UK wants you to tweet the color of your vomit

In order to track norovirus, UK authorities would like people to get as graphic as possible with their unhealthy tweets.

Pick a color, any color. PaintBasket/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The phrase "Twitter feed" is about to take on a troubling hue.

It's not Twitter's fault. I blame the government of the United Kingdom.

You see, its Food Standards Authority would like all British citizens -- and, presumably, all those who are merely, um, passing through -- to keep it up to date with the color of their vomit and much more.

They'd be cheered if you'd tweet the color of, yes, all your natural emissions.

It's all for a very good cause. No, not global warming, silly. The government wants to keep abreast of the norovirus. This virus -- known in the UK as the winter vomiting bug -- catches Brits with their pants down and has nothing to do with how much they overeat at Christmas.

As the Guardian reports, the FSA has discovered that Twitter is a very fast way of seeing where the bug is spreading.

Twitterers are desperately fond of keeping everyone fully informed of all their bodily functions. They create helpful hashtags like #barf, #puke and #retch.

The mere fact that they are vomiting doesn't prevent them from tweeting with, presumably, their spare hand. Or a toe or two.

The FSA's social media manager, James Baker, told the Guardian: "We found that the changes in the number of tweets using symptom keywords predicted the increase in lab reports at the start of the annual peak in human cases."

Indeed, graphic Twitter descriptions of stool hue and vomit shade might give the authorities as much as a four-week headstart in dealing with the virus' spread.

I suggest, therefore, that all Brits -- and everyone who will be sailing in those parts over the winter -- avail themselves of precise color charts. There is a need to understand the difference between vermillion and scarlet, and between violet and purple.

I cannot confirm that the British authorities have approached Pink to help them promote this helpful initiative.

 

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