Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors
science communication, social media, YouTube, mpox, health
As the world becomes increasingly digitalized, the way in which we communicate scientific information changes, which has direct implications for human health and disease. To better understand the phenomena of science communication online, this thesis analyzes an audience's reaction to the viral disease mpox on the video-based social media platform YouTube. This thesis looks at speaker identity, quality of information, and factors or features of a video over a specific period of time corresponding to the 2022 outbreak of mpox. A total of 55 mpox-related videos on YouTube were selected and analyzed. These were coded for quantitative features such as number of views or comments as well as features such as the identity of the speaker. The comments and replies were coded for using qualitative methods. Two tools were applied to assess reliability and quality of information. The results suggest confirmation bias and high agreement of the audience with the video speaker, a difference in the way the audience engages with videos featuring speakers of different identities, a difference in the sources of information posting over time, variation in quality of information by source and type, and identification of specific factors of a video that may increase audience engagement. These findings have implications for public health initiatives, consumers or audiences of science communication on social media, and online science communicators.
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Barton, Zoë Bui, "Science Communication and Social Media: Audience Reactions to Mpox on YouTube" (2023). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 526.