a little birdie told me

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What the H1N1 Outbreak Taught Us About Twitter


  • 1. A Little Birdie Told Me
    What the H1N1 Outbreak Taught
    Us About Using Twitter
    Tonya Oaks Smith
    13 June 2011

2. Lets get it started and get the worm
Who am I and why do you care?
Who are you? I do care
What are we talking about today?
3. 4. @marleysmom @ a glance
Director of Communications at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law
Co-chair for #hewebAR
Co-chair of the HighEdWeb regional support committee
Earned masters degree in applied communication studies in 2010
5. Who are you?
6. On the agenda today
7. The background
Why Twitter?
Presence is more and more prevalent use in Iran, Hudson River crash, H1N1
65 MM Tweets per day from millions of users
Why H1N1?
Health catastrophe that was anticipated
Other communication vehicles used in preparation for outbreak
Right place, right time
8. The theory
Diffusion of Innovation
Ev Rogers communication researcher and supreme networker
The way a new idea is shared through both interpersonal channels and mass media
Begun as way to chart spread of information about and adoption of crop innovations in Iowa
Now theory is used as way to share health information on a broad scale HIV, malaria, STDs
9. The theory
10. 11. The research
Over 300,000 tweets used one of three terms (H1N1, swineflu or swine flu) during the height of the outbreak spring to fall 2009
Isolated tweets for three key dates in the outbreak April 25, Sept. 4, Oct. 24, 2009 = 15,000 tweets

  • Detailed reading of 5,000 tweets for content analysis

12. Later survey of Twitter users for in-depth information about follow-through on vaccinations