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Online Program

From Microbloggers to Survey Respondents: Utilizing Twitter for Diary Data Collection

*Ashley Kate Richards, RTI International 
Elizabeth Dean, RTI International 
Sarah Cook, RTI International 

Keywords: Twitter, diary

As smartphones and mobile web technologies become more common, survey researchers are exploring methods to use them for data collection. Popular microblogging services, like Twitter, have the potential for use in diary studies. Because Twitter is easily accessible, conducting a diary study on Twitter may reduce item nonresponse and measurement error. Twitter diaries may also decrease respondent burden because of respondents’ fluency with the mode. In addition, Twitter allows for easier access of certain hard-to-reach (H2R) populations. According to the Pew Research Center, in the U.S., Twitter is used at a higher rate by Hispanic than white, non-Hispanic internet users and more by younger than older internet users.

We conducted Twitter diary studies with three H2R groups: Hispanics, young adults, and diabetics. We examine the outcome of recruiting these H2R groups for a Twitter diary study, report item nonresponse rates, evaluate varied question formats, and compare response rates associated with $10, $20, and $30 gift card incentives dispersed in lump sums or per Tweet. Findings suggest Twitter is a viable option worth considering for future diary studies.

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