What do people talk about on World Aids Day? Part II

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This past Thursday, December 1, was World Aids Day – one of the most recognised international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, show support for people living with HIV, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

On the occasion of Word AIDS day, in our previous post, we and our research partners from analytics company Crimson Hexagon looked back and analyzed what World AIDS Day 2010 looked like in the Twitterverse, in both the US and Indonesia. But what is most interesting about Twitter is that it is real-time: so here we are, just a few days later, able to show a bit about what World AIDS Day 2011 looked like by comparison.

In the US the number of tweets related to World AIDS Day and HIV increased from around 50,000 last year to 55,000 this year, a growth of 10% (see Figure 1). The themes people discussed remained largely the same as last year, with the theme of “safe practices” being the most discussed. When we analyzed the global messaging contained in all the tweets both in 2010 and 2011, the concepts of living with HIV, HIV awareness, HIV status and HIV infected dominated the conversation.


What do people talk about on World Aids Day? Part II 1

In Indonesia, the Twitterverse was much more active on the 1st December of this year as compared to last year (see FIgure 2): with a growth greater than 250%. Tweets in Bahasa and Javanese passed from 9,000 to almost 24,000 (more than 1000 tweets per hour).


What do people talk about on World Aids Day? Part II 2

When looking to the subject of the conversations, discussions that fall into the generic category of “Community Information” — those that are about general awareness of the issue — were again the main topic of discussion. We also noticed, however, a very important 5% growth in discussions around testing and counseling, and a 5% decrease in the Community Information category. When taken together with the overall increase in the volume of HIV-related tweets, this shift may suggest that there has been an increase public awareness about more specific issues related to testing and counseling.

In Figure 3, we show the evolution of the proportion of tweets related to testing and counseling over the last year (from 1st January until the 30th November). In fact, the graph shows that the proportion of tweets related to testing has been growing continuously, and this proportion is bigger even than the one found on World AIDS Day. In other words, proportionally, people tweet even more about testing and counseling on a “normal day” than on the World AIDS Day.


What do people talk about on World Aids Day? Part II 3

Interestingly, we found that around 1,200 tweets (5% of the total) in Bahasa or Javanese were generated in countries other than Indonesia. The diaspora is participating in the conversation. In Figure 4 we show a map revealing which countries had at least one tweet in Bahasa or Javanese about HIV on the 1st of Decemeber 2011.

FIG.4- COUNTRIES TWEETING ABOUT HIV IN BAHASA OR JAVANESE ON 1 DEC 2011What do people talk about on World Aids Day? Part II 4

As we emphasized in the previous post, going forward, we believe Twitter analytics could be used to track the reach and effectiveness of development policies and programs – particularly those related to advocacy or awareness. While the demographic spread in social media communications is still uneven – and certainly biased towards youth, it is time to start thinking about methodologies for measuring impact in the online space, and the equivalent impact in the off-line world.

In the near future, we hope to conduct more research into the Indonesian Twitterverse in collaboration with the Indonesian Government and UN agencies through Pulse Lab Jakarta.

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