The outbreak of swine flu, otherwise known as the H1N1 virus, has pushed government agencies, particularly the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to embrace all kinds of social media and mobile technologies for disseminating information and attempting to quell fear. YouTube, Twitter, RSS feeds, podcasts, embeddable widgets and informational e-cards are all parts of the strategy.
In fact, the CDC is getting record traffic to its swine flu site, and has had twice the number of people sign up for email alerts than for the peanut recall earlier this year.
"Public health agencies are our largest sector of clients," Scott Burns, CEO of technology contractor GovDelivery, tells Government Computer News. "CDC and the state health agencies do the best job of this type of communication. I think they would make the private sector jealous."