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Expert communication on Twitter: comparing economists and scientists’ social networks, topics and communicative styles

Della Giusta, M. ORCID:, Jaworska, S. ORCID: and Vukadinovic Greetham, D. (2021) Expert communication on Twitter: comparing economists and scientists’ social networks, topics and communicative styles. Public Understanding of Science, 30 (1). pp. 75-90. ISSN 1361-6609

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/0963662520957252


Experts are increasingly using social media to communicate with the wider public, prompted by the need to demonstrate impact and public engagement. While previous research on the use of social media by experts focused on single topics and performed sentiment analysis, we propose to extend the scope by investigating experts' networks, topics and communicative styles. We perform social and semantic network as well language analysis of top tweeting scientists and economists. We find that economists tweet less, mention fewer people and have fewer Twitter conversations with members of the public than scientists. Scientists use a more informal and involved style and engage wider audiences through multimedia contents, while economists use more jargon, and tend to favour traditional written media. The results point to differences in experts’ communicative practices online that might have to do with the disciplinary ways of ‘talking’ posing obstacles to an effective public communication of expert knowledge.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Economics
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics > Centre for the Mathematics of Human Behaviour (CMOHB)
ID Code:92297
Uncontrolled Keywords:Twitter, expert communication, communicative style, networks, sentiment, involvement, corpus linguistics, keywords, key terms


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