High Tech Tweets

The Covid-19 outbreak has not just upskilled legions of Brits but dramatically advanced their adoption of tech in the home according to the analysis of more than 12 million words on Twitter.

Since March, conversations relating to Peloton bikes have increased 44%, Netflix by 23% and posts about the new video must-have, ring-lights, have surged by a whopping 109% as people turn to video conferencing to work, socialise and date.

The study by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) looked at tweets posted across the UK over the last 12 months to better understand the frequency with which people are talking about technology and their attitudes towards it.

There were 22 times more tweets about Zoom chats in November compared with the same period last year and 27 times more tweets about Zoom meetings. The platform has also seen phrases relating to video calls soar, marking the inception of terms like ‘on mute’ (a 95% increase vs. pre lockdown) and ‘share my screen’ (a 598% increase). Posts about virtual dating are up 358 fold since the outbreak, with conversation peaking on the 2nd of April.

However, some technologies were shortlived. Virtual quizzes peaked on the 1st May but mentions had dropped by over 150% by August. Tweets about Houseparty followed a similar curve, peaking on the 29th March but conversation tailed from April and failed to gain traction during the second national lockdown.

Proving the pandemic has transformed the payment landscape, conversations relating to cash being ‘dirty’ increased 11.3 times in the first lockdown and there were more 2.9 times more posts about contactless in March compared to pre-lockdown.

Back in March, the topic of the family was also prevalent with two times more tweets about tech helping to connect friends and family than in the second lockdown. In addition, there were 2.5 times more posts that used the word savvy or upskilling in relation to tech, many of which referenced parents or older generations. Overall, positive sentiment has prevailed, with a 9% increase in conversations relating to trust in tech post lockdown.

IET spokesperson and founder of Limina Immersive, Catherine Allen, said: “This research shows that amidst a backdrop of an incredibly challenging year, many have turned to tech as a way to spend time with loved ones, to learn, exercise and play. Software and hardware that previously felt a bit strange and niche has become mainstream very quickly.

“It is said that necessity is the mother of invention, but here we can see it's also the mother of adoption too!

“In 2021 it will be fascinating to see the impact of so much new technology being fast-tracked into the mainstream and to see how consumer attitudes towards emerging tech continue to evolve. I am personally excited to see if there is a subsequent rise in people now considering a career in the technology sector."


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Notes to editors

The study was conducted by Relative Insight on behalf of the IET. More than 12 million words of more than 500,000 tweets were analysed between November 2019 and November 2020 to better understand people’s attitude to, and adoption of, technology during this period.

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