Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Twitter has played a critical role in keeping people connected and amplifying authoritative information from credible sources. Especially over the course of this past year, the way people have used Twitter has evolved.
With the onset of the second wave of COVID-19 in India, Twitter emerged as a real-time helpline as people turned to the service seeking and offering help to secure life-saving facilities, medicines, food, and much more. An incredibly positive people’s movement to support one another took shape on the service.
We identified, analysed and compared COVID-19 Tweets sent out during the initial months of the second wave in India (April 01 - May 31, 2021) with Tweets from the months preceding it (February 01 - March 31, 2021) to gain insights into the conversations that unfolded on the service.
Tweets on COVID-19 grew manifold during April 01 - May 31, 2021, and the service witnessed 100% growth in COVID-19 conversations compared with the previous two months (February 01 - March 31). We analysed this growth and classified the conversations into four broad categories:
While Tweets on #IndiaFightsCorona saw a 530% increase, among local and state-related conversations, #DelhiFightsCorona and #MaharashtraFightsCorona saw a significant increase in Tweets - with conversations going up by 1872% and 2377%, respectively. We also introduced several features, including multiple state-specific Event Pages for credible updates from the region.
More than ever, Twitter remains committed to serving the public conversation. It introduced a number of features and initiatives in support of the COVID-19 conversation in India. Some of these were a dedicated COVID-19 hub on the Explore page, several Twitter Events Pages that bring together the latest Tweets from a number of authoritative and trustworthy government organisations, media and civil society sources in local languages, an SOS page, related Topics, Twitter Lists of credible accounts to follow, among several others. The WHO has also engaged with account holders on the service around important issues. Twitter also prioritised the roll-out of Spaces in India, to give people access to more ways of having informative conversations and staying connected. You can read about these in detail on this blog.