A Little Birdie Told Me - #heweb11 #soc9


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Updated presentation on Twitter use during H1N1 outbreak. From thesis of the same name. Presented during the Higher Ed Web Professionals conference in 2011.

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  • Open: Who in here has bought a car in the past year? How did you make the decision to buy? Were you conflicted beforehand? How about afterwards? How did you feel?That’s exactly what we’ll be talking today? The decision to buy – or implement the use of – something new.
  • Bowen – one of two Arkansas law schools. It is located in the capital city, focused on teaching professionalism, public service, and access to justice to our 500 students. Prior to this position managing all the communication elements for the college, I was a public relations coordinator for UALR. Serves 13000 students.This presentation is the result of my research to complete my master’s degree requirements. I’m proud of it, mostly because I was able to make sense – in an academic sense – of something that several of my professors chalked up as a passing fad not worthy of exploration.
  • How many of you have personal Twitter accounts?How many of you have institutional Twitter accounts that you manage?Do you have more than one of those accounts to manage? Do you sometimes feel like there’s no rhyme or reason to what people pay attention to? Hopefully this presentation will help you connect the dots between what you put out and what people use to RT and share in their personal networks.
  • This research project came down completely to a right place, right time thing. After a graduate program heavy with interpersonal communication theory and concepts, which can be used in our work, I was hungry for a course that allowed me to use elements of my everyday work. Diffusion of innovation (change management communication) gave me that. I knew I had to use this theory in my research, and I was personally involved in our campus’ response to communication about the H1N1 outbreak.In short, I found a theory that wasn’t too “granola” for me, one that I could sink my teeth into and use in a very applied way in my work. I think all of us can use Diffusion of Innovation theory in our work, whether it has to do with convincing prospective students to complete that application or persuading faculty and staff members to participate in a campus campaign.
  • Element - Definition Innovation - Rogers defines an innovation as "an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption”.Communication channels - A communication channel is "the means by which messages get from one individual to another”.Time - "The innovation-decision period is the length of time required to pass through the innovation-decision process”.Social system - "A social system is defined as a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal”.The way a new idea is shared through both interpersonal channels and mass mediaBegun as way to chart spread of information about and adoption of crop innovations in IowaNow theory is used as way to share health information on a broad scale – HIV, malaria, STDs
  • An individual goes through each of these steps on his or her own timetable to get to the point where he or she wants to adopt an innovation. As you know, there are differing speeds with which individuals adopt innovations: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, laggardsThere are also several factors that cause an individual to adopt an innovationFactor - Definition Relative Advantage- How improved an innovation is over the previous generation. Compatibility- The level of compatibility that an innovation has to be assimilated into an individual’s life. Complexity or Simplicity- If the innovation is too difficult to use an individual will not likely adopt it. Trialability- How easily an innovation may be experimented with as it is being adopted. If a user has a hard time using and trying an innovation this individual will be less likely to adopt it. Observability - The extent that an innovation is visible to others. An innovation that is more visible will drive communication among the individual’s peers and personal networks and will in turn create more positive or negative reactions.
  • So what does this have to do with my work, you’re asking. Right?Well, just like people talked about H1N1 – seemed like ad nauseum when the outbreak was happening – they talk about other things. Like @mikepetroff said in his talk yesterday, they talk about everything no matter the platform. You have to think about how to direct their talk. But we can’t direct them until we understand what they’re inclined to talk about and look for on Twitter.Now we’re going to examine the research further.
  • Started out with 3.4 MG of Tweets (almost 1200 pages of content – 140 characters at a time)April 25 = WHO met to discuss epidemic and possible treatments and vaccinationsSept. 4 = Number of deaths around globe ramped upOct. 24 = Obama declared national state of emergency to deal with outbreakFollowed survey with phone interviews with volunteers to glean even more information about vaccination behaviors
  • Started out with 3.4 MG of Tweets (almost 1200 pages of content – 140 characters at a timeApril 25 = WHO met to discuss epidemic and possible treatments and vaccinationsSept. 4 = Number of deaths around globe ramped upOct. 24 = Obama declared national state of emergency to deal with outbreakFollowed survey with phone interviews with volunteers to glean even more information about vaccination behaviors
  • Health information - Symptom identification, Preventative measures, VaccinationMisinformation and disinformation - Symptom misidentification, Preventative measure confusion, Vaccination misinformationUncertainty reduction – Deaths, Prevention of spread, Safety and availability of vaccines
  • Majority of users pass along information 1-3 times per day, however, some tweet 10 or more times per day and pass along information that much tooImportant to myself and followers, useful to me, “something of interest that comes from someone who I know who isn’t in my circle of followers”CONNECTIVE TISSUE in communityDon’t verify information they see on Twitter, they trust those they followTwitter is one of a set of tools they use to make decisions – this was disheartening to me, but revealing, Users glean information from a variety of places – family, friends, experts. Twitter cannot be the only way we share important information.COMMON, IMPORTANT, VALUABLE information“I feel that the people I follow on tweeter are credible resources of information - as they are professional folks whose reputations are tied to what they say in this forum”
  • In our heads, we’ve always known this. But it seems like now we have to be even more careful about how we work to influence our customers. We are the twitter spitter-outers and we have to make sure that we don’t abuse people’s trust. Cause they’ll talk about us even more then.
  • Influence is a tricky thing. And that’s what we’re trying to do with users, right?So let’s examine what some research says about Twitter influence…
  • 1. Indegree influence, the number of followers of a user, directly indicates the size of the audience for that user.2. Retweet influence, which we measure through the number of retweets containing one’s name, indicates the ability of that user to generate content with pass-along value.3. Mention influence, which we measure through the number of mentions containing one’s name, indicates the ability of that user to engage others in a conversation.
  • But share in a trustworthy manner. Don’t share misinformation Squelch it if it pops up – but do that in a nice way. :D You don’t want to create a highly verbal enemy with an open speaker and an audience
  • Promise your viewers/readers absolutely correct information – then give them ways to verify it. Links, external information sources. Set yourself up to be a trusted source. Remember those folks who said they did not verify the information they see tweeted? Don’t SCREW them. DON’T. Or don’t let someone else screw them. DON’TAlso – help to stamp out misinformation. But better yet, allow your followers to do that. Enable them to police the situation. Sometimes that requires giving them information to pass along themselves. Help them become subject matter experts!
  • Don’t wait to share information. Longing for the perfect opportunity isn’t smart, cause that perfect opportunity doesn’t happen.It’s all about salience – sharing information at the time folks need it. Just like getting a job was for this chick. ;)
  • The propensity for individuals to share (RT) information frequently – (Lindsey Lohan tweets about being sick, or the individual who talked about someone coughing on the train) – it’s important for subject matter experts to share the correct information in a timely fashion.Also, work with opinion leaders in order to pass along important information.
  • At times, the research taught us that it was important for change agents to stay out of the discussion. Instead, creating subject matter experts or opinion leaders within a community is important. Empowering individuals to share information for you is a good practice. I like to let people scoop me sometimes as an information provider. To that end, we have events to encourage students to participate as SMEs. Tweetups where we find natural leaders in certain areas are important too.
  • In this way, you’ll create a team of defenders for your organization. It won’t just be you against the world anymore. It is the same concept as getting students to blog for your school. By creating conversations with key users, you can also engage those who are in larger circles. These individuals happen to overhear and then can become more engaged in your cause as well.
  • Learn when it’s a smart thing to save your communication efforts for other channels. Or learn when you have to spread your message around in several areas. Not any one channel will totally convince someone to engage in a behavior.Users often found introductory materials – filling the information stage – from Twitter, but made their final decisions with the help of family or friends and implemented on that basis.
  • A Little Birdie Told Me - #heweb11 #soc9

    1. 1. A Little BirdieTold MeWhat the H1N1 Outbreak TaughtUs About Using TwitterTonya Oaks Smith25 October 2011 #SOC9
    2. 2. Let’s get started… Who am I and why do you care? Who are you? I do care  What are we talking about today?
    3. 3. @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 master’s degree in applied communication studies in 2010 About.me/marleysmom
    4. 4. Who areyou?
    5. 5. On the agenda today  Background  Theory  Research  Results  Application
    6. 6. The background Why Twitter?  Presence is more and more prevalent – use in Iran, Hudson River crash, H1N1  200 MM Tweets per day from millions of users (June 2011) Why H1N1?  Health catastrophe that was anticipated  Other communication vehicles used in preparation for outbreak Right place, right time
    7. 7. The theory Diffusion of Innovation  Ev Rogers – communication researcher and supreme networker  “Process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.”
    8. 8. The theory
    9. 9. 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
    10. 10. The research Detailed reading of 5,000 tweets for content analysis Later survey of Twitter users for in-depth information about follow-through on vaccinations
    11. 11. The results Content analysis – three themes:  Information-seeking behaviors  Misinformation  Uncertainty reduction
    12. 12. The results Survey of the users:  How often do individuals pass along information?  How do they choose what information to pass along?  How do they verify the truth of the information they see?  How does the information they see on Twitter impact their decisions?
    13. 13. What’s different now?Today, people expect toshareinformation, not be fed it. Theyexpect to be listened to when theyhave knowledge and raise questions.... They want control over theirinformation.And they want connection – they givetheir trust to those they engage with –people who talk with them, listen andmaintain a relationship. – Michael Skoler Media scholar
    14. 14. Influence means what? Per Twitter:  Indegree influence  Retweet influence  Mention influence
    15. 15. Influence means what?Popular users who have high indegree arenot necessarily influential in terms ofspawning retweets or mentions. Mostinfluential users can hold significant influenceover a variety of topics. Influence is notgained spontaneously or accidentally, butthrough concerted effort. - Cha, Haddadi, Benevenuto, Gummadi, 2010
    16. 16. The applicationFind out what informationis useful for your listeners…and share
    17. 17. But first… kittens…
    18. 18. No, seriously… Don’t:  Share information unworthy of your followers  Ignore followers’ legitimate concerns  Waste time sharing useless information  Ignore misinformation
    19. 19. No, seriously… Don’t:  Spread information you can’t confirm  Abuse your followers’ trust  Use Twitter without pondering the ramifications
    20. 20. And even more seriously… Do:  Accept importance of medium as mass and interpersonal channel  Build relationships before emergencies and crises happen  Share salient information  Harness power of network
    21. 21. And even more seriously… Do:  Encourage questioning  Call attention to misinformation  Fill the information vacuum  Reduce uncertainty  Verify your own information
    22. 22. So what did we learn? Twitter is an important new-ish medium (still NEW to those not in the know (bosses, presidents, chancellors ;) )) Twitter can be used for good and evil Our followers trust us as change agents and opinion leaders – scary! Twitter can’t be the only medium we use to communicate information – it is part of a toolkit.
    23. 23. Questions? tosmith@ualr.edu @marleysmom 501.324.9896 Complete research is on issuu.com/marleysmom
    24. 24. Credits