Twitter use by the dementia community during Covid-19 : a user classification and social network analysis

Alhayan, Fatimah and Pennington, Diane and Ayouni, Sarra (2022) Twitter use by the dementia community during Covid-19 : a user classification and social network analysis. Online Information Review. ISSN 1468-4527 (https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-04-2021-0208)

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Abstract

The study aimed to examine how different communities concerned with dementia engage and interact on Twitter. A dataset was sampled from 8,400 user profile descriptions, labelled into five categories and subjected to multiple machine learning classification experiments based on text features to classify user categories. Social network analysis (SNA) was used to identify influential communities via graph-based metrics on user categories. The relationship between bot score and network metrics in these groups was also explored. Classification accuracy values were achieved at 82% using support vector machine (SVM). The SNA revealed influential behaviour on both the category and node levels. About 2.19% suspected social bots contributed to the Covid-19 dementia discussions in different communities. The study is a unique attempt to apply SNA to examine the most influential groups of Twitter users in the dementia community. The findings also highlight the capability of machine learning methods for efficient multi-category classification in a crisis, considering the fast-paced generation of data.

ORCID iDs

Alhayan, Fatimah, Pennington, Diane ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1275-7054 and Ayouni, Sarra;