Fighting the Flu With Social Media

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Google Flu Activity Chart

From Google Flu Tracker

Why not use social media to fight influenza?

The flu season has arrived — and it’s weeks early.

In one week, 16 states and New York City reported high levels of the flu. By the following week, that number was up to 29.

Each day for the past week, more than 500 New Yorkers have descended on emergency rooms with flu symptoms, according to a city website.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in high flu states 70 percent to 80 percent of the coughs you hear around you right now stem from the flu.

Each cough, sneeze or even conversation puts the virus into the air — and potentially into your lungs.

The virus goes everywhere — onto railings and the salt shakers in the diner; on the keys of the ATM; and on every door anyone touches.

The flu virus can survive two to eight hours on hard surfaces such as metal and plastic — touch it and you can spread it to your nose and mouth from your hand.

Now, there are ways to track the influenza outbreak using Google and Facebook.

But, what should YOU do to protect yourself?

  1. Get vaccinated against flu – it’s your best defense.
  2. Cover your cough, wash hands often.
  3. Take antiviral drugs if your doctor recommends them.

The influenza map this January is not very favorable no matter where you are in the United States, so please consider vaccination, if you have not already done so. Having been hospitalized with the influenza virus a few years ago, I can attest that it is a very nasty disease.

Social Media

Why Do Two-Thirds of Online U.S. Adults Use Social Media?

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It is all about the friends – current and those back in the day.

The most common reason U.S. adults use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is to stay in touch with friends and family members, a new study reveals. A Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project study released Tuesday examines why 66% of online U.S. adults use social media.

“Some social networkers view these sites as venues for making new friends and connections,” says the study‘s lead researcher, Aaron Smith. “But for the majority, social networking sites are most important as a way to share and communicate with friends and family who are already key social ties. Activities such as meeting potential dating partners or interacting with public figures are much less relevant than deepening bonds with those who are already important.”

Of those surveyed, 67% say connecting with friends was a “major reason” they use social media; 64% say connecting with family was also a “major reason.” Half of the social media users say connecting with people they’ve lost touch with is a “major reason” for their use.

Older users (ages 50 to 64) are more likely than younger users (ages 18 to 29) to use social media to find others with similar interests or hobbies. Eighteen percent of the older group, compared to 10% of the younger group, use social for that reason.

I would say Facebook is REALLY about friends and family, whereas Twitter is for more business and political interaction. LinkedIn is the grown up social media site and it is all about business networking.

There is a little something for everyone.

Google Plus – well add another in the mix. Stay tuned for how that matures….