This paper describes work undertaken to evaluate how a social media platform (i.e. Twitter) was used over the course of the 2014 Commonwealth Games hosted in Glasgow, Scotland to provide and share transport-related information, and respond to information requests. Previous studies have identified factors of interest in evaluating the use of social media in various contexts, including social ties and trust, information seeking behaviours, and the possibility of using social media data as predictors of mobility behaviours. These studies incorporate elements of behavioural psychology in relation to the practical use of social media – how different types of people use social media for different purposes, and what can be ascertained from this use. In this study, we provide a more holistic approach to the evaluation of social media, incorporating contextual characteristics of users, patterns of use, and practical applications of the findings as applied in a transport context. Over the course of the Games, roughly 11 million tweets were collected using a combination of transport-related keywords, hashtags, and account holders (for example, @GamesTravel2014). In our analysis, we focus, in particular, upon the following aspects of a selected subset of this data: •‘Retweets’ (or original tweets that are shared by other users): o Types of users retweeting information o Types of information in retweets •Tweet ‘conversations’ (or tweets sent to and responded to by specific users) o Types of conversations o Types of users initiating conversations By assessing these factors, we hope to evaluate how issues of trust and reliability contribute to the use of social media by different actors for different transport-related purposes. Findings from this analysis will then be used to provide recommendations to transport service providers on how social media may be most effectively leveraged to provide and disseminate relevant transport information through a network of social media users.
Cottrill, C., Yeboah, G., Gault, P., Nelson, J. D., Anable, J., & Budd, T. (2015). Tweeting transport: Examining the use of Twitter in transport events. https://doi.org/DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3095.2486