Friday, January 17, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Background and Purpose. Given the increasing number of older adults worldwide and inevitability of aging, it is critical to understand how people perceive older adults. Although there have been some studies done in examining attitudes or perceptions toward older adults, little is known about public perception about older adults in recent studies. With increasing attention towards big data analysis using social media, this study aimed to explore how older adults were mentioned in Korean Tweets. As Twitter is one of the most widely used social media platforms, it is a rich source of data. Furthermore, The analysis of tweets allows us to examine perception or attitudes toward older adults without any concern about response bias as actual communications are used for data analysis. Methods. A total of 25,424 Korean tweets were retrieved for a five-day sampling period in April, 2018 using “older adults” and “an older adult” in Korean as keywords. After applying two inclusion criteria such as original tweets and Korean tweets, 8,211tweets remained. Then, based upon prior research and the preliminary analysis of 1,000 tweets selected from the 8,211 tweets, a coding scheme was developed as follow: 1) metaphorical use, 2) information/advertisement, 3) quotes from movies or books, 4) personal accounts, 5) political campaign, and 6) irrelevance. A total of 6,472 tweets identified as irrelevance were excluded, resulting in 1,647 tweets. Through reiterative process, 1,647 tweets that included older adults were analyzed and coded by two independent reviewers. Results. The most predominant category was personal accounts (49%) followed by information/advertisement (25%) and political campaign (10.5%). Also, older adults were mentioned in tweets metaphorically (8.2%) and directly quoted from books or movies (4.8%). The most of personal account tweets (80%) shared about negative experiences with older adults, complaining about their conservative political views and free use of public transportation, as well as ridiculing their smell. Also, half of the metaphorical tweets held negative stereotypes of older adults such as physical fragility, stubbornness, and out dated-fashion. Only a handful of tweets mentioned older adults positively for metaphorical use (5%) and personal accounts (15%). Conclusions and Implications. In Korean Tweets, older adults have been mentioned in a variety of ways. Although there are tweets that disseminated information about programs of social service agencies and promoted political campaigns targeting older adults, a considerable amount of tweets shows negative perceptions and stereotypes toward older adults. Twitter seems to be used to spread and propagate negative perceptions about older adults. This widespread negativity toward older adults in Korean tweets contradicts the traditional cultural value in South Korea. Influenced by Confucian culture, respect toward older adults remains the core traditional value of Korean society over centuries. Considering the popularity of Twitter among the young generation, our findings may indicate the growing generation gap in this country and suggest necessity of efforts to create and enhance positive perception about older adults in social media.