Sunday, 3 May 2009
Is There A Vaccine For Social Influenza?
Are you over-dosing on Swine-Flu media coverage? Is there a vaccine against the rampant spread of news coverage and public health advice? I think we've got the message now!
According to communications Inoculation Theory (McGuire 1961) all we needed at the onset of the outbreak was to be given a small dose of 'wash your hands', 'don't sneeze in someone's face', 'don't be a flu hero and go to work' to trigger our minds into generating all the arguments and reasons necessary for us to be mindful about the gravity of the problem.
Fundamentally the social influence attack has to be "strong enough to keep the receiver defensive, but weak enough to not actually change those preexisting ideas"
What the media coverage seems to have created through massive doses of social influenza is a perverse mutation of the swine-flu communications virus. It has alarmingly and dramatically altered its memetic make up.What was originally a 'fear of infection' has become a fixation with the Swine Flu Premier League Table.
The whole swine-flu thing has captured the attention and interest of the 'football manager wannabe'. I overheard two working lads on the train last week poring over the results..."Look Spain's got it now mate, how do you reckon Norway's gonna do?" Who's got the most points? Mexico played 700 lost 149, England played 500 drew 16...How do you reckon we'll fare by the end of the season? Yeah we had 175,000 and didn't lose any... C'mon you Lions!
So what next? Let's play Fantasy Epidemiologist. Choose your country, choose your virus, select from a range of characteristics, such as sneezability, speed of mutation, resistance to vaccine, liking for a particular age group, you could even choose its appearance and 'team colours', the aim of the game its to see if your 'team' can spread the fastest round the globe and create the most victims. Perhaps the WHO could sponsor it and offer a small prize to the winner?
Are you fully protected against this virulent media mutation? Once you have read this please wash your hands.