PosterPDF Available

Health communication and prevention in Hispanic communities: An exploratory analysis of Twitter usage

Authors:

Abstract

ABSTRACT Background: Despite extensive research on health communication, few studies have analyzed the importance of using social media for health communication (Thackeray et al. 2012), especially for conveying and sharing health experiences and information (Donelle and Booth, 2012). Twitter, for instance, is an important platform for the promotion of health issues (Chew and Eysenbach, 2010; Curioso et al., 2011). Twitter is mostly used for identifying health treatment options (De Choudhury, Ringel Morrys and White, 2014), encouraging health prevention, especially for sharing knowledge, promoting action among users, and the development of communities (Xu et al. 2015). Objective: The purpose of this work is to analyze how Twitter is used for health prevention and communication in Hispanic communities. Our work fills a gap in the literature of social media and health communication in Hispanic America. Methods: A sample of 3000 tweets that contained the hashtag or keyword prevención (prevention) was examined. A Python code was used to access the Twitter application programming interface (API) and download tweets. Variables taken into account for analysis were: Purpose of the message (information, communication, and mobilization); Type of mobilization (e.g. participate, retweet, awareness); Topic of the message (e.g. public health, nutrition, environmental health); Type of user (e.g. companies, professionals/practitioners, media, NGOs); Type of hashtag (e.g. events, education/prevention, health topics,) and sentimental analysis (e.g. positive, negative or neutral). The intercoder-reliability, using Cohen’s kappa, indicated scores ranging from .90 to .95. Results: Media and local governmental organizations posted more tweets regarding health prevention than any other user. Both practitioners/professionals and citizens accounted for 14% of the prevention tweets coded. This suggests that prevention content posted on Twitter is not sufficiently valuable or interesting in order for Hispanic citizens and professionals to comment and share it with their network. Audience engagement features such as retweets, user mentions/tagging, hashtags, likes, replies, and links help to measure public reaction and they are considered innate features of social media. However, results indicate prevention messages were not designed taking into account these features. This could be an explanation of why few Hispanic citizens and professionals posted and share prevention content on Twitter. The purpose of sending prevention content was mostly informational or one-way communication (70%). Some messages promoted dialogues and conversations and few mobilize users to do something. Mobilization messages were mostly about awareness and for participating in activities. Health messages were primarily about public health (36%), citizen health (21%), and nutrition (20%). These results are aligned with previous studies which found that health information seekers are interested in specific diseases and nutrition (Donelle and Booth, 2012). Hispanic communities were posting and sharing content about specific diseases (e.g. cancer) but they were also concern with citizen health (e.g. discrimination, sexual abuse, and harassment). Future Work: This is an exploratory study in the use of Twitter for health communication in Hispanic communities. Future studies can employ other research techniques, such as virtual ethnography, exploring qualitative and deeper perspectives in the use of Twitter or other social media platforms for health prevention in Hispanic America.
Health communication and prevention in Hispanic communities:
An exploratory analysis of Twitter usage
Lina M. Gómez, PhD (lmgomez@suagm.edu), Alexandra Prieto & Ramón Borges
Universidad del Este, Carolina, Puerto Rico, 00984
Introduction and Background
Little is known about the use of social media for
health communication in Hispanic America.
Our aim is to analyze how Twitter is used for health
communication in Hispanic communities.
RQ1: Which are the health topics most discussed?
RQ2: Are health prevention messages designed to
encourage dialogism and mobilization?
BACKGROUND
Methods
This work was financially supported by MAPFRE
Foundation in Spain.
PURPOSE
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
.
Laranjo, L., Arguel, A., Neves, A.L, Kaplan, R., Mortimer, N., Mendes, G.A., and Lau, A.Y. 2014. The influence
of social networking sites on health behavior change: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of
American Medical Informatics Association, 22(1), 243-256. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/amiajnl-2014-002841
Lovejoy, K. and Saxton, G. 2012. Information, Community, and Action: How Nonprofit Organizations Use
Social Media. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 17(3), 337353. DOI=: 10.1111/j.1083-
6101.2012.01576.x
Paul, M. I., and Dredze, M. 2011. You are what you tweet: Analyzing Twitter for Public Health. In Proceedings of
the Fifth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media.
Shan, L.C., Panagiotopoulos P., Regan Á., De Brún A., Barnett J., Wall P., McConnon Á. 2015. Interactive
communication with the public: qualitative exploration of the use of social media by food and health
organizations. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 47(1), 104-108. DOI= 10.1016/j.jneb.2014.09.00
Xu, W., Chiu, I.H, Chen, Y., Mukherjee, T. 2015. Twitter hashtags for health: applying network and content
analyses to understand the health knowledge sharing in a Twitter-based community of practice. Quality &
Quantity, 49 (4), 1361-1380. DOI=10.1007/s11135-014-0051-
Hispanic social media users are taking a passive
approach regarding health prevention issues. They are
only concern about getting information but not posting
it, sharing with others, or commenting their
experiences regarding different health topics.
Prevention messages were not designed taking into
account audience engagement features, which helps to
measure public reaction.
This study stresses the diverse potential and
functionalities that social media platforms have,
especially Twitter, in contributing to health prevention
and education communication.
CONCLUSIONS
Quantitative content analysis technique
A Python code was used to access the Twitter API and
download tweets from 2015.
Sample of 3000 tweets with the hashtag/keyword
prevención (prevention).
Variables were developed inductively and deductively:
oTweet purpose (Lovejoy & Saxton, 2012)
oTweet topic (WHO health topics)
oLink type
oHashtag type
oSentimental analysis (Berger, 2013)
The inter-coder reliability tests conducted on each
variable indicated scores ranging from 89 to 93%
agreement (Cohen’s kappa).
REFERENCES
Discussion
Conclusions
Key Results
Many public health institutions and organizations in
Hispanic America are using social media for
informational purposes and not for encouraging
dialogue and mobilization.
Health organizations must design prevention
strategies and campaigns that are unique and
interesting, promoting valuable content for users to
pass along (Shan et al. 2015).
Twitter users should include audience engagement
features in health messages so it let others to
discover and share it with their network.
Previous studies have found that Facebook is the
social platform most used for promoting health issues
(Gold et al. 2011; Laranjo et al. 2014; Paul & Drezde,
2011).
Twitter is mostly used for:
Sharing information about personal health.
Identifying health treatment options (De
Choudhury et al. 2014).
Encouraging health prevention, especially for
sharing knowledge.
Promoting mobilization among users and the
development of communities (Xu et al. 2015).
Word cloud of 3000 tweets with the hashtag/keyword
prevención”(prevention)
7% 11%
17%
23%
3%
39%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
Hashtag type
70%
24%
6%
Tweet purpose
Information Communication Mobilization
20%
3%
3%
11%
28%
36%
0% 10% 20% 30% 40%
Others
Lifestyle and nutrition
Occupational health
Environmental health
Healthy cities
Public health
Tweet topic
Media and government posted more tweets regarding
health prevention.
Sixty nine percent of tweets did not included hashtags.
Fifty-five percent of the messages were positive, 38%
negative, and 7% neutral.
Correlations between variables were significant (e.g.
user type with tweet purpose, tweet topic, and
sentimental analysis, p=0.000)
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.