Cannes : Packing for swine flu?

By mikejones | mikejones April 30, 2009 at 7:27AM

Cannes : Packing for swine flu?
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Those planning their Cannes fest trip have one more item to pack, if they can find it -- hand sanitizer.

While no cases of the swine flu have been reported in France, today's jump in confirmed infections insures the news cycle will keep the story contagious.

Regular fest goers know that some fests are large petri dishes. The Sundance flu wreaks havoc in Park City, for example.

A quick polling of some industry folk making the trip finds not many were worried about it.

Meanwhile, stores in LA are empty of Purell. And if the Tweets keep their current pace, the France-bound planes could be loaded with masked people.

But those looking to Twitter as their swine barometer may be disappointed, says ForeignPolicy.com's Evgeny Morozov:

Twitter seems to have introduced too much noise into the process: as opposed to search requests which are generally motivated only by a desire to learn more about a given subject, too many Twitter conversations about swine flu seem to be motivated by desires to fit in, do what one's friends do (i.e. tweet about it) or simply gain more popularity.

In situations like this, there is some pathological about people wanting to post yet another status update containing the coveted most-searched words – only for the sake of gaining more people to follow them. And yet the bottom line is that tracking the frequency of Twitter mentions of swine flu as a means of predicting anything thus becomes useless (however, there are plenty of other non-Twitter ways to track the epidemic and Mashable does a good job of summing them all up).

Photo by Erin Orr.