Tweeting on dementia: A snapshot of the content and sentiment of tweets associated with dementia

Keywords: nurse, nursing, twitter, dementia, social media, text analysis

Abstract

This study aimed to record and characterise tweets related to dementia, to investigate their content and sentiment. Data were extracted from Twitter over a period of six weeks during February and March 2019 and then analysed using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) and AntWordProfiler. Using five search terms related to dementia, this study collected 860,383 tweets (more than 27 million words). Results have shown that out of all the collected tweets, 48.63 percent of tweets related to the search term ‘dementia’, 49.95 percent to ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ and the remainder related to frontotemporal dementia, Lewy Body dementia and vascular dementia. People wrote more positively and personally about the term ‘dementia’ than the other terms, and more technically regarding the term ‘Alzheimer’s disease’. All search terms had a negative emotional tone overall. Dementia and related terms are commonly discussed on Twitter. The overall negative emotional tone associated with all dementia related search terms suggests that dementia is still largely stigmatised and talked about negatively. Recommendations for future research include the development of a health world list or a dementia world list, and to consider how the results of this research inform social change interventions going forwards.

Author Biographies

David Robertshaw, University of Derby

David Robertshaw is a Registered Nurse and Registered Nurse Teacher, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and holds a BA (Hons) in Nursing and an MSc in Critical Care. He is currently Head of Pre-qualifying Healthcare at the University of Derby and designed, developed and delivered the University of Derby’s first massive open online course on Dementia between 2015 and 2017.

Ivana Babicova, University of Derby

Ivana Babicova is a doctoral research student and associate lecturer in the College of Health and Social Care, University of Derby. She is interested in the pain aspects of dementia including recognition, assessment, treatment and management of pain in people living with dementia in the U.K. Ivana graduated from the University of Derby in July 2016 with a B.Sc. (H) Psychology degree.

Published
2021-05-20
How to Cite
Robertshaw, D., & Babicova, I. (2021). Tweeting on dementia: A snapshot of the content and sentiment of tweets associated with dementia. First Monday, 26(7). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i7.10452