Swine Flu Communication Kudos

From a longer blog post over at the Rock Creek blog

As the top news story on the nightly news and CNN.com, the swine flu, or H1N1 epidemic has dominated the headlines since last weekend. And to say that there’s been a lot of chatter online would be an understatement. Nielsen reports that on April 27th, “swine flu” was mentioned on Twitter one time every second and that the number of blog posts mentioning swine flu is exploding.

Mix a sense of panic and the nonstop flow of online activity, and you have a recipe for a bad situation. But thankfully, the agencies responsible for gathering and disseminating public health information—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—are keeping level heads and making smart online communication choices others would be wise to take note of.

1. They push the message beyond their sites: By quickly developing a widget that provides links to information about the swine flu, CDC and HHS have created a medium that effectively lets them keep control of the message while the widget propagates to websites over which they have no control.

Additionally, they provide the widget (and the information it links to) in both English and Spanish—especially helpful, given the location of the outbreak’s beginnings.

A final benefit is that the official sites to which the widget links receive the search engine optimization benefit of all of the backlinks to their sites, further solidifying their high positions in the search results for terms like “swine flu.”

Read the rest of the post at the Rock Creek blog

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Allen Sheaprd

Twitter has been used in ways never thought of. There are multiple hastags (#swineflu, #piggyflu, #h1n1, #planfirst, #pandemic)
What is interesting is how people automaticaly seperate themselves into the groups they want to be in.
The CDC has done alot because of other people wanting pandemic information. The only thing better than a plan is a working model.

Scott Burns

This is a very insightful post highlighting the professionalism with which the public health agencies have been keeping the public informed during this time.

There is a new, dynamic, widget now posted on http://www.pandemicflu.gov that streams the most up to date information from CDC/WHO/HHS.