Azios, M., Rangarathnam, B., Ni, J., Irani, F., Bellon-Harn, M.L., & Manchaiah, V.
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 7(6), 1757-1768.
Publication year: 2022

Purpose: The objective of this study was to examine specific patterns of Twitter usage using common reference to stuttering.

Method: The study used cross-sectional analysis of data generated from Twitter data. Twitter content, language, reach, users, accounts, temporal trends, and social networks were examined.

Results: We identified and analyzed around 270,000 tweets from May to September 2018. Of the 100 most active Twitter accounts, individuals owned 64% compared with 31% owned by organizations. The individual accounts mainly consisted of comedians who stutter and individual’s accounts. Of the individual accounts, 61% belonged to people who did not stutter or significant others of persons who stutter (PWSs). PWSs or significant others of PWSs accounted for 10.9% and 28.1%, respectively. Three unique tweets were identified as each having a reach of over 8 million Twitter users, with the greatest reach exceeding 40 million users. Temporal analysis identified marked retweet outliers (> 2,800 and > 2,200 retweets per day) that corresponded with a prank call made to the president on air force one by Stuttering John. Results indicate that, during data collection, Twitter is a platform that primarily functions to assail political opponents or denigrate adversaries, which further enhances the negative stereotypes about stuttering.

Conclusions: The conclusions are based on the 100 most active/highest reach Twitter accounts. Twitter accounts owned by individuals outnumbered organization accounts, and people who do not stutter were the most frequently active account type. This study offers important insights regarding existing trends and offers an informed direction for future advocacy for PWSs and their supporting community via Twitter.