A Little Birdie Told Me: H1N1 Information and Misinformation Exchange on Twitter
UALR - William H. Bowen School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-03
96 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2011
Date Written: December 4, 2010
Since 1997, computer programmers have worked to develop social networks that make it possible for users to connect with others who share common interests. One of the newest introductions into the world of social networks is Twitter, a micro-blogging site that restricts user posts to 140 characters or less. The worth of the Internet has increased as individual users have realized the value of connecting with other people, changing the perception of the Web from "a one-way broadcasting or publishing medium" to a one that allows individuals to create valued interpersonal networks. Internet-based communication channels can also pass along information to consumers and diffuse data to a group of individuals who are in one’s inner circle. Individuals around the world use Twitter to learn and then share their knowledge with other users. Therefore, the medium stands as a one of the powerful new ways we use the Internet to diffuse information within networks of individuals who are alike in their beliefs. The paper details content themes within the online discussion of H1N1 and parallels between individuals’ use of Twitter and how this use of the medium helped individuals make a decision on whether or not to vaccinate themselves and their families.
Keywords: communication, diffusion of innovation, opinion leader, Twitter, H1N1
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