Friends get vaccinated: The power of social media groups in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign

Keywords: Social media groups ;, COVID-19 ;, collective behavior ;, information sharing, vaccines

Abstract

In times of crisis the power of social media is reflected in its ability to influence social behavior and act quickly without bureaucratic mechanisms. During the Israeli COVID-19 vaccination campaign, social media groups were formed to collect, verify, and disseminate information about leftover vaccine doses. Masses of people quickly joined these groups, rushed to the vaccine locations, and shared real-time information with other group members. Based on 15 semi-structured interviews with group members and admins, we identified three motives for creating groups: making information accessible, the struggle against vaccine opponents, and a desire to return to life as it was before the pandemic. Rapid group joining has been described in terms of collective behavior and contagion theory.

Author Biographies

Shlomit Manor, Western Galilee College

Shlomit Manor is an associate professor at Western Galilee College, Akko, Israel. Dr. Manor holds a PhD in sociology from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Her research focuses on ageing and retirement including aspects such as ICT accessibility to older people and understanding the barriers which prevent seniors from benefiting from digital services. Her work has been published in several journals including Journal of Family Issues and International Journal of Ageing and Later Life.      

Tamar Israeli, Western Galilee College

Tamar Israeli is an information specialist and a lecturer at Western Galilee College, Akko, Israel. Dr. Israeli holds a PhD in information sciences from Bar-Ilan University. Her main research area is personal information management. Her recent papers were published in Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology and Aslib Journal of Information Management.

E-mail: tamari@wgalil.ac.il

Published
2021-06-13
How to Cite
Manor, S., & Israeli, T. (2021). Friends get vaccinated: The power of social media groups in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. First Monday, 26(7). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i7.11622