Online Program

Content analysis of a crowdsourced social media platform about alcohol law and policy enforcement: Using qualitative software to achieve quantitative results

Monday, November 2, 2015

Danielle Gentile, PhD(c), Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
S. Melinda Spencer, PhD, MA, Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
background:As part of a larger study on the influence of crowdsourced social media on perceived risk for alcohol-related consequences, the objectives of the current study were to: 1) analyze the information delivered to users; 2) identify which types of information were relayed to others; and 3) determine usage patterns of this platform.

methods: Analyses were conducted on a crowdsourced social media platform (32,800 followers) that focuses on the area surrounding a large, public university in the Southeastern U.S. An open-coding approach to categorizing tweets and retweets relayed across 12 months (N=855 tweets) was conducted using qualitative analysis software. The software’s web browser add-on was employed to quickly upload and quantify tweets. Frequencies of each category were compiled into word clouds, which are graphical representations of information based on word frequency.

results: Categories of information most frequently tweeted by the platform included: police and emergency personnel presence, traffic updates, and speed enforcement locations. The majority of information concerned off-campus locations, and the most retweeted messages were safety alerts. The highest activity occurred on Fridays and Saturdays, with a clear decrease during months when students were not enrolled in classes.

conclusions: While the platform provides information on alcohol-related law enforcement, practical information about safety and traffic patterns were more strongly represented. Results of the current analysis showed that students were clearly interested in information about off-campus areas, indicating that universities should expand their social media coverage to include areas where students live and work, particularly when delivering safety alerts.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how qualitative analysis software can be used to facilitate social media analysis Identify usage and content patterns of a particular crowdsourced social media platform popular with college students

Keyword(s): Social Media, Data Collection and Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of the current work, which is part of my dissertation in pursuit of a doctoral degree in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. I conceptualized and executed the current work. I have eight years of experience in substance abuse prevention and health promotion on college campuses. My research focuses on prevention of high-risk alcohol use in college populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.