New output: Twitter dialogue: an analysis of Pakistani politicians’ information sharing

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Social media became a great platform for people to interact with their friends and family. Politicians have also been using social media as a way to connect with voters which has helped many citizens stay interested in what is happening in government. It also helps major political parties engage directly with the people, without high cost barriers.

Politicians can now speak to the people who their policies affect the most. Politicians are able to engage directly with constituents and followers. This allows politicians more freedom to address issues that arise regularly on social media. They also allow politicians to keep in touch with their followers and supporters, which is very important for any politician in the 21st century.

Although there has been a burst of research conducted on social media usage by political parties and figures in developed countries there has been a lack of empirical research that has examined developing countries.

We recently published a study which aimed to “explore the information-sharing patterns of Pakistani politicians through Twitter accounts during the pre-election campaign of 2018”.

You can find the full abstract below as well as a link to the paper on ResearchGate.

Purpose: The use of Twitter by political parties and politicians has been well studied in developed countries. However, there is a lack of empirical work, which has examined the use of Twitter in developing countries. This study aims to explore the information-sharing patterns of Pakistani politicians through Twitter accounts during the pre-election campaign of 2018.

Design/methodology/approach: Data of three weeks of the official party accounts and the politicians running for prime minister were analysed. The mixed-methods approach has been used to analyse quantitative and qualitative data retrieved through Twitonomy.

Findings: It was found that the most active Twitter account belonged to the winning party. The prominent Twitter account functions were a call to vote, promotional Tweets, promises and Tweeting about party developments. The present study provides evidence that there is a difference between the Tweeting behaviour of established and emerging parties. The emerging party heavily posted about changing traditional norms/culture/practices.

Practical implications: The study contributed to existing knowledge and has practical implications for politicians, citizens and social media planners.

Originality/value: The present study was designed carefully and based on empirical research. The study is unique in its nature to fill the research and knowledge gap by adding a variety of Twitter functions used by politicians.

Be sure to check out the full paper here:’_information_sharing

Full reference:

Batool, S. H., Ahmed, W., Mahmood, K., & Saeed, H. (2021). Twitter dialogue: an analysis of Pakistani politicians’ information sharing. Information Discovery and Delivery.

Who are the key users and what are the key topics on Twitter related to wearing masks during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Our paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health examined discussions related to masks on Twitter from 27 June 2020 to 4 July 2020. You can view our paper here.

Check out more about our study below:


Background: High compliance in wearing a mask is a crucial factor for stopping the transmission of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, social media has been a key communication channel for citizens. This study focused on analyzing content from Twitter related to masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: Twitter data were collected using the keyword “mask” from 27 June 2020 to 4 July 2020. The total number of tweets gathered were n = 452,430. A systematic random sample of 1% (n = 4525) of tweets was analyzed using social network analysis. NodeXL (Social Media Research Foundation, California, CA, USA) was used to identify users ranked influential by betweenness centrality and was used to identify key hashtags and content.

Results: The overall shape of the network resembled a community network because there was a range of users conversing amongst each other in different clusters. It was found that a range of accounts were influential and/or mentioned within the network. These ranged from ordinary citizens, politicians, and popular culture figures. The most common theme and popular hashtags to emerge from the data encouraged the public to wear masks.

Conclusion: Towards the end of June 2020, Twitter was utilized by the public to encourage others to wear masks and discussions around masks included a wide range of users

You can view the full paper here:

Disaster relief in China: what’s the public’s awareness of insurance and willingness to participate in disaster relief efforts?

Our latest research published in the journal Natural Hazards examined disaster relief in China, the paper can be accessed here.

Below you can find an overview of our study and results.


Meteorological disasters frequently occur in China and around the world. These natural hazards can cause huge economic losses and threaten the personal safety of citizens. The public’s willingness to engage with disaster relief efforts and the degree of participation is critical to reduce the impact of such disasters.

This study conducted a survey with 62,903 respondents from China. The study utilized statistical analysis and correlation analysis in order to understand the differences and similarities of the public’s willingness to take part in disaster relief across gender and age.

The study found that:

(1) the public’s awareness of insurance and willingness to make donations during climate disasters is low, and that more than half of the public are only willing to insure for very less money;

(2) although the public has very high enthusiasm to participate in disaster relief, they are less willing to learn the basic skills of reducing disasters and for participating in training for disaster reduction as volunteers. This was especially the case for elderly citizens and females;

(3) the willingness of the public to prevent and reduce disasters is high, and this was the case across various gender and age groups. Finally, the study puts forward several measures to improve the uptake of disaster relief and disaster prevention among citizens.

Be sure to check out our paper here:

COVID-19 Misinformation: Research Collection

There has been a lot of false and malicious information shared related to COVID-19.

We have been conducting research related to a number of different conspiracies. Below you can find an overview of some of the work we’ve done around COVID-19 misinformation.

COVID-19 and the 5G Conspiracy Theory: Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data

Four experts investigate how the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theory began

COVID-19 and the “Film Your Hospital” Conspiracy Theory: Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data

‘Film Your Hospital’ – the anatomy of a COVID-19 conspiracy theory

New Output in LSE Business Review

Brands support #BlackLivesMatter on social media, but what’s missing?

Companies must make data public on the internal distribution of ethnic minorities by salary band, write Wasim Ahmed and Wasim Rehman

Be sure to check out our full article here:

Three Recent Papers Published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research

Below you can find an overview of 3 papers that we recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research:

3. COVID-19 and the “Film Your Hospital” Conspiracy Theory: Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data (

2. Public Disclosure on Social Media of Identifiable Patient Information by Health Professionals: Content Analysis of Twitter Data (

1. COVID-19 and the 5G Conspiracy Theory: Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data (

Ethics and Privacy: Social Media Use by Healthcare Professionals

Respecting patient privacy and confidentiality is critical for doctor-patient relationships and public trust in medical professionals. However, during online viral campaigns and sharing in the online world nurses, physicians as well as other healthcare professionals may inadvertently disclose more information that might be expected from both patients and families.

One of the dangers of sharing information publicly on social media is that information can be shared in seconds but it can be difficult to completely remove content once it is out there. Viral tweets, for instance, might get tagged in news articles or printed in journals which could pose a challenge in having the content removed.

In our latest paper for the Journal of Medical Internet Research we studied the hashtag #ShareAStoryInOneTweet with the aim of  quantifying potentially identifiable content shared on social media by physicians and other health care providers.

To quote our abstract we found that:

Health care professionals (n=656) disclosing information about others included 486 doctors (74.1%) and 98 nurses (14.9%). Health care professionals sharing stories about patient care disclosed the time frame in 95 tweets (95/754, 12.6%) and included patient names in 15 tweets (15/754, 2.0%). It is estimated that friends or families could likely identify the clinical scenario described in 242 of the 754 tweets (32.1%). Among 348 tweets about potentially living patients, it was estimated that 162 (46.6%) were likely identifiable by patients. Intercoder reliability in rating the potential identifiability demonstrated 86.8% agreement, with a Cohen κ of 0.8 suggesting substantial agreement. We also identified 78 out of 754 tweets (6.5%) that had been deleted on the website but were still viewable in the analytics software data set.”

Be sure to check out our paper here:

New Output in Lecture Notes in Computer Science: Zika Outbreak of 2016 Insights from Twitter


An outbreak of the Zika virus in 2016 caused great concern among the general public and generated a burst of tweets. The aim of this study was to develop a better understanding of the types of discussions taking place. Tweets were retrieved from the peak of the Zika outbreak (as identified by Google Trends). Tweets were then filtered and entered in NVivo to be analysed using thematic analysis. It was found that tweets on Zika revolved around seven key themes: pregnancy, travel and the Olympics, mosquitoes and conspiracy, health organisations, health information, travel and tracking, and general discussions around Zika. Our results are likely to be of interest to public health organisations disseminating information related to future outbreaks of Zika and we develop a set of preliminary recommendations for health authorities.

Check out the full paper here:

Robbie Williams Loves an Instagram Story, You Should Too! This is How it Can Benefit Your Brand

Instagram stories have only been around for a few years, however they have become a much-loved part of platform. In August 2016 Instagram started allowing people to upload stories to their accounts.

An Instagram story is when a user uploads a photo or video for a limited time (24 hours). After this time, the ‘story’ will disappear. Stories can be viewed by everyone who follows the user, however there are settings that allow only certain people to view it.


These are called private stories; however, they are not very useful when it comes to promoting a brand. The key benefit of Instagram stories to brands and businesses is that there is no limit to how many can be posted and they don’t save to your account.

Stories are easy to make and have some great features included in the settings that are great for brands and product promotion, these include tagging certain products, hash tagging and also adding a ‘DM me’ button, to allow people to message you about your brand.

If your Instagram account is public (ideal for a brand) anyone using the app can search your username and see the story that you have posted. This means that people can also share your story with others, either by direct message, or if they were tagged they can share it by adding it to their accounts story.

This will then inform you that they have shared it to their story too and are promoting your brand. The benefit of this is that the person who has used your story then shares it with all of their followers allowing for it to reach a wider platform and they can be viewed by a lot more people.

Being tagged in Instagram stories is a great way to gain more followers as people often click on the nametags that are on the story. These tags link back to your page so people have a quick way of getting straight to you and your products / service.

Amazing Instagram story features and how they can help

When posting an Instagram story, you get the option to add a hyperlink. If you choose to add this it could be a great way to promote a product. For example, while talking about a new range of smoothie, linking the website where it can be brought is a great use of the hyperlink feature.

People are more likely to swipe up and buy it right there and then, than remember the specific name and go onto the website later to purchase it.

It also means that while discussing a topic there can be other links to different social media platforms such as YouTube or Facebook where users can find similar information linked to the topic without clicking off Instagram.

An entertaining Instagram story is more likely to get noticed than a posed video on the explore page. This is because stories are short and sweet, which entices people to listen to them.

Also, a recorded story has an extra wow factor as there are lots of funny and interesting effects and sounds you can add to a story to get the audience involved, such as polls and questions. Therefore, if you are trying to sell a product, promoting it on a story would be more beneficial than doing it on a post.

Great ways to boost your brand!

Some of the great things on Instagram stories can really help brands understand what they need to improve on such as polls. These are little questions that you can put on your Instagram story, to let people pick one of the available options given to them.

A great way a brand could utilise this is to ask questions about what products the customers would like to see next season, what they think was the best product, or what they would change.

They are a great way to get feedback and a good sense of what the users would like to see potentially helping the brand know where it needs to change or improve from an easy online quiz poll.

Other features that brands need to use are the hashtag and location icons. The hashtags allow the story to be seen by anyone who searches that hashtag.

A good example of this could be if a brand was promoting a new flavour chocolate bar they would hashtag; chocolate, chocolate bar and confectionary as these would all be words to help get the story to the right place on Instagram, so that it would show for the right audience.

The location icon is useful for small brands as it shows where you are operating. This is really helpful for businesses like hairdressers or nail technicians, as they require a local fan base to gain clients and grow as a brand.

Instagram stories also a has a function where by people can send you direct messages based on the topic you choose, after you’ve posted the question on your story people can start replying. It is the easiest way for a customer to contact a brand as it only takes a few seconds.


Once someone has sent either an answer to your question or another question, there is a button that allows you to add what they have said onto your story. This helps so other people can see you are active at replying and also because it stops people asking the same questions.

Posting a story everyday is a great way to improve the interaction on your page. The more stories you post the more likely your followers are to see it. This is certainly true of many celebrities such as Robbie Williams.

Robbie regularly posts on his stories to keep his fans up to date. This helps to keep his fan base engaged and entertained, as well as ensuring they are the first to know, when any news or big announcements are made.

If you think that Instagram stories could benefits your brand and help you market your brand take a look at our guide to help you make it on Instagram!

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