Analysis of social media posts between in May-June 2021 shows Australian users are frustrated at the Federal Government’s COVID-19 response, notably around hotel quarantine and the vaccine rollout.
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.
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TIGER C19 Co-Lead Investigator, Professor Robert Power and his team collated and analysed over 134,000 Twitter and Reddit posts between 28 May and 11 June 2021 which contained six separate keywords relating to current COVID-19-related issues.
Professor Power said the project offers real-time insights into the pulse of the Australian community and gauges attitudes and responses to public health interventions and policies.
“We subjected these keywords to thematic analyses. One outstanding theme was frustration at the Federal COVID-19 response, placing this as the prime reason for the Victorian lockdown,” Professor Power said.
Professor Power said many Twitter and Reddit threads recounted difficulties in accessing vaccines, noting long wait times and supply issues.
“On the positive side, there was extensive debate around how best to encourage Victorians to get vaccinated, with many users relating positive experiences of receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine,” he said.
The latest TIGER C19 analysis, Professor Power said, had also picked up on experiences of Victorians in lockdown and attitudes around vaccine hesitancy, with many users suggesting poor government messaging is fuelling hesitancy.
“One tweet which generated lots of interest suggested that ‘Twitter provides more trusted information than that coming from government sources,'” he said.
“Such insights are invaluable in assisting the shaping and delivery of both public health responses and messaging and in evaluating how these are received.”
As well as informing public health and information responses, TIGER-C19 data is helping to support related research, such as Burnet’s Optimise Study.
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.