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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
This article presents the results of the authors’ media-analysis study of social media in central federal cities – Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sevastopol – on search queries such as “coronavirus”, “covid 19”, “sitting at home” and “stay at home” which came up during the first three weeks of self-isolation – from March 23rd to April 12th 2020. This allowed for analyzing trends in social media threads that emerged due to the lockdown and the epidemiological crisis, and for understanding the specifics of how a certain response to common threats and challenges was formulated in regional online-communities.
The cybermetric analysis of social media conducted by the authors, using a big data mining system for monitoring and analyzing social networks called “Medialogiya”, allowed for tracking the develpment of media and communication trends associated with an ambiguous evaluation on behalf of internet users of the situation with the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown, as well as the emergence of new digital forms of interaction used by individuals in their day to day affairs. The study was carried out within the framework of a project called “Developing methods of agent modeling and big data for analyzing social media in post-conflict societies”. The research group defines the information attained from “Medialogiya’s” system as “big sociological data”, which allows for analyzing interactions between human beings and information, as well as their behavior in the internet.
The research results prove the development of regional specifics when discussing the pandemic and the issues associated with the ensuing lockdown experienced by internet users from Moscow and Sevastopol, which speaks to the emergence of a sort of regional solidarity in the face of this new threat and the challenges it poses. Sevastopol’s segment of the internet displayed not only regional, but also “peninsula” solidarity.
New conditions of everyday life brought us to view the new viral infection as a socio-political phenomenon, which in turn creates the grounds for new forms of consolidation within society, caused by various reactions to the crisis. One of the tasks currently faced by social sciences would be developing scenarios and outlines to explain the phenomenon in question.
sociology, social media, big data, coronavirus, self-isolation, digital environment, digital action
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