getting flack from people in the US or what? I assume your comment isn’t directed at me because I’m not American and I haven’t made any criticisms of China above.

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