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Attack of the Flu

If your office is anything like ours, you will have noticed a serious lack of employees over the past weeks. For that matter, you have likely dealt with the last minute cancellations from friends and family and witnessed the growing number of masks in medical waiting rooms. Also, you are probably not under a rock: the flu is here.

Although it is a common occurrence for this season, this year’s virus is a harsh strain, sweeping through the country and even escalating into a state of emergency  in some areas. With fevers and death tolls rising, it is a topic that is hard to avoid online: related opinions and statuses are everywhere from Facebook streams to Twitter feeds to health forums, blogs, and more. To take a wider look at the size of this discussion, I set up a flu search on Visible‘s social media monitoring platform, Visible Intelligence®.

Over the past month, online conversation about the flu has steadily risen—reaching a high on January 10—and is still going strong. The January 10th high came the day after Boston declared a State of Emergency, and may be a result of the news  circulating.

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Flu conversation volume, December 20-January 13

Top terms when people were discussing the flu on social networks related to symptoms, healthcare, and the notorious flu shot:

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Prominent terms when discussing Flu

Stay tuned for Part II, when we will dive into some of these topics and look at sentiment and opinion around a very charged topic: the vaccine.

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