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Article

A Social Network Analysis of Tweets Related to Masks during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4SE, UK
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Health Promotion in Rural Areas Research Group, Gerència Territorial de la Catalunya Central, Institut Català de la Salut, 08272 Sant Fruitós de Bages, Spain
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Unitat de Suport a la Recerca de la Catalunya Central, Fundació Institut Universitari per a la Recerca a l’Atenció Primària de Salut Jordi Gol i Gurina, 08272 Sant Fruitós de Bages, Spain
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TIC Salut Social, Generalitat de Catalunya, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
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Center for Research in Health and Economics (CRES-UPF), Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
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School of Health Care and Social Work, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, 60100 Seinäjoki, Finland
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218235
Received: 21 September 2020 / Revised: 30 October 2020 / Accepted: 4 November 2020 / Published: 7 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
Background: High compliance in wearing a mask is a crucial factor for stopping the transmission of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, social media has been a key communication channel for citizens. This study focused on analyzing content from Twitter related to masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Twitter data were collected using the keyword “mask” from 27 June 2020 to 4 July 2020. The total number of tweets gathered were n = 452,430. A systematic random sample of 1% (n = 4525) of tweets was analyzed using social network analysis. NodeXL (Social Media Research Foundation, California, CA, USA) was used to identify users ranked influential by betweenness centrality and was used to identify key hashtags and content. Results: The overall shape of the network resembled a community network because there was a range of users conversing amongst each other in different clusters. It was found that a range of accounts were influential and/or mentioned within the network. These ranged from ordinary citizens, politicians, and popular culture figures. The most common theme and popular hashtags to emerge from the data encouraged the public to wear masks. Conclusion: Towards the end of June 2020, Twitter was utilized by the public to encourage others to wear masks and discussions around masks included a wide range of users. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; twitter; masks; transmission; public health COVID-19; coronavirus; twitter; masks; transmission; public health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ahmed, W.; Vidal-Alaball, J.; Lopez Segui, F.; Moreno-Sánchez, P.A. A Social Network Analysis of Tweets Related to Masks during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 8235. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218235

AMA Style

Ahmed W, Vidal-Alaball J, Lopez Segui F, Moreno-Sánchez PA. A Social Network Analysis of Tweets Related to Masks during the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(21):8235. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218235

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ahmed, Wasim, Josep Vidal-Alaball, Francesc Lopez Segui, and Pedro A. Moreno-Sánchez. 2020. "A Social Network Analysis of Tweets Related to Masks during the COVID-19 Pandemic" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 21: 8235. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218235

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