Presentation Title

Ebola and Social Media

Location

Nessmith-Lane Atrium

Session Format

Poster Presentation

Research Area Topic:

Public Health & Well Being - Epidemiologic Research

Co-Presenters, Co- Authors, Co-Researchers, Mentors, or Faculty Advisors

Isaac Chun-Hai Fung (Georgia Southern University)

Carmen H. Duke (Georgia Southern University)

Kassandra R. Snook (Georgia Southern University)

Pei-Ling Tseng (Georgia Southern University)

Ana C. Hernandez (Georgia Southern University)

Manoj Gambhir (Monash University)

King-Wa Fu (The University of Hong Kong)

Zion Tsz Ho Tse (The University of Georgia)

Abstract

We were interested in knowing the impact of social media during the 2014-2015 West Africa Ebola epidemic. The aim of this systematic review is to provide clinicians, public health practitioners and policy-makers with a comprehensive overview of the up-to-date literature on Ebola and social media. We critically appraised the quality and utility of these studies, and identified the gaps in our current understanding that invite further research efforts. In particular, we focused on the research questions and the methods of the studies: a) What were the research questions of a given study? b) What study design and research methods were used by the researchers to address those questions? c) What were the strengths and limitations of these methods in addressing the given research questions? We searched six databases (ACM Digital Library, EBSCOhost, LILACS, PubMed, SciELO, and Web of Science) for research articles pertinent to Ebola and social media. We extracted the data using a standardized form, and we evaluated the quality of the included articles using Downs and Black‰Ûªs Checklist and/or the CASP Qualitative Research Checklist. A total of eleven articles were included in the main analysis: seven on Twitter with one also including Weibo, three on YouTube, and one on Instagram and Flickr. All the studies were cross-sectional. Studies on Twitter varied greatly on the research questions and the methods used. Ten of the eleven articles studied one or more of these three elements of social media and their relationships: (a) Themes or topics of social media contents, (b) Meta-data of social media posts (such as frequency of original posts and re-posts, and impressions) and (c) Characteristics of the social media accounts that made these posts (such as whether they are individuals or institutions). One paper studied how external information (news videos) influenced Twitter traffic. Content analysis methods included text mining (n=3) and manual coding (n=1). Two studies involved mathematical modeling. All three YouTube studies and the Instagram/Flickr study used manual coding of videos and images respectively. Published Ebola-related social media research focused on Twitter and YouTube. Researchers explored different research questions and methods, but their study design was limited to cross-sectional study. These studies suggest that a variety of methods, both quantitative and qualitative, may help improve public health communication surveillance. Public health agencies can incorporate these methods into their routine practice during emergency response (if resources permit) to enhance their performance. Social media should be considered part and parcel of a holistic health/risk communication strategy that also includes engagement with traditional mass media. The utility of social media research to public health practitioners is warranted but further research is needed

Keywords

Ebola, Social media, Meta-data, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-16-2016 10:45 AM

End Date

4-16-2016 12:00 PM

Included in

Epidemiology Commons

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Apr 16th, 10:45 AM Apr 16th, 12:00 PM

Ebola and Social Media

Nessmith-Lane Atrium

We were interested in knowing the impact of social media during the 2014-2015 West Africa Ebola epidemic. The aim of this systematic review is to provide clinicians, public health practitioners and policy-makers with a comprehensive overview of the up-to-date literature on Ebola and social media. We critically appraised the quality and utility of these studies, and identified the gaps in our current understanding that invite further research efforts. In particular, we focused on the research questions and the methods of the studies: a) What were the research questions of a given study? b) What study design and research methods were used by the researchers to address those questions? c) What were the strengths and limitations of these methods in addressing the given research questions? We searched six databases (ACM Digital Library, EBSCOhost, LILACS, PubMed, SciELO, and Web of Science) for research articles pertinent to Ebola and social media. We extracted the data using a standardized form, and we evaluated the quality of the included articles using Downs and Black‰Ûªs Checklist and/or the CASP Qualitative Research Checklist. A total of eleven articles were included in the main analysis: seven on Twitter with one also including Weibo, three on YouTube, and one on Instagram and Flickr. All the studies were cross-sectional. Studies on Twitter varied greatly on the research questions and the methods used. Ten of the eleven articles studied one or more of these three elements of social media and their relationships: (a) Themes or topics of social media contents, (b) Meta-data of social media posts (such as frequency of original posts and re-posts, and impressions) and (c) Characteristics of the social media accounts that made these posts (such as whether they are individuals or institutions). One paper studied how external information (news videos) influenced Twitter traffic. Content analysis methods included text mining (n=3) and manual coding (n=1). Two studies involved mathematical modeling. All three YouTube studies and the Instagram/Flickr study used manual coding of videos and images respectively. Published Ebola-related social media research focused on Twitter and YouTube. Researchers explored different research questions and methods, but their study design was limited to cross-sectional study. These studies suggest that a variety of methods, both quantitative and qualitative, may help improve public health communication surveillance. Public health agencies can incorporate these methods into their routine practice during emergency response (if resources permit) to enhance their performance. Social media should be considered part and parcel of a holistic health/risk communication strategy that also includes engagement with traditional mass media. The utility of social media research to public health practitioners is warranted but further research is needed