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What Makes a Tweet Fly? Analysis of Twitter Messaging at Four Infection Control Conferences
Nursing and Health Papers and Journal Articles
  • Brett G Mitchell, Avondale College of Higher Education
  • Philip L Russo, Avondale College of Higher Education
  • Jonathan A Otter, Imperial College London
  • Martin Kiernan, University of West London
  • Landon Aveling, Avondale College of Higher Education
Author Faculty (Discipline)
Document Type
Publication Date
Early Online Version
Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
Avondale Research Centre
Lifestyle Research Centre
Reportable Items (HERDC/ERA)

Objective: To examine tweeting activity, networks, and common topics mentioned on Twitter at four international infection control and infectious disease conferences.

Design: A cross-sectional study.

Methods: An independent company was commissioned to undertake a Twitter ‘trawl’ each month between July 1, 2016, and November 31, 2016. The trawl identified any tweets that contained the official hashtags of the conferences for (1) the UK Infection Prevention Society, (2) IDWeek 2016, (3) the Federation of Infectious Society/Hospital Infection Society, and (4) the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control. Topics from each tweet were identified, and an examination of the frequency and timing of tweets was performed. A social network analysis was performed to illustrate connections between users. A multivariate binary logistic regression model was developed to explore the predictors of ‘retweets.’

Results: In total, 23,718 tweets were identified as using 1 of the 2 hashtags of interest. The results demonstrated that the most tweets were posted during the conferences. Network analysis demonstrated a diversity of twitter networks. A link to a web address was a significant predictor of whether a tweet would be retweeted (odds ratio [OR], 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9–2.1). Other significant factors predicting a retweet included tweeting on topics such as Clostridium difficile (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.7–2.4) and the media (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.6–2.0). Tweets that contained a picture were significantly less likely to be retweeted (OR, 0.06; 95% CI, 0.05–0.08).

Conclusion: Twitter is a useful tool for information sharing and networking at infection control conferences.

Peer Review
Before publication

Used by permission: Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology

The article available for download is the pre-publication version. The final published version may be accessed from the publisher here.

© 2017 by The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). All rights reserved.

Associated Research Project
Citation Information

Mitchell, B. G., Russo, P. L., Otter, J. A., Kiernan, M. A., & Aveling, L. (2017). What makes a tweet fly? Analysis of twitter messaging at four infection control conferences. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 38(11), 1271-1276. doi:10.1017/ice.2017.170