Can Social Media Listening Platforms’ Artificial Intelligence Be Trusted? Examining the Accuracy of Crimson Hexagon’s (Now Brandwatch Consumer Research’s) AI-Driven Analyses

Jameson L. Hayes, Brian C. Britt, William Evans, Stephen W. Rush, Nathan A. Towery, Alyssa C. Adamson

Practitioners and scholars increasingly employ social media listening platforms (SMLPs) driven by artificial intelligence (AI) to extract actionable insights from large amounts of social media data informing research questions and brand strategy. Due to their proprietary nature, AI tools within SMLPs are “black boxes” that force users to accept results on blind faith, a source of concern in industry and academia. This study seeks to provide greater understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of SMLPs by assessing the AI-based results of leading SMLP Crimson Hexagon (now Brandwatch Consumer Research) against those of a standard human content analysis and an analysis conducted using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC). This study was published in The Journal of Advertising,

Using targeted betweenness centrality to identify bridges to neglected users in the Twitter conversation on veteran suicide

Brian C. Britt, Jameson L. Hayes, Aibek Musaev, Pezhman Sheinidashtegol, Scott Parrott, avid L. Albright

There are many real-world contexts in which it would be invaluable to identify intermediaries who serve as bridges for specified dyads. For instance, with respect to suicide prevention among military veterans, mental health organizations play an important role in providing information, social support, and other resources to veterans, particularly on social media, where anonymous and pseudonymous interactions may help to counteract the stigma associated with suicide and mental health. However, many at-risk individuals are overlooked in the large-scale conversations on social media and are thus less likely to benefit from those interactions. Intermediaries who can integrate those peripheral actors into the conversation, or at least deliver essential information to them, could help to resolve this issue. The critical question, then, is how to identify those potentially useful intermediaries who are well positioned to act as bridges to reach peripheral actors. To address this challenge, we propose a new network measure, targeted betweenness centrality, to identify vertices that represent potentially useful intermediaries between specified dyads, then use that measure to identify social media users who can act as opinion leaders on behalf of the US Department of Veterans Affairs to reach vertices on the periphery of the Twitter conversation about veteran suicide. The results of this study provide useful insights related to opinion leadership, the military veteran community, and suicide prevention, and more broadly, they demonstrate the practical utility of targeted betweenness centrality for real-world research across a variety of contexts. Published in Social Network Mining & Analysis.

Prevalence of anger, engaged in sadness: engagement in misinformation, correction, and emotional tweets during mass shootings

Jiyoung Lee, Shaheen Kanthawala, Brian C. Britt, Danielle F. Deavours, Tanya Ott-Fulmore

The pervasive anger-laden tweets about mass shooting incidents might contribute to hostile narratives and eventually reignite political polarization. The notable presence of anger in correction tweets further suggests that those who are trying to provide correction to misinformation also rely on emotion. Moreover, our study suggests that displays of sadness could function in a way that leads individuals to rely on false claims as a coping strategy to counteract uncertainty. Publish in Online Information Review.

Oral Healthcare Implications of Dedicated Online Communities: A Computational Content Analysis of the r/Dentistry Subreddit

Brian C. Britt, Rebecca K. Britt, Jameson L. Hayes, Eliot T. Panek, Jessica Maddox, Aibek Musaev

The study explores communication expressed by participants in a subreddit surrounding oral health care, moderated by dentists and dental hygienists. The corpus was analyzed through Leximancer, a computer-assisted program used for computational content analyses of large data sets. Users’ personal disclosures about ongoing dental concerns, advice about others’ self-care, and the role of interpersonal communication with and among health care providers emerged as dominant themes. The findings suggest that online communities may serve an important role that dentists are unable to fill in their limited interactions with individual patients. Such interaction spaces may therefore offer a fertile environment for future interventions to promote beneficial practices and achieve positive health-related outcomes. Publish in Health Communication.

Social TV and the WWE: Exploring the fan-to-brand relationship in a highly engaged, live-viewing, interactive online space

Stephen McCreery, Brian C. Britt, Jameson L. Hayes

Social television (TV) engagement has become more commonplace as viewers seek alternative ways of engaging with TV shows and other viewers. This is especially true with televised professional wrestling; 119,506 tweets were analyzed using social network analysis during the four World Wrestling Entertainment telecasts. Results show that brand-affiliated users primarily interact among one another and not the fans themselves, despite fans reaching out to the brand, resulting in significant social stratification and low interactivity within the community. The findings suggest that when fans think they are able to join and contribute to the brand’s ongoing conversation, those fans might still be highly motivated to communicate with the brand, even if the brand does not reciprocate. Published in Convergence.

Continuing a Community of Practice Beyond the Death of its Domain

Brian C. Britt, Rebecca K. Britt, Jameson L. Hayes, Jeyoung Oh

In this study, which was published in Behaviour & Information Technology, our team examined a longstanding online community of practice developed around the Tales of Link mobile game to discern how its members responded when the mobile game itself was shut down. This study demonstrated potential avenues to sustain a community of practice whose domain has been terminated, such as substituting an analogous domain or converting the group to a community of interest, as well as potential pitfalls in attempts to do so.

What Inspired That Tweet: A Comparative Analysis of Official and Stakeholder-Enacted Crisis Responses During the Urban Meyer/Zach Smith Scandal

Natalie Brown-Devlin, Kenon A. Brown, Brian C. Britt, Alyssa Adamson

This study investigated the relationship between stakeholder enacted crisis communication and organizational crisis response. Through textual analysis, the reputation repair strategies that head coach Urban Meyer utilized in his four public statements regarding the Zach Smith scandal were identified. Next, 10,000 tweets from Ohio-based stakeholders were content analyzed to examine the extent to which stakeholders mirror the selected strategies employed by an individual enveloped in a crisis and amplify them through their own social media networks. Results showed that stakeholders engaged in three primary behaviors: rallying together by using the ingratiation and reminder strategies; mirroring some of Meyer’s official strategies; and utilizing their own strategies to attribute blame to other, external parties. Implications regarding how stakeholders utilize Twitter, itself, during a crisis were also proffered. Published in Communication & Sport.

From #endthestigma to #realman: Stigma-Challenging Social Media Responses to NBA Players’ Mental Health Disclosures

Scott Parrot, Andrew C. Billings, Samuel D. Hakim, Patrick Gentile

A number of professional athletes have used social media to disclose personal experience with mental illness, including NBA All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love in 2018. The disclosures could serve to challenge the stigmatization of mental illness, given the positive social standing of professional athletes and the potential power of parasocial relationships in health promotion and behavior. The present study quantitatively examined 3,366 fan responses to the mental health disclosures of both athletes, unpacking the extent to which fan commentary perpetuated or challenged the stigmatization of depression and anxiety. Fans provided overwhelmingly positive response to the athletes’ mental health disclosures, creating a normative environment in which disclosure translated into acceptance rather than rejection. While more frequently offering messages of advice and strength to DeRozan, fans were more likely to offer messages of encouragement and personal experiences with mental illness to Love. Published in Communication Reports.

From Waifus to Whales

Brian C. Britt, Rebecca K. Britt

We assessed the manifestation of discussions in an online community of practice based around a popular mobile game, Fate/Grand Order, as well as the evolution of those conversations over time. This study which was published in Mobile Media & Communication, showcased the manner in which online communities of practice evolve as its members ascend toward mastery of the practice that they jointly explore.

Social Media and Suicide

Scott Parrott, Brian C. Britt, Jameson L. Hayes, David L. Albright

The present study collected and validated suicide-related terms from the U.S. English language in 2018–2019. By validating clinical and lay terms with people on the front lines of suicide prevention, the study provides a necessary foundation for lexical analyses of suicide communication on social media. This study was published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work.

Presidential and Gubernatorial Tweets Involving Military Servicemembers and Veterans

Nicholas R. Eckhart, Kirsten Laha-Walsh, Scott Parrott, David L. Albright

The military consistently ranks as one of the most highly favorable occupations in the United States (US). However, fewer and fewer people have contact with military veterans than in the past, a trend that is expected to continue. Since military veterans carry such high levels of favorability but continue to lose contact with society, a content analysis of 1,976 tweets from former president Donald Trump and US governors was conducted to understand how military veterans were represented in the political arena on Twitter. Tweets were pulled between January 20, 2017 and November 26, 2019. Results indicated nearly all tweets about military veterans were positive and that Republicans tweeted twice as often about veterans as Democrats did. The topics of the tweets were mostly heroism (50.8%) followed by legislative or political agendas (45.5%). Republicans also provided more quotes from veterans than Democrats did, but Republicans did not use that contact to reduce stigma surrounding mental health. Published in Journal of Veterans Studies.

Enhancing Trustworthiness of Qualitative Findings

Laura L. Lemon, Jameson L. Hayes

Our study offers an approach to enhancing trustworthiness of qualitative findings through data analysis triangulation using Leximancer, a text mining software that uses co-occurrence to conduct semantic and relational analyses of text corpuses to identify concepts, themes, and how they relate to one another. The Leximancer analysis provided missing nuance from the a priori model, depicting the value of and connection between emergent themes. This study was published in the The Quality Report.

The Cause Effect

Steven Holiday, Jameson L. Hayes, Brian C. Britt, Yuanwei Lyu

This study addressed the effect of corporate social responsibility on long-term cause engagement—specifically, whether individuals who participated in the Mean Stinks anti-bullying campaign remained engaged with the cause after the campaign ended. This analysis, which was published in the International Journal of Advertising, demonstrated the potential for campaigns to attract newcomers to the cause as well as the risk of disenfranchising those who were already committed to the cause.

Too Big to Sell?

Rebecca K. Britt, Jameson L. Hayes, Brian C. Britt, Haseon Park

Our team examined the roles that mega influencers and micro influencers play in social media conversations about the beauty and fashion industry. This article, which was published in the Journal of Interactive Advertising, indicated that influencer posts using affective language elicit less engagement, a negative effect that is especially severe among micro influencers, thus contradicting the popular assumption that micro influencers can best fill unique roles by engaging in intimate, emotion-laden interactions with their followers.

Oral Healthcare Implications of Dedicated Online Communities

Brian C. Britt, Rebecca K. Britt, Jameson L. Hayes, Elliot T. Panek, Jessica Maddox, Aibek Musaev

We used Leximancer to analyze the evolving structure of conversations about oral healthcare on the r/Dentistry subreddit. This study, which was published in Health Communication, showed how online communities may supplement traditional interactions between patients and health care providers, satisfying healthcare needs that patient-provider communication alone does not address.