Covid-19 Phase 1

by Vibhu Bhan

Covid-19: Twitter Sentiment Mapping (Phase 1 of 2)

talkAItive tracked the chatter on Twitter to detect emerging topics and the sentiment associated with each. Overall, we saw concerns around food security begin to ease, and health-related issues come to the forefront with sentiment scores indicating that this is an area of interest.

Twitter Sentiment & Emotional Analysis

Beginning on March 18, 2020, talkAItive began monitoring Twitter to identify and understand key topics and associated sentiments associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. By scanning for "behaviour change" broadly, the analysis began to reveal what problems and issues were prevalent, what their associated sentiment scores were and, over time, whether they were gaining or losing steam on Twitter. Presented below is the first report of this scan. In addition to the high-level summary of prevailing sentiments, locations and associated emotions, we have begun to discern notable trends and changes despite the relatively short timeframe to date. In keeping with the fact that increased amounts of data make our AI-based platform stronger, we anticipate seeing a range of issues rise and fall as the event unfolds. Below is a summary of the findings to date.

"behaviour change" Engagement by Sentiment, Emotion & Location

Fig. 1: Engagement by Sentiment, Emotion & Location

Keyword Asset created for: "behaviour change"

Time Periods:
Period 1: March 18, 2020 - March 24, 2020
Period 2: March 25, 2020 - March 31, 2020
Period 3: April 1, 2020 - April 7, 2020
Period 4: April 8, 2020 - April 14, 2020
Period 5: April 15, 2020 - April 21, 2020

Last Updated:
April 21, 2020

Number of chatter points:

Sustained Trends for "behaviour change"

Fig. 2: Sustained Trends, Time Periods 1-5


For a relatively short timeframe (approx. one month), we saw a spike around topics related to food and food security. As such, we detected notable volumes of engagement metrics (a summation of mentions, likes and retweets) around keywords such as; delivery, food, and pantry. Though the average sentiment scores were generally positive - thereby indicating a positive sentiment related to the topics, we have seen these keywords begin to decrease for the analysis timeframe. This phenomenon is not unusual and is not unlike the general behaviours observed wherein initial fears drove concerns about food access, hoarding and pantry loading.

Looking ahead, we anticipate that the topics will not subside entirely as supply chain concerns begin to become apparent. In the coming weeks, we are particularly interested in the sentiment scores for the areas noted above as the pandemic continues to impact food-related matters. The implications for all aspects of the food supply, QSR’s, FMGC producers, food retailers and more, could be significant.

New & Notable Keywords for "behaviour change"

New & Notable: Recent New Keywords & Associated Sentiment


Looking more closely at the most recent periods, we have detected the rise of essential keywords and related sentiments associated with health and wellness. During this analysis period, as the ‘temperature’ of longer-running issues related to food begins to decline, we have seen several keywords emerge with strong negative sentiment scores. Though they have just developed and are to be seen as notable but not yet trends, they hint at possible changes in the mindset of the Twitterverse. Words related to addiction such as drugs, cigarettes, overdose and alcohol, and a similar appearance of terms about lungs, liver, disease and others hint at a rise in people’s growing awareness of and concern about health-related matters. These keywords are entirely new and warrant close monitoring. Similarly, we are seeing keywords arising that allude to deeper issues that could be developing, such as suicide and divorce.

As an interesting side note, China returned to the list after a short absence, accompanied by a strong negative sentiment score. This appearance also warrants close monitoring as it raises more questions about the virus and the concurrent attempts to ascertain who bears responsibility.

In the coming weeks, talkAItive will continue to analyze Twitter - both to keep tabs on the overall topics/keywords but also to see if these recently emergent topics gather momentum or drop away.