How many of you own a Twitter? How many of you tweet, and “hashtag”? Lots of you, I bet. These phrases are all related to Twitter, an online social networking site that allows users to send and read text-based posts known as “tweets”. It’s gained massive popularity, and has nearly 400 million users. More than 200 million tweets and 1.6 billion search queries are generated every day. Today, it is one of the top 10 most visited sites.
Sure, twitter has its pros. It connects friends, family, and colleagues. It spreads information and ideas, and brings people together, whether it be for laughs, support, or common interest. It’s also been essential in revolutions, such as the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2000-2010 Iranian election protest, and the 2010-2011 Tunisian protest. It has the power to cause change, and influence the way people think. So what’s the problem?
Twitter is also responsible for spreading stigmatizing remarks about epilepsy and seizures, leading to increased discrimination against people with epilepsy. A study was done analyzing almost 11,000 tweets mentioning the word “seizure”. They varied, from metaphors to personal accounts to informative tweets. The study found that 41% of the seizure related tweets were derogatory in nature and made fun of the condition. While there were a few tweets that spoke out against these derogatory remarks, researchers argue that it’s not enough, and we must take steps to educate the public about epilepsy to avoid these misconceptions.
While Twitter could be used as a positive social media medium, it’s being used to encourage stigma and ridicule the negative aspects of the condition. It is comments like these that cause increased self-efficacy issues in people with epilepsy and an overall misunderstanding of the condition. It’s time to bring about a new wave of change to eliminate the stigma associated with epilepsy.
" Epilepsy in the Twitter era: A need to re-tweet the way we think about seizures ." ScienceDirect.com | Search through over 11 million science, health, medical journal full text articles and books.. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/
" It's time for an epilepsy Twitter revolution ." ScienceDirect.com | Search through over 11 million science, health, medical journal full text articles and books.. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/art