Swine flu talk spikes up on Facebook

April 29, 2009

Facebook has been mapping swine flu discussions among its members for the past few days using its Lexicon application, and it’s pretty cool to see how the conversation on Wall posts shot up over the weekend as more and more cases of the disease came to light in the United States.

Lexicon, for those who don’t have to follow Facebook’s every move, is a tool the social networking site uses to follow trends on words and phrases that are being used on “Walls,” the open space on each member’s profile where friends can post comments. Kind of like how you can take the pulse of topics trending up or down in Twitter search.

The chart below, courtesy of Facebook, shows how there were no mentions of the term “swine flu” before the evening of April 23 on any of its 200 million members’ walls, but people start discussing it quite a bit over the next two days, causing a sharp upward spike.

Facebook also mapped the swine flu discussions geographically, showing the percentage of Facebook users mentioning the term on Wall posts in each U.S. state, as well as the U.K. and Canada.

And guess where in the United States swine flu talk was the highest?

Texas, followed by California — two states that share a border with Mexico, where as many as 159 people have died of swine flu. Facebook members in New York, and border states like Vermont, Maine and Washington, were also talking swine flu more than in the interiors of the country. Here’s the map, also courtesy Facebook:

Keep an eye on:

  • Today’s Twitters are often tomorrow’s quitters, according to data that questions the long-term success of the latest social networking sensation. (Reuters)
  • Time Warner posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit (Reuters)
  • Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp posted a quarterly loss, and bought UrbanSpoon.

(Photo: Facebook)

2 comments

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Check out this website http://www.swine-flu-tracker.com/ that tracks the spread of swine flu, it really puts things in perspective.

Posted by namoreing | Report as abusive

Has anyone been tracking the spread of swine flu on this website http://www.swine-flu-tracker.com/? It seems every time I check it the swine flu spreads.

Posted by jussika | Report as abusive