Twitter, and the Human Right of Communication

Using Twitter to access the human right of communication for people who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Aims: This study aimed to train three people who use AAC to use Twitter. An analysis of their Twitter activity measured the impact of the training on follower count, frequency of tweeting, tweet content and the development of social networks in Twitter.

Results: Training included information on types of tweets, and how to send different types of information. This was tailored to meet the learning goals of each participant, and was provided as a reference document. Participants were also given 2 hours of personal training via Skype.

Data on use of social media was collected for 3 months prior to training (baseline), and for 6 months after the training. This data included tweets sent, retweets, mentions, and size of the social network (followers and people followed). Network and activity did not increase for @User1 beyond a short initial burst of activity. The other 2 participants grew the size and diversity of their networks. After training, @User2 and @User3 used Twitter to express opinions and connect with individuals and organisations.

Implications: Twitter helped the participants to achieve their human right of communication, to access information and express their views and opinions. However, due to the different outcomes achieved by participants, it was not possible to conclude that the training was an effective way to increase Twitter activity for people who use AAC.

Our onward queries: Training to improve strategic use of Twitter had mixed effects for participants in terms of tweet activity and network size. Other activity related to “likes” and “media” were not examined. How might these actions, and other strategies such as changing profile pictures, biographies, and engaging in “hashtag chats” influence Twitter use and networking?

Full reference of article:
Hemsley, B., Palmer, S., Dann, S., & Balandin, S. (2018). Using Twitter to access the human right of communication for people who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). International Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 20(1), 50-58. doi:10.1080/17549507.2017.1413137

Link to article on publisher page: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17549507.2017.1413137

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