Social Media Analysis of the Influenza Epidemic

“I have the flu” posts increasing on Twitter and Facebook

Digital technology, including social media analysis, and big data analytics are playing an important role in understanding and responding to this year’s influenza epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is teaming up with Google to use search trends to evaluate the scope of the flu epidemic. By looking at search term trends related to the flu, the CDC is assessing the extent of infection and where the flu is most prevalent.
At Crimson Hexagon, we think that social data can inform the public health conversation as well.
We conducted social media analysis on more than 400,000 posts on Twitter and Facebook about the flu between December 1 and January 10.
More important than the volume, we used Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight™ social media analysis platform to understand what people are saying related to the flu on social media.
Social Media Analysis on the Flu
From December 1 to January 10, we found that personal reports of “I have the flu” represent 42% the social conversation about influenza. Over that time frame, sharing news reports about the flu represent 35% of the conversation.
Social Media Analysis on the Flu
Both of these topics of conversation increase in volume significantly after the New Year, and are still on an increasing trend.
Social Media Analysis on the Flu
In the graph of the volume of posts communicating “I have the flu” on Twitter and Facebook, we see the increasing reports of illness in greater detail.
Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight social media analysis platform enables us to analyze how much of the social conversation has to do with the news about the flu – including sharing tips for avoiding or treating it – and how much includes personal statements of illness due to reported influenza.
We will keep tracking the social media conversation about the flu. The flu season stretches until March, and we will continue to analyze the “I have the flu” trend in particular.
At Crimson Hexagon, we will keep an eye on the conversation surrounding the flu. Let us hear from you on Twitter @crimsonhexagon.
If you’d like to see how to use ForSight for social media analysis to understand social opinion, please request a free demo.

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