Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Social media won't stop infectious disease [Letter]

The problem with using social media to predict the outbreak of infectious diseases lies within accuracy, demographics and how much people are willing to share ("Social media can help contain illness," Dec 2).

Recently, more and more people have been making their social media profiles private in fear of their public status being used against them. Careers and futures have been ruined because of a single social media post, something that would never have occurred in decades past. Furthermore, using social media to predict outbreak of illness is inaccurate due to the user demographics being dominated by 18-to-29-year-olds who are not at a high risk for getting sick compared to the elderly and children who as a group do not use social media as frequently.

Although the author acknowledges the inaccuracy of Sickweather due to people's current connectivity and engagement, there is still no way to rule out social media users misdiagnosing themselves or exaggerating their symptoms. Also, there is no evidence to show that the awareness of an infectious disease outbreak will slow its spread. People will continue to go to work and school and be exposed to potential threats — even if some iPhone app tells them there is an outbreak.

Michael Bent, Derwood

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • City high school graduation rates are a cruel charade
    City high school graduation rates are a cruel charade

    The headline on Colin Campbell's recent report on Baltimore City high school graduation rates was misleading ("Graduation rates at city schools below average, but rising," Dec. 16).

  • Here's why you should care about torture
    Here's why you should care about torture

    In his letter to the editor, Mark Wilson ("Who cares what the CIA does to terrorists?" Dec. 21) asks whether he is living in the "Twilight Zone" because he sees nothing wrong with torturing people to get so-called information from them. Perhaps he is. He fails to grasp that the people in...

  • Self-styled patriots silent on N. Korea threats
    Self-styled patriots silent on N. Korea threats

    Sony Pictures Entertainment has canceled the release of its satiric film, "The Interview," as a result of major U.S. movie chains' refusal to screen it because of terrorist threats from North Korea.

  • Mikulski stood up for Md. health care
    Mikulski stood up for Md. health care

    The spending bill recently approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama includes provisions important to Marylanders ("For better or worse, spending bill passes," Dec. 15). Thanks to the hard work of Sen. Barbara Mikulski, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, federal...

  • The Hippodrome's unwelcome 'gift'
    The Hippodrome's unwelcome 'gift'

    Christmas came early this year for the Hippodrome's "loyal subscribers." But it wasn't the nice side of Christmas, it was the Grinch that came to visit ("Hippodrome feels the heat from reseating process," Dec. 19).

  • How Republicans are ruining America
    How Republicans are ruining America

    On the national level, the cost of citizens not voting is quickly becoming apparent. Economically, the seeds of the next recession have been sown by the Republican weakening of financial controls so once again the greedy of Wall Street can gamble on dangerous financial derivatives with...

Comments
Loading