#CDCGrandRounds and #VitalSigns: A Twitter Analysis
Annals of Global Health
Background: The CDC hosts monthly panel presentations titled ‘Public Health Grand Rounds’ and publishes monthly reports known as Vital Signs. Hashtags #CDCGrandRounds and #VitalSigns were used to promote them on Twitter.
Objectives: This study quantified the effect of hashtag count, mention count, and URL count and attaching visual cues to #CDCGrandRounds or #VitalSigns tweets on their retweet frequency.
Methods: Through Twitter Search Application Programming Interface, original tweets containing the hashtag #CDCGrandRounds (n = 6,966; April 21, 2011–October 25, 2016) and the hashtag #VitalSigns (n = 15,015; March 19, 2013–October 31, 2016) were retrieved respectively. Negative binomial regression models were applied to each corpus to estimate the associations between retweet frequency and three predictors (hashtag count, mention count, and URL link count). Each corpus was sub-set into cycles (#CDCGrandRounds: n = 58, #VitalSigns: n = 42). We manually coded the 30 tweets with the highest number of retweets for each cycle, whether it contained visual cues (images or videos). Univariable negative binomial regression models were applied to compute the prevalence ratio (PR) of retweet frequency for each cycle, between tweets with and without visual cues.
Findings: URL links increased retweet frequency in both corpora; effects of hashtag count and mention count differed between the two corpora. Of the 58 #CDCGrandRounds cycles, 29 were found to have statistically significantly different retweet frequencies between tweets with and without visual cues. Of these 29 cycles, one had a PR estimate < 1; twenty-four, PR > 1 but < 3; and four, PR > 3. Of the 42 #VitalSigns cycles, 19 were statistically significant. Of these 19 cycles, six were PR > 1 and < 3; and thirteen, PR > 3.
Conclusions: The increase of retweet frequency through attaching visual cues varied across cycles for original tweets with #CDCGrandRounds and #VitalSigns. Future research is needed to determine the optimal choice of visual cues to maximize the influence of public health tweets.
Jackson, Ashley M., Lindsay Mullican, Jingjing Yin, Zion Tsz-Ho Tse, Hai Liang, King-Wa Fu, Jennifer Ahweyevu, Jimmy J. Jenkins III, Nitin Saroha, Isaac Chun-Hai Fung.
"#CDCGrandRounds and #VitalSigns: A Twitter Analysis."
Annals of Global Health, 84 (4): 710-716.