Zika: A Social Media Conversation TimelineRyan FreemanBlogger ExtraordinaireSimply Measured
The Olympics are over. Performances and athletic drama may have ended, but a concerning public health issue endures: the Zika Virusbecame mainstream news prior to the Games, and traveled quickly through social media. Zika became a major topic of conversation on the world stage in Río, and it continues.
As social data zealots, we wanted to widely monitor the Zika topic and examine the effect of the Olympic Games on this conversation in real time. We leveraged Social Listening by Simply Measured, allowing us to widely monitor “Zika Virus” as a topic and zoom in on areas of interest through a dynamic dashboard.
We looked for correlations in the aggregate data and aligned trends with specific events, supported by conversational analysis from Simply Measured.
Here is the timeline of major conversational events around Zika we found on social.
Here are the volume of mentions around Zika in 2016 to date:
The first social activity appeared in early 2016, as Zika “arrived” in the mainstream media. A decline in March exhibited expected news cycle behavior. Volume stabilized…until summer, just in time for the Olympics. You can see this increased volume of activity between May and August 2016 right here:
Now let’s zoom in to examine the peaks of interest and conversation around Zika.
Summer and Zika themes combine with activity by influencers like The New York Times, Washington Post, CDC, and CNN. Common themes are summer prevention and possible vaccine development:
Social comments were driven strongly by Retweets and @Replies from CNN International’s 5.2million+ followers:
A photo posted by The White House (@whitehouse) on
The White House’s 2.9 million followers contributed 31.5K interactions to this serious address, which springboarded into the next day…
The White House’s post, and CNN and ABC reports about the “first case of Zika Virus in the continental US” generate a huge amount of conversation on social. Influencers “worldstar” (Instagram) and “senatorsanders” (Facebook) lead interactions for a combined 27k, creating the highest conversation volume since February.
Data indicates the highest volume in six months, at 73.4k mentions. Influencers are widespread, as the topic tips into a hot domestic issue. Over 18% of the conversation includes “States”. Major Zika-related conversation generators that occur in this time period:
Social Listening data suggests that Zika and the Olympic Games were often mentioned together, helping accelerate Zika as a strong top-of-mind issue around the world. The Zika topic was at its highest volume immediately before the Games, and continued directly into overlapping news, including coverage of attendance, competition, and sportsmanship.
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