Let Me Suggest selsemababi.com.my

SARS, then bird flu. Another global epidemic. Devastating as the epidemic can be, one thing that interest the technocratis are the elements of Web 2.0 influencing the dissemination of information or misinformation in the mass media.

On the plus side, IT is important in communications. There is no doubt about it. But what is of concern is the lack of control over the flow of information. It was easy 20 years ago to control television and  printed news to vet the kind of information being served to the public. Now, can we control the flow information in websites, emails, facebook, friendster and worse of all, twitter! Informations are updated to the minutes if not seconds. The authority will be powerless to control the information flow.

They will be left down with two choices. They can fight the information flow .... good luck to them. More sensibly they should just join what they cannot fight. Let me illustrate two important lessons from the last couple of weeks. Remember the youtube post I embedded on my site about the Domino's employee who were practically putting filth on the pizza. The video has since been taken down. Within the next 24 hours, Domino responded by posting another video on Youtube with its President apologising profusely about what happened. Not only that they responded promptly, they were also seen as hip and cool to their target. Those who have seen the add must have been IT savvy, and this is the targeted group who need to see the apologising reply as well. Smart move.

This is opposite to Amazon.com. A couple of weekend back, while updating their database, they accidentally brought down their whole catalogue of gay and lesbian-related titles. People started complaining. The problem was rectified soon after, but no apologies or explanation was given until a few days after. The punters can't wait few days. That is far too long in the Web 2.0 era. Slow reaction there.

My point is, the authority should take control of the Web, but not to control the flow of information, but to utilise its reach. I saw the WHO press conference live earlier on CNN.com from Geneva basically explaining that the Secretary-General has upgraded the pandemic status of the flu to grade 4,  a couple of grades from stopping cross-border movement. What is I would suggest is the Kementerian Penerangan should do something similar. A fast updating website - something that sounds like selsemababi.com.my or something. Disseminate information fast, turning it also as a portal for those wanting to learn more about the epidemic. The Kementerian can then vet and streamline the information better. They can also do tweeter updates as well, or even a facebook page! Failing that, you can always follow @palmdoc in twitter ... He has all the up-tp-date info one way or the other! There is also a map-based site that will track the confirmed cases that worth checking from time to time.

To finish things off, have a look at this video from 1976. Go selsemababi.com.my