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Online humour easing tensions around the Kingdom, report shows

By Maram Kayed - Mar 22,2020 - Last updated at Mar 22,2020

AMMAN — “Jokes and humour” are the prevailing theme of citizens’ social media content these days, according to a recent report monitoring and tracking online posts by Jordanians since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the Kingdom.

The report, conducted by IPSOS, tracked a total of around 109,300 posts from March 2 until March 18 and used a social intelligence and analytics application to analyze around 31,700 organic public conversations.

This analysis uncovered that 28 per cent of online content pointed to “Jordanians easing tensions by spreading humour in order to remain positive throughout this difficult time”.

However, as the situation has grown more serious both in the Kingdom and around the world, “Jordanians have acknowledged that this is a big issue that requires full attention... not only did the number of jokes decrease, but people were criticising such posts as tactless,” stated the report.

In the first phase — from March 2 when the first coronavirus case was confirmed in the Kingdom until March 13 — Jordanians created around 58,300 posts on social media platforms.

From March 14 until March 16, when the number of cases increased sharply and schools and universities were shut down, the number of posts stood at around 33,800.

After the Kingdom went into house quarantine and movement between governorates was prohibited, the total number of posts stood at around 17,100 between March 17 and March 18.

Right behind humour and jokes, the topic most discussed by Jordanian citizens was the government, accounting for 18 per cent of overall online content.

“Even with all the updates the government was providing, some citizens were still suspicious of the figures being shared about the number of cases and asked the government to take immediate action. Yet, once the government imposed several measures to contain the situation, people took to social media to show their gratitude,” the report said.


With information-sharing at 16 per cent of online content posted by Jordanians, the report found that citizens have focused on sharing news headlines and information regarding proper precautionary measures.


“Some were also imploring others to act responsibly and stressing that as citizens, they have a duty towards their country,” noted the report.


At 13 per cent, “bigger issues” were also featured in citizens’ posts. Before confirmed cases of COVID-19 began to be reported, citizens argued that there were “certain topics that were of a higher priority and concern, such as poverty and the high cost of living”.


However, the report found that “many criticised others who were not taking the situation

seriously and not adhering to the safety measures that the government put into place”.


This was especially apparent after news circulated online about a wedding in Irbid which led to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the governorate, it added.


Prayer, societal behaviour and the quarantine were also among the topics discussed by citizens.


The report concluded that, although the public initially displayed a lack of trust in the government’s efforts to combat COVID-19, they “started commending the government and are showing pride in being Jordanian and in the country as a whole”.


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