Possible Correlations between Social Media, Search Engines and the Covid-19 Pandemic

Main Article Content

Yuan-Fang Cheng

Abstract

1. Introduction
  Since December 2019, coronavirus has been raging around the world. It can be assumed that most people rely on internet technologies to get or share information about the Covid-19 pandemic. The information spreading can strongly influence people’s behavior and responses to the countermeasures deployed by governments.
2. Objective
  The study investigates the implications of trends in keyword search and possible factors of internet users' preferences regarding pandemic-related information sources.
3. Method
  First, Google Trends was used to analyze the trends in searching Covid-19-related topics. The results from Taiwan, the USA, and worldwide were compared. Current events, updates on confirmed cases, and daily vaccinations were mapped onto the data of searching trends. Second, an online questionnaire was distributed to explore internet users’ behavior of using search engines and social media to receive Covid-related information. Based on the valid responses, factors that arguably contribute to people’s choices of information sources were discussed.
4. Result
  Social media and search engines are people’s main sources of information but used in different conditions. Whether the sources are reliable is concerned. Therefore, people prefer official websites or accounts.
Search trends on Google indicate that the outbreak of Covid-19 raised people’s awareness and that people were in need of masks to protect themselves. The data of daily confirmed cases and daily vaccinations are mostly consistent with the search trends of their related topic. Most major related events and countermeasures by governments reflect on the search trends in each topic. In large-scale area are too many variables influencing the search trends.
5. Conclusion
  Search engines and social media are both used in getting Covid-related information but in different conditions based on their distinct properties. In addition, search trends of pandemic-related topics can in a way reflect people’s responses to the pandemic, current events, and governments’ policies.


 

Article Details

How to Cite
Cheng, Y.-F. (2022) “Possible Correlations between Social Media, Search Engines and the Covid-19 Pandemic”, Journal of Asian Medical Students’ Association. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Available at: https://jamsa.amsa-international.org/index.php/main/article/view/396 (Accessed: 25May2022).
Section
Scientific Posters (AMSA Intl Academic Competition)

References

Covid-19 Dashboard, by NCHC (National Center for High-Performance Computing)

Trends in Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the US Reported to CDC, by State/Territory

A Timeline of COVID-19 Developments in 2020, by AJMC (The American Journal of Managed Care)

A Timeline of COVID-19 Developments in 2021, by AJMC (The American Journal of Managed Care)

WIKIPEDIA: Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic

Cinelli, M., Quattrociocchi, W., Galeazzi, A. et al. The COVID-19 social media infodemic. Sci Rep 10, 16598 (2020)