Rahul Sachitanand
Feb 20, 2020

As COVID-19 globalises, online chatter morphs to follow local concerns

Across social media and video, country-specific incidents drive traffic and conversations.

As COVID-19 globalises, online chatter morphs to follow local concerns

Over the past few weeks COVID-19 has infected over 73,300 people, with thousands more waiting to be tested, awaiting their results or quarantined. As the disease spread beyond its Chinese hotbed to countries around the world, local impacts remain the chief concern for most people, as reflected in social media chatter and video views. 

Circus Social

For example, a Circus Social report finds that in Japan, there was a spike in conversations around children and their ability to both recover quickly and equally to act as super spreaders of this virus. Even as the number of new cases being detected slowed, online chatter exploded with such local concerns. Criticisms aimed at the Japanese government over the handling of the Diamond Princess Cruise and the surge of onboard infections again saw increasingly loud online chatter. 

Circus Social

It wasn't only bad news that drove traffic and conversations online. For example, in Malaysia, traffic rose due to a couple of positive developments—9 of 22 cases being discharged and cruise ships from China no longer being allowed to dock in the country. 

Circus Social

Meanwhile, in Singapore, where leaders were lauded for their more organised effort to contain COVID-19 than in Hong Kong, strong management seemed to suggest the local population's worries were easing. Measures such as the release of a video by Phua Chu Kang and the recovery and discharge of a patient who was in intensive care, slowed traffic in the Island-state. 

Circus Social

Even as China struggled to cope with COVID-19 cases and locals produced and viewed plenty of content (both false and true) about the illness, other countries with far smaller disease incidence were hives of video generation, a study by ADA shows. 

ADA

As people looked for some cheer in a bleak time, comic content trumped other categories in terms of views, with more serious matters seemingly postponed to a more cheery time. According to ADA, there were four clear trends visible in video consumption in this time.

ADA

With many schools shut and students studying from home, there was an expected explosion in comments on education videos, according to this study. With schools in places such as Hong Kong to be shut until at least mid-March, this trend is likely to continue. 

ADA
 
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