The Power of the Web

Here’s something to think about. I use Google Alerts to notify me about news stories, blog entries and web sites that I might be interested in, and one of those is of course “University of Lincoln”. One of our students suffers from cataplexy, a condition that apparently causes muscle weakness under stress, and in this unfortunate woman’s case, it’s so severe that laughing can cause her to collapse.

But that’s not really the point of this entry. What has struck me is how quickly it’s gone round the World. I’ve seen stories about it from such exotic publications as the “National Ledger” which is a newspaper in somewhere called Apache Junction in Arizona, and other assorted local newspapers from around the world. Now I might mutter darkly about newspapers being too mean to employ journalists to actually go out and report on stories these days, preferring to employ interns to sit at computers all day, but what I’m getting at is that think it very odd, (and encouraging) that I found a story about my own institution from so far away. (In fairness, the local paper here, the Lincolnshire Echo did pick it up quite early on, but then, I wonder where they got it from!) Of course, it’s an unusual, human interest story, which might make it more prone to wider circulation – but it does illustrate how the alerts can help keep one informed.

Oh, and here’s the story if you’re interested. (From the BBC’s local news site, so they got it too.)