Centrality Measures in the Twitter Network of Health Specialized Journalists: The Case of Vaccines

Miguel Martín Cárdaba, Rafael Carrasco Polaino and Ubaldo Cuesta Cambra
Universidad Complutense Cif. Q2818014-I Avda. Séneca. 28040 Madrid Proyecto Mineco Rti2018-097670-B-I00


The popularization of Internet and the rise of social networks have offered an unbeatable opportunity for anti-vaccines, especially active communicators, to spread their message more effectively causing a significant impact on public opinion. A great amount of research has been carried out to understand the behavior that anti-vaccine communities show on social networks. However, it seems equally relevant to study the behavior that communities and communicators “pro vaccines” perform in these networks. Therefore, the objective of this research has been to study how members of the Spanish Association of Health Journalist (ANIS) communicate and use the social network Twitter. More specifically, the different interactions made by ANIS partners were analyzed through the so-called “centrality measures of social network analysis” (SNA), to check the configuration of the user network and detect those most relevant by their indexes of centrality, intermediation or mentions received. The research monitored 142 twitter accounts for one year analyzing 254 twits and their 2.671 interactions. The research concluded that the network of ANIS partners on Twitter regarding vaccines has little cohesion and has several components not connected to each other, in addition to the fact that there are users outside the association that show greater relevance than the partners themselves. We also concluded that there are an important lack of planning and direction in the communication strategy of ANIS on Twitter, which limits the dissemination of important content.