Analysis of social media posts in August 2021 shows Australian users are weary of lockdowns, but continue to understand the need to protect lives.
The TIGER C19 project, run collaboratively between Burnet Institute and the University of Melbourne has combined big data analytics of selected keywords and themes from Reddit and Twitter since the onset of COVID-19, chronicling attitudes and behaviour in real-time across the span of the pandemic.
TIGER C19 Co-Lead Investigator, Professor Robert Power and his team collated and analysed nearly 90,000 Twitter and Reddit posts from 5–20 August 2021 which contained five separate keywords relating to current COVID-19-related issues.
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Professor Power said the project offers real-time insights into the sentiment of Australian social media users and gauges attitudes and responses to public health interventions and policies surrounding the pandemic.
“This analysis was conducted during the first two weeks of Victoria’s sixth lockdown. Notable were people’s weariness at another round of lockdown, but also their understanding of the need to protect others from the virus, particularly those who haven’t yet been double vaccinated,” Professor Power said.
Professor Power said that there were a lot of supportive posts shared.
“Many posts were positive experiences of vaccination, encouragement of others to come forward and advice as how to book a vaccination, as well as accessing mental health support services,” he said.
“It’s encouraging to see many Australian social media users playing their part to help the country emerge from lockdowns and high levels of virus.”
On the other hand, Professor Power said the latest TIGER C19 analysis had found criticism of the Australian vaccination and quarantine program, and social media posts expressing opposition to lockdowns, vaccines and promoting anti-lockdown protests.
“We also saw heated debates around the pros and cons on mandating vaccinations in the workplace, and lots of emphasis on some of the other impacts of the pandemic and its effects on young people,” Professor Power said.
As well as informing public health and information responses, TIGER-C19 data is helping to support related research, such as Burnet’s Optimise Study, as a means of shaping discussion topics for Community Engagement Group meetings.
TIGER C19 (Timely Integration of user-GEnerated Responses to C19) is an ongoing collaboration between Burnet Institute and the University of Melbourne that combines big data analytics of social media.
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