Are Lawmakers still talking about COVID-19 on Twitter? (Part 1)

Coronavirus cases continue to increase in the United States, and as more states pivot towards phases of reopening, data suggests lawmakers have begun to decrease mentions of coronavirus on Twitter.
 
Utilizing a social media listening tool, Signal has been tracking tweets from Members of Congress in their response to COVID-19 on Twitter. This report reflects data from the month of May and seeks to understand how the conversations around COVID-19 have shifted in Washington D.C., and how legislators are engaging on Twitter.
 
Results from the May report demonstrate that in comparison to the previous report period, April 1st- May 1st, there were less mentions of the coronavirus on Twitter from legislators. Despite the increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide over the course of May. According to the CDC COVID Data Tracker, on May 1st, there were 1,092,815 confirmed cases nationwide versus on May 31st there were 1,787,680 confirmed cases nationwide.
 
Throughout the month of May, despite a 63.58% increase in the number of coronavirus cases, Members of Congress and Senators have mentioned “COVID19” OR “COVID-19” OR “COVID” OR “corona” OR “coronavirus” over 13, 534 times on Twitter, this is a decrease of 35% from the previous month.
 
As depicted in the graph below, Twitter mentions of the coronavirus amongst lawmakers steadily decreased week to week. The 30-day high was on May 7th in which there were 778 mentions, and the 30-day low was on May 31st in which there were only 48 mentions.

On average, there are about 451 mentions on Twitter a day of the pandemic from Members of Congress and Senators, which is a decrease of about 36% from the previous month. Towards the end of the month it appears there are fewer mentions of COVID-19 suggesting a shift in the Congressional conversation on Twitter away from coronavirus.


476 lawmakers tweeted about COVID-19, which has garnered almost 3 billion impressions over the course of May. In the previous period (April 1st – May 1st) there were almost 4 billion impressions. The mentions fluctuated over the course of the month, the pattern however indicates mentions remained high throughout the week and significantly dropped each weekend only to spike up again at the onset of the next week.

This graph represents a month to month comparative analysis of mentions of COVID-19 by lawmakers. This exemplifies that the frequency in which Senators and Members are tweeting about COVID-19, so far, peaked in March as legislators navigated this pandemic and corresponding legislation.
 
This illustrates the exponential growth in conversation from February to March, while also demonstrating that over the course of April and May, Senators and Members of Congress have been tweeting about COVID-19 with less frequency.
 
As every state begins to lift stay at home restrictions, and coronavirus cases increase throughout the nation, we will continue to monitor how lawmakers respond on Twitter. It will be interesting to see whether their mentions of COVID-19 will return to levels seen earlier this year or continue to decrease and allow other legislative priorities to dominate the conversation.
 
For more information about how lawmakers are talking about COVID-19 on Twitter, download the full report here: COVID-19 On Twitter.

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