Risk Discussion in Twitter

Recently, Twitter has played an important role in creating risk awareness where a time pressure is a significant factor. Harnessing the power of Twitter is recognized by official bodies such as the police, health services and government. Messages pushed out through Twitter have the potential to reach huge audiences creating awareness of issues.

How are risk events amplified or attenuated within the social media Twitter, and how does the Twitter discussion differ depending on the type of risk event?

We have three specific aims which we look to cover in order to answer the research question:

  1. To compare multiple types of risk events to understand whether differences arise in the way in which they are discussed in Twitter.
  2. Conduct a cross-national comparison of the use of Twitter to discuss risk events between the UK and Canada.
  3. To investigate the way in which official bodies are using Twitter, what role it plays in the overall risk communication strategy and to understand how this will be developed in future.

The description above is extracted from the abstract of Emma Comrie’s¬†dissertation proposal. Emma is¬†a PhD candidate at the University of Strathclyde, studying under Dr. Calvin Burns, Dr. Andrea Coulson and Professor John Quigley.

Communicating Health Risks in Social Media

The aim of this research is to investigate the use of social media by both public health agencies and by the public seeking health care information and services. A primary focus of the project will be an environmental scan of social media use by public health agencies in:

  • Canada
  • the United States
  • the United Kingdom
  • Europe
  • and Australia.

The scan will address the policies, practices and institutional arrangements necessary to support the effective use of social media in the health sector.

The project will also address demographic issues related to social media use, the accuracy of health-related discourse on social media, the efficacy of health-related social media communications campaigns, and the opportunities provided by social media for collecting and analyzing public health data.