Before modern internet technology, organizations such as the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization had to rely on slower methods to inform the public about urgent health news. When there was a viral outbreak or an urgent call for vaccination, it could take precious time to effectively get the word out. In the context of Web 2.0, the world can easily be informed when there is an urgent safety or health announcement. Looking at past worldwide diseases such as smallpox and measles, it is easy to wonder what role the internet could have had in saving millions of lives.
When it comes to public safety, the threats of Mother Nature can easily be communicated via the web. For instance, many of us now rely on our smartphones or other technology sources to notify us if a tornado or another type of natural disaster may be crossing our path. As Web 2.0 has the strength and power of interaction, we now have eyewitness accounts of what is happening in our region and around the world without having to wait for an organization in authority to inform us.
Making public safety and health information reliable should be a concern for Web 2.0 considering the mass volumes of information that is available. With just the click of a mouse or a tap on an internet browser, you have to sort through many options to get to the bottom of what you’re looking for. Savvy internet users know to go to recognized and reputable sources when verifying news and data, but Web 2.0 leaves a lot of room for saturation from virtually any source.
When it comes to a manmade threat, engaging the public through Web 2.0 is the best way to ensure public safety. When a child is kidnapped or endangered, an Amber alert can be sent to millions of potential eyewitnesses in an instant. The potential for keeping the public safe and healthy through Web 2.0 technology is extremely powerful and should only improve with time.