By. Lucy Dunn, Andrew Noll, Claire Toner, and Jake Zeidman
For the social listening assignment, we decided to research the trends surrounding the cruise ship coronavirus outbreak, specifically pertaining to U.S. citizens onboard. To do this, we searched “coronavirus” and further segmented this by including “American cruise ship” and excluding “China.” The coronavirus has been a recurring trend since its first emergence in Wuhan, China. Over the past few weeks, it has gained significant media traction, especially on Twitter.
Most Recent Activity
We set the search for the past seven days and saw a drastic increase in twitter activity surrounding this subject on February 17th, 2020 at 5 p.m. EST. Through research, we determined that this spike occurred at the exact time it was announced to the public that the Americans onboard the British-owned cruise ship Diamond Princess were being evacuated and sent back to the United States to undergo further testing and a fourteen day quarantine by the Washington Post rg. Post authors, Anna Fifield, Alex Horton, and Abha Bhattarai, released the article around 5 p.m. which was later updated with more information at 7:54 p.m. The release of this article stirred lots of activity on Twitter but also answered many user’s questions and concerns. This announcement came one day after the release of information that the British-owned cruise had been detained in Japan with a rapidly-growing coronavirus count on its passengers. Both Japanese officials and the Diamond Princess cruise ship line were heavily criticized for the role they played in managing the virus onboard, attracting lots of media attention.
Most Retweeted Tweet
According to Sysomos, the most retweeted tweet surrounding this trend came from Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, an author, and New York Times best seller, who had quoted the initial Washington Post article with his own brief summarization of what the article discusses, “Fourteen American cruise ship passengers with coronavirus evacuated to U.S.” His tweet received 227 retweets and 380 favorites and likely received this popularity because it was among the first tweets from legitimate sources surrounding the announcement.
Fourteen American cruise ship passengers with coronavirus among those evacuated to U.S. https://t.co/qyAKwQodN5
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) February 17, 2020
A large percent of the activity is coming from the US. There was more than 80% activity from within the United States. People could have been concerned about family members, relatives, stock markets involving the ship and many other possibilities. There was also minimal global interaction from other countries such as Canada, the U.K., and Australia. That activity was all less than 5% probably because we chose to exclude China from our search.
The word cloud highlights the most tweeted terms surrounding the coronavirus and American cruise ship trend. Terms included in this chart, like “positive coronavirus” and “passengers tested positive” show that users’ top concerns involved infected passengers returning to the U.S., likely due to fear of an outbreak in the United States. “Military bases in California and Texas” is also repeated in varying ways because that is where the infected and returning passengers were, and still are, receiving medical treatment and staying in quarantine.
The Buzz graph shows the various connections between the main terms that are connected to this newsworthy trend. At the top, the obvious term is the coronavirus, then some of the direct correlation to the virus includes ship passengers, cruise, cruise ship, and American cruise. The subterms include positive, tested and quarantined. All of these terms and connections have been highlighted in all of the article titles and tweets that have been correlated to this trend. When speaking specifically about the cruise ship itself, the most related terms were the passengers, tested and quarantined. All of the terms are in fact connected in some way, none of the terms were surprising, all of them were pretty much what was expected for this trend. None of the terms that were out of the blue, all of them stuck within the theme of the trend.
What we learned, is that it is clear that the coronavirus has been a recurring trend since its first emergence in Wuhan, China. Over the past few weeks, it has gained significant media traction, especially in regards to Americans on cruise ships in China. It will be interesting to watch if it will continue trending over the next few weeks as the corona virus continues to spread.