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Amazon.com and the outbreak narrative
 

Amazon.com and the outbreak narrative

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This presentation looks at alternative ways to gauge how people understand flu pandemics. By looking at what is popular on Amazon.com through searching 'flu pandemics' and 'pandemics' it highlights ...

This presentation looks at alternative ways to gauge how people understand flu pandemics. By looking at what is popular on Amazon.com through searching 'flu pandemics' and 'pandemics' it highlights the meeting of a number of important discourses and the emergence of new ones, specifically within fiction. What are the implications of this?

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    Amazon.com and the outbreak narrative Amazon.com and the outbreak narrative Presentation Transcript

    • Amazon.com and the outbreak narrative: alternative public understandings of flu pandemics Farida Vis - University of Leicester ( [email_address] , @flygirltwo)
    • Public understandings of flu pandemics ‘ Outbreak narratives’ (Priscilla Wald, 2008) tensions between fact/fiction Amazon.com (seller of information, shaper or knowledge?) Meaning making (within popular culture) – Understanding of flu pandemic come from rich media diet. Role of popular fiction and non fiction. How are narratives changed? What are possible (media & policy) implications of this? Danger of ‘expectation’ and hype (Nerlich, 2005). Real life consequences
    • Current online habits Top 10 U.S. Web Parent Companies, Home and Work (May 2010) Source: Nielsen Netview Rank Parent Unique Audience Active reach % Time per person (hh:mm:ss) 1 Google 160,791 81.2 1:57:02 2 Microsoft 136,805 69.1 1:53:10 3 Yahoo! 133,385 67.4 2:15:17 4 Facebook 125,243 63.2 6:18:25 5 AOL LLC 81,559 41.2 1:50:02 6 News Corp. Online 76,116 38.4 0:49:37 7 Interactive Corp. 73,004 36.9 0:12:49 8 Ebay 62,453 31.5 1:20:00 9 Wikimedia Foundation 60,870 30.7 0:16:04 10 Amazon 60,693 30.6 0:24:07
    • ‘ As media become invisible, they become all-powerful’ (Deuze et al. 2010) (Google) Media Life perspective, ‘starts from the realization that the whole of the world and our lived experience in it can be seen as framed by, mitigated through and made immediate by (immersive, integrated, ubiquitous and pervasive) media’ > ‘hidden’ knowledge practices in our everyday experiences Amazon.com (somewhat hidden in research within our & related disciplines) E-business Bookseller & the rest Maker/packager of meaning through clustering of information Interactive elements on the website
    • Frequently bought together | Customers who bought this item also bought Editorial reviews | Product details | More about the author | customers also bought items by Inside this book | citations | what do customers ultimately buy after viewing this item? Tags customers associate with this product | customer reviews | customer discussions Listmania! | guides | similar items by category/subject
    • What are the key texts? Searches: ‘flu pandemic’ (539) and ‘pandemic’ (1544) (On Amazon.com sorted on relevance (1 st ) and bestselling (2 nd ) – cross referenced the first 50 results) Fiction / non Fiction Memory New interest (since late 1990’s) New titles > 2012 Zombie genre
    • Customer reviews & the thriller/horror genre John M Barry’s The Great Influenza (2004) - 231 reviews : average 4 stars 207 out of 213 people found the following review helpful, 5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Influenza: The American Experience, May 14, 2004 (by Robin Wolfson) ‘ In any case, Barry has produced a massive and important work of epidemiological history which is, at the same time, as readable as a thriller .’ In the late fall of 2012, a lethal pandemic virus emerges from the Islamic Republic of Indonesia (IRI) and rages unchecked across every continent. When the Jakarta Flu threatens his picture perfect Maine neighborhood, Alex Fletcher, Iraq War veteran, is ready to do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. Dr. Noah Haldane of the World Health Organization has repeatedly warned that the human race is due for a deadly new virus, similar to the 1919 Spanish flu that killed 20 million people in six months. So when a mysterious new flu strain is reported in China's Gansu province, Haldane isn't surprised he's called to investigate. He's shocked to learn that the new disease--dubbed Acute Respiratory Collapse Syndrome (ARCS) and considered far more deadly than SARS, killing one in every four people it infects--is intentionally being spread to London, British Columbia and Chicago .
    • As humankind races headlong towards possibly the most infamous date in recent history, a resurgence of the H1N1 flu virus begins to take a foothold around the world.  Government agencies form partnerships with the private sector to begin mass production of the life-saving vaccines .  However, something strange begins to happen to the people that were vaccinated around the winter solstice of 2012; the treated individuals do not get any better. In fact, they begin dying in massive numbers...only to return as the living dead! Flu Zombies & Dodgy vaccines (All titles from 2010) People refer to the infected as "zombies" although that's not what they really are. The word zombie implies the infected have died and reanimated. The thing is, those infected with Mad Swine, they didn't die. They're still alive; they even breathe. They're just not human anymore. No one really knows how or why it started. What we do know is that the H1N1 virus--or the damn vaccinations that everyone so anxiously lined up for hours to get-- mutated in a bad way . 'There's a nasty flu going round. An epidemic, they call it. The posters say to cover your mouth when you sneeze, and throw away the tissue. But such simple measures won't stop this flu. Because when you catch the flu, armed police come and lock you in your house to die alone. When you catch this flu, it kills you in days. And when you catch this flu, two hours after it's killed you, your eyelids snap open again... "Flu" is a pacey, terrifying, frighteningly real zombie horror story.'
    • On Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 8 p.m., the ABC television network aired a made-for-TV movie titled "Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America." The movie follows an outbreak of the H5N1 avian flu virus from its origins in a Hong Kong market through its mutation into a pandemic virus that becomes easily transmittable from human to human and spreads rapidly around the world. The Department of Health and Human Services prepared a Viewer's Guide and some anticipated Questions and Answers to provide factual information for viewers of the movie. Popular dramatisations, public understandings & the government.
    • The film indicates that there will be a shortage of Tamiflu® (or other antivirals) in a pandemic. Will there be? And if so, what is the government doing to prevent that? In the movie officials quickly find out that there is no vaccine available when the pandemic occurs nor will any be available for many months. Will we have vaccine available if a pandemic occurs? In the movie, we learn that the virus is beginning to develop resistance to Tamiflu®, rendering the drug useless. Could that happen? If so, why are we buying so much Tamiflu® for the stockpile? The film depicted many people who simply walked off their jobs. Would that really occur? What will be done with the overwhelming number of deceased bodies if we have a severe, 1918-like pandemic as was depicted in the film? Deciding who gets vaccine was a major question in the film. In a real pandemic, how will you decide who gets vaccine first?
    • Amazon communities > The Swine Flu Vaccine is Dangerous! ( 167 posts ) > How the Swine Flu Vaccine Will Become Mandatory and Why Most Citizens Will Take It. ( 1505 posts ) > Obama declares swine flu a national emergency ( 104 posts ) > Since pigs are solely responsible for the swine flu wouldn’t it be in the world’s best interest to kill off all the pigs and bury their remains? ( 126 posts )
    • Other ways of studying public understandings of flu pandemics Social Media (#swineflu) - Blogs - Google flu trends (based on search) Newspaper coverage (metaphor analysis) Amazon.com: transactional data, key website, ‘invisible’ shaper of knowledge, alternative source of rich research material, identifies popular texts & public discussions and evaluations of these texts. Role of popular culture. Memory work, long shadow of 1918 pandemic. Meeting point of different important discourses. Meaning making (within popular culture) How are narratives changes? What are possible (media & policy) implications of this? Danger of ‘expectation’ and hype (Nerlich, 2005). Real life consequences