GOLDEN JUBILEE COUNTDOWN: 9 DAYS TO NATIONAL DAY

29m Facebook posts on 50th birthday

People walking in front of an SG50 logo.
People walking in front of an SG50 logo.PHOTO: EPA
Jubilee Baby Chloe Tham and her parents at Gardens by the Bay on July 7, 2015.
Jubilee Baby Chloe Tham and her parents at Gardens by the Bay on July 7, 2015. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

17 million in March alone; the most shared SG50 video recounts Lee Kuan Yew's relationship with his wife

Some 29 million Facebook interactions were made about Singapore's 50th birthday in the first half of the year, the social media giant has revealed to The Straits Times.

Half of the country's 3.4 million Facebook users have liked, shared, posted and commented on the topic of SG50 - whether it be news of the first baby of the anniversary year or the death of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

In what the company describes as a "roller-coaster" year, it reported that there were 30 times as many Facebook conversations in the week following Mr Lee's March 23 death as there were in the previous week. Hashtags such as #RememberingLeeKuanYew were used to pay tribute to Mr Lee, while sharing photos, videos and posts about his passing.

There was a total of 17 million interactions in March alone.

The most shared video relating to SG50 recounted Mr Lee's relationship with his late wife, Madam Kwa Geok Choo. It reached 115,000 shares with more than 2.8 million views and was liked by almost 90,000 users.

SPIRIT OF UNITY

Through the various key milestones which have happened through the year, it's heartening to see that people have risen to it and connected with it in a more positive spirit...

A FACEBOOK SPOKESMAN

But Singapore also celebrated the joyous moments in its jubilee year, such as the outstanding performance of its athletes in the SEA Games with the nation's historic haul of 84 gold medals.

The conversation around the Games peaked during its opening ceremony on June 5, with people rallying online to show their support for Singapore's sports talents.

The birth of Chloe Tham, who was born on the stroke of midnight on Jan 1, also made the rounds online.

A post containing photos of the baby with her parents, Mr Tham Kuan How and Ms Lian Wen Fang, received more than 1,000 likes.

A Facebook spokesman said: "Through the various key milestones which have happened through the year, it's heartening to see that people have risen to it and connected with it in a more positive spirit, through the way they chronicled SG50 on Facebook and Instagram."

Facebook also collected data on words associated with SG50 in posts made on the topic. Some of the most frequently used were "celebrate", "memories", "community", "Singaporean" and "love".

Associate Professor Lim Sun Sun of the National University of Singapore's department of communications and new media said the online chatter showed how the year-long celebrations are "extremely unifying".

"The nation's jubilee is a momentous occasion that transcends ethnicity, creed and other social divisions," she said. "So the SG50 hashtag can and will be liberally used by many in a way that not many hashtags can be."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2015, with the headline '29m Facebook posts on 50th birthday'. Print Edition | Subscribe