Tweeting Social Support Messages After a Non-Celebrity's Death: The Case of the Philippines' #Fallen44
Bautista, John Robert
Lin, Trisha Tsui-Chuan
Date of Issue2016
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Nowadays, social network sites (SNS) have provided an accessible means to convey social support to grievers who mourn for the dead. To explore how Twitter is used to convey social support after a non-celebrity’s death, this study conducted a content analysis of 1,557 Twitter posts bearing the hashtag #Fallen44 – a reference to the death of 44 elite Philippine policemen during a terrorist manhunt. Using a hybrid coding approach, the findings show that Twitter users conveyed social support by sending informational (56.28%) and emotional (39.76%) support messages. Informational support was mostly expressed by posting or sharing pictures and news articles relevant to the Fallen44, while emotional support was mostly conveyed by paying tribute, showing sympathy, and offering prayers for them. Moreover, a small proportion (3.96%) of tweets did not convey social support but reflected humor or anger or were spam messages. This study is one of the first to provide empirical support for the use of Twitter to convey social support after a non-celebrity’s death in an Asian setting. Practical and theoretical implications for online social support are discussed.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
© 2015 Mary Ann Liebert. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Mary Ann Liebert. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2015.0214].