Online Program

“Elite users” on Twitter: Examining key features for crafting future HPV vaccination communication campaigns

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Philip Massey, PhD, MPH, Department of Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Amy Leader, DrPH, MPH, Department of Medical Oncology, Division of Population Science, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
Alan Black, College of Computing and Informatics, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Alexandra Budenz, MA, DrPH(c), School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Kara Fisher, MPH, School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Elizabeth DeArmas, Jefferson School of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
Ann C. Klassen, PhD, Department of Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Background: Growing evidence using social media for public health research and practice, coupled with the composition of Twitter users, supports the extension of this research into the area of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.

Methodology: Using data mining software, we collected 185,644 unique tweets between August 1, 2014 and October 31, 2014 that contained at least one of 13 keywords related to HPV vaccination. We randomly selected 10,000 tweets to examine key features utilized by “elite users”, defined as the top 10% of users in terms of followers. In our sample, this was defined by having 4,508 or more followers. After dichotomizing users as elite vs. not, chi-square analysis was used to examine variations in use of specific Twitter functions used to strengthen social communication, including the hashtag (#), at sign (@), and retweet (RT). 

Results: TIME Magazine was the top elite user to tweet about HPV with 6,304,119 followers, followed by G1 Brazilian News (3,339,280) and Ultimas Noticias Venezuelan News (2,254,743). Compared to non-elite users, elite users were less likely to use RT and @ (p<0.001), but more likely to use # in their tweets (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Elite users are not likely to participate in interpersonal communication using RT and @ features, but widely use the # feature, likely to create trends or contribute to popular dialogue. As HPV vaccination campaigns continue to utilize social media platforms, using the # feature may be more effective to connect with elite users and consequently may lead to a wider reach of message.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Define "elite users" on the social media platform, Twitter. Describe key Twitter features used to strengthen social communication. Explain the use of key social features to disseminate HPV vaccine messaging.

Keyword(s): Social Media, Cancer Prevention and Screening

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As an Assistant Professor at Drexel University School of Public Health, I am qualified to be an author of this abstract as I have expert research experience in health communication and new media health research.
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.