Novel insights into views towards H1N1 during the 2009 Pandemic: a thematic analysis of Twitter data

Wasim Ahmed, Peter A. Bath, Laura Sbaffi, Gianluca Demartini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Infectious disease outbreaks have the potential to cause a high number of fatalities and are a very serious public health risk. Objectives: Our aim was to utilise an indepth method to study a period of time where the H1N1 Pandemic of 2009 was at its peak. Methods: A data set of n = 214 784 tweets was retrieved and filtered, and the method of thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Results: Eight key themes emerged from the analysis of data: emotion and feeling, health related information, general commentary and resources, media and health organisations, politics, country of origin, food, and humour and/or sarcasm. Discussion: A major novel finding was that due to the name ‘swine flu’, Twitter users had the belief that pigs and pork could host and/or transmit the virus. Our paper also considered the methodological implications for the wider field of library and information science as well as specific implications for health information and library workers. Conclusions: Novel insights were derived on how users communicate about disease outbreaks on social media platforms. Our study also provides an innovative methodological contribution because it was found that by utilising an indepth method it was possible to extract greater insight into user communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-72
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Information and Libraries Journal
Volume36
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

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