Social media flashbacks: Reminder of the good times

September 27, 2020 12:30 AM

To give netizens some succour in these trying times, social media sites are providing them nostalgic flashbacks to help them relive the good old days

As per the study, themes such as animals, celebration, celebrity content, good deeds, family, food, humour, nostalgia, romance and sports drove joyful conversations on Twitter in 2019.As per the study, themes such as animals, celebration, celebrity content, good deeds, family, food, humour, nostalgia, romance and sports drove joyful conversations on Twitter in 2019.

By Shriya Roy

It’s been a while since conversations and events around the world moved online. The Covid-19 pandemic, with its stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines, further intensified the process. It’s no wonder then that in this new normal, where things are constantly changing and evolving, social media has seen a boom, especially in terms of conversations. The new normal has also led to nostalgia for the past, especially pre-Covid times when things were simpler and happier.

It’s through these conversations of the past that social media giant Twitter is attempting to bring back some joy and hope in the life of netizens. It is giving users a flashback of 2019, specifically what they most talked about before things took a complete 360-degree turn. Through the “Conversation Replay” feature, Twitter is revealing what brought “joy” to people across the country in 2019.

In a study conducted by Twitter India and Quilt.Ai, 8.50 lakh tweets across 22 cities in India were analysed during the period of September to November last year. Twitter calls this ‘conversation replay’ and it’s meant to show all the ‘joyful’ conversations that people had on Twitter last year.

As per the study, themes such as animals, celebration, celebrity content, good deeds, family, food, humour, nostalgia, romance and sports drove joyful conversations on Twitter in 2019. The social media giant says Indians have always taken to Twitter to share anecdotes and experiences of their day-to-day lives.

According to the report, southern cities like Ernakulam, Hyderabad and Chennai led conversations across themes of sports, food, celebration, celebrity content and humour. While Ludhiana topped the charts in conversations on romance, Raipur led conversations around animals. Bhubaneswar had the most conversations around family and doing good deeds, whereas Mumbai led conversations on nostalgia.

“Our research has found that Indians on Twitter love to talk about topics that bring them joy, and there is a diverse range of these topics that one can see emerging from different parts of the country, from food and family to celebration and celebrity content, and much more. With Conversation Replay, we hope to delight people with a throwback to the unique, happy and joyful moments that they tweeted about in 2019,” Martyn Uren, the head of research at Twitter, said.

The study was conducted by Quilt.ai using advanced machine learning. First, the representation of “joy” on Twitter was manually checked in both text and image forms across the 22 shortlisted cities. The study then categorised all the themes into unique categories followed by curating data (both images and textual) for the AI model training. The AI models were then applied on the ‘download Twitter dataset’ from October 2019 till December 2019. This gave the distribution of how ‘joy’ was represented differently in all cities through text and imagery on Twitter.

“Twitter is a modern public square where diverse voices discuss their views on topics that interest them. Last year, people were revelling in the many joys of life. With Conversation Replay, we intend to throwback to those vibrant conversations across varied themes of joy from diverse parts of India. Sharing these conversations is our way of giving Indians a moment of happiness and reminding them that little pleasures lead to joy,” says Manish Maheshwari, managing director, Twitter India.

Digging memories, however, is not something new on social media. Facebook’s memory option has been around for a while now. Facebook memories let users see and share their past Facebook posts, posts they were tagged in, anniversaries, etc, through a simple notification. Instagram, too, has a memory feature that lets viewers share their pictures from the past.

With the help of tech, these social media giants have definitely struck the right chord with their audience. After all, who wouldn’t like looking back at the good old days, especially in these trying times?

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