Analyzing digital content and online discussions to identify trends

Faculty Research

Modul professor Arno Scharl, head of the Department of New Media Technology, and project coordinator Lyndon Nixon continue to monitor and analyse the Corona Mood Barometer - a web-based tool that helps to understand what drives the public debate and how government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are perceived by society across various countries. Aggregating digital content streams from websites and social media channels, the Corona Mood Barometer uses automatic story detection and emotion analysis techniques to identify the latest trends. In this way, emotions and opinions expressed online can be visualized and evaluated.


Leading vaccine candidates have progressed through clinical phases at record speed. Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca recently announced promising results from their phase 3 trials. The results show efficacy rates of more than 90% for both mRNA vaccines, and about 70% for the adenovirus-based vaccine of AstraZeneca. The news has accelerated efforts to win the race for the first vaccine rollout. The analysis shows how this has shifted global media attention. Journalists now focus on the authorization process, availability forecasts and fair distribution strategies. Differences in the required refrigeration temperature (Moderna at -20°C vs. Pfizer/ BioNTech at -70°C), for example, triggered online discussions that the lack of suitable containers might slow down the distribution.

Referring to the barometer's tag cloud, it's also interesting to observe how the public debate has shifted to the rollout phase of the vaccine, as in several countries it is perceived as happening too slowly. In this context, different temperature requirements of the vaccines are being discussed in public, as well as whether the vaccines are effective in regard to the new and apparently more contagious "UK variant" of the virus, dubbed B.1.1.7.

See the shift in attention in this animated visualization of the Corona Mood Barometer since November 2020. The following video shows the evolution of media coverage since early November, highlighting the significant global impact of the recent announcements on the public debate. You can see the changing tag cloud, the share of coverage by company (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca), the story graph/timeline and a geographical heat map. 

Watch video: Corona Mood Barometer

If you are interested in this project or want to learn more about monitoring public debates, contact

Mr. Scharl and Mr. Nixon are teaching and mentoring in the following study programs:

International Management (BSc)

International Marketing (BSc)

Digital Marketing (MSc)