MoBros and MoSistas on Social Media: A Content Analysis of Twitter Conversations during the 2013 Movember Canada Campaign
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Introduction: Health communication campaigns are an important tool for disseminating health information and influencing the salience of health issues on the public agenda. Social media sites are popular platforms for health information seeking and sharing in the digital age. This thesis uses the 2013 Movember Canada campaign as a case study to examine whether the campaign objective of creating conversations about prostate and testicular cancers aligns with conversations on the Twitter social networking site and to discuss what themes were present in Movember-related conversations. Methods: The Twitter search engine (https://Twitter.com/search-home) was used to collect historical data on Twitter. Search criteria for this study included tweets with the hashtag ‘#Movember’, published for November 2013 inclusive, and available in English. Geographical location information was collected from the user profile in order to identify Canadian tweets. In study #1, the Movember 2013 website content was collected from an online web archive (Wayback Machine; https://archive.org/web/). Content of the Movember Canada 2013 website was categorized by page tabs and topic headings and informed the preliminary codebook. 4222 publically-available Canadian tweets were analyzed using a quantitative content analysis methodology. In study #2, a qualitative content analysis methodology was used to analyze 2400 tweets. Tweets were read and coded for overt and latent themes in an iterative fashion until saturation of themes occurred. Results: Study #1. There were significantly fewer health-related (n = 673) than non-health-related (n= 3549) tweets (p < 0.05). Few tweets (0.6% of all tweets) referenced prostate or testicular cancers. Community engagement activities as well as moustache and grooming references were the most frequent topics in the health-related (10.49% and 1.97% of 4222 tweets) and non-health-related (32.83% and 32.76% of 4222 tweets) categories, which were significantly different by topic (p<0.05). Study #2. The major themes identified in the tweets were: fundraising as priority (34% of 2400 tweets), making a change to men’s health (18% of 2400 tweets), the campaign as a moustache contest rather than a charity (26% of 2400 tweets), the use of masculine metaphors/imagery (9% of 2400 tweets), and the role of women as moustache supporters (4% of 2400 tweets). Conclusion: Health information about prostate and testicular cancers was limited in Twitter messages about the 2013 Movember Canada campaign. Findings from this thesis highlight the importance for health campaign coordinators to communicate a philanthropic narrative that explicitly associates campaign activities, such as fundraising and raising awareness, with the dedicated health issue so that the general public will view the health issue as an important issue. Future research that considers methodological approaches such as surveys or interviews will be necessary to collect data about the impact of discussing social media health campaigns and their related health issues on health behaviour change (e.g., health knowledge, attitudes, behaviours).