As reports of the swine flu outbreak reached beyond Mexican borders and into the U.S. late last week, the internet has been buzzing furiously about risks, symptoms, and other updates for information. By comparison, the volume of conversations about the epidemic have already exceeded nearly 10 to 1 those surrounding the salmonella and peanut butter scares from earlier this winter… or, to put it in another cultural perspective, the chatter about swine flu even dwarfs that of recent viral media star Susan Boyle.
The increased conversations around swine flu on Twitter, where swine flu found its way into nearly 2% of all tweets, are indicative of the spike in conversations around the web.
Controlling the disease, and the message
As updates emerge hourly (the swine flu Wikipedia page was updated 60 times between 10am and 11am) response to the spread of the virus, the Centers For Disease control acted quickly, updating their homepage and creating a special section solely for updates and information on swine flu that includes key facts, related items and the ability to share/post the page to social bookmarking and social networking sites. Buzz activity about the CDC mirrors closely the buzz surrounding both health scares.