When do people retweet health agencies’ COVID-19 messages?

New insights could help guide future communication strategies during the pandemic and in similar crises
10-Sep-2020 10:25 AM EDT, by PLOS

Newswise — An analysis of Twitter messages has surfaced certain features of COVID-19-related tweets by public health agencies that were associated with a higher likelihood of the tweets being passed along—“retweeted”—by individual Twitter users. Jeannette Sutton of the University at Albany, New York, and co-investigator Carter T. Butts at the University of California, Irvine, present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on September 16, 2020.

During crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, health agencies disseminate messages that provide guidance and education to the public. Twitter is now a powerful platform for such messages, given its widespread use and potential for amplifying messages via retweets. Understanding what features make health agencies’ tweets about COVID-19 more likely to be retweeted could help inform future communication strategies.

To surface key features, in a research project funded by the National Science Foundation, Sutton and colleagues analyzed tweets about COVID-19 posted by about 700 state and local agencies’ accounts in February through April of 2020, as the pandemic initially unfolded in the U.S. They examined the content and structure of the tweets and used statistical modeling to understand which factors were associated with enhanced or inhibited retweet activity.

The analysis revealed that a wide range of tweets with practical information, including health impacts of COVID-19 and preventive measures, were associated with retweets, rather than any one topic being most successful. Tactics such as using exclamation points or presenting content in the form of a question did not appear to promote retweets—a notable difference from other disasters in which such tactics helped. Tweets that included video attachments were more likely to be retweeted.

In the course of the study, the researchers identified a set of COVID-19-related keywords and phrases commonly used in the examined tweets over time. This could potentially aid future research into crisis communication.

Overall, the new findings could help inform health agencies’ strategies to ensure their messaging is widely disseminated. However, the authors caution, the impact of the features identified in this study could change as the pandemic continues to unfold.

Sutton adds “Modeling message retransmission identifies what Twitter users find most salient across messages in disasters; this means that messages can be designed to include those features, possibly extending their reach in a noisy information environment.”

 

Funding: This work was supported by the National Science Foundation grant number CMMI - 2027399 to JS and CMMI-2027475 CTB. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

 

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

 

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS ONE https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0238491

 

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4147
Newswise: COVID-19 Peer Hub combats vaccine avoidance amid pandemic
Released: 27-Nov-2020 8:05 AM EST
COVID-19 Peer Hub combats vaccine avoidance amid pandemic
University of South Australia

UniSA researchers are evaluating a new vaccination education initiative – the COVID-19 Peer Hub – to help immunisation and public health professionals to tackle the emerging dangers of vaccine hesitancy amid the pandemic.

Newswise: Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19: Your Mental Health
Released: 25-Nov-2020 2:15 PM EST
Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19: Your Mental Health
Cedars-Sinai

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaped more than half a year of our lives, canceling plans, upending livelihoods and causing feelings of grief, stress and anxiety. And Cedars-Sinai mental health experts say the pandemic could be shaping our mental health well into the future.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 12:45 PM EST
SARS-CoV-2 mutations do not appear to increase transmissibility
University College London

None of the mutations currently documented in the SARS-CoV-2 virus appear to increase its transmissibility in humans, according to a study led by UCL researchers.

Newswise: COVID-19 vaccine candidate tested preclinically at UAB nears first clinical test in people
Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
COVID-19 vaccine candidate tested preclinically at UAB nears first clinical test in people
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Maryland-based Altimmune Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, has submitted an Investigational New Drug, or IND, application to the United States Food and Drug Administration to commence a Phase 1 clinical study of its single-dose intranasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AdCOVID.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
BIDMC researchers reveal how genetic variations are linked to COVID-19 disease severity
Beth Israel Lahey Health

New research BIDMC-led sheds light on the genetic risk factors that make individuals more or less susceptible to severe COVID-19.

Newswise: blog-pandemic-scenario-planning-lg-feature2.jpg
Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
Pandemic Ups Game on Scenario Planning in The Arts
Wallace Foundation

Researcher/Author of new toolkit and report seeks to help arts and culture organizations add scenario planning to their strategic toolbox

Released: 25-Nov-2020 10:30 AM EST
Young people's anxiety levels doubled during first COVID-19 lockdown, says study
University of Bristol

The number of young people with anxiety doubled from 13 per cent to 24 per cent, during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown 1, according to new research from the University of Bristol.

Newswise: 249837_web.jpg
Released: 25-Nov-2020 10:20 AM EST
Tracking COVID-19 trends in hard-hit states
Louisiana State University

Currently, there are over 10 million confirmed cases and more than 240,000 casualties attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 9:55 AM EST
More Health Systems Join National #MaskUp Campaign
Cleveland Clinic

Many more health systems are joining the national #MaskUp campaign encouraging Americans to stop the spread of COVID-19 by following safety guidelines. Over just a few days, another 19 health systems with hundreds of hospitals united with 100 health systems nationwide with hospitals numbering in the thousands. The public service campaign is critical to the health and well-being of all Americans. It is a plea from healthcare professionals everywhere: wear a mask and follow other precautions to save lives and help get our country back on its feet.

Newswise: delaterre_jpeg.jpg
Released: 25-Nov-2020 7:35 AM EST
Warwick scientists design model to predict cellular drug targets against Covid-19
University of Warwick

The covid-19 virus, like all viruses relies on their host for reproduction


Showing results

110 of 4147

close
0.96525