e-ISSN: 1309-517X
Sparse, Pair-Wise, Emotion-Focused Interactions: Educators’ Networking Patterns on Twitter at Early Pandemic

Yiyun Fan 1 * , Kathlyn Elliott 1

CONT ED TECHNOLOGY, Volume 14, Issue 3, Article No: ep373

Submitted: 15 January 2022, Published Online: 28 April 2022

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Educators have increasingly turned to social media for their instructional, social, and emotional needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to see where support and professional development would be needed and how the educational community interacted online, we sought to use existing Twitter data to examine potential educators’ networking and discourse patterns. Specifically, this mixed-methods study explores how educators used Twitter as a platform to seek and share resources and support during the transition to remote teaching around the start of massive school closures due to the pandemic. Based on a public COVID-19 Twitter chatter database, tweets from late March to early April 2020 were searched using educational keywords and analyzed using social network analysis and thematic analysis. Social network analysis findings indicate that the support networks for educators on Twitter were sparse and consisted of mainly small, exclusive communities. The networks featured one-on-one interactions during the early pandemic, highlighting that there were few large conversations that most educators were part of but rather many small ones. Thematic analysis findings further suggest that both informational and nurturant support were relatively equally present on Twitter among educators, particularly pedagogical content knowledge and gratitude. This study adds to an understanding of the educational networks as a means of professional and personal support. Additionally, findings present the discourse featured in educator networks at the onset of an educational emergency (i.e., COVID-19) as decentralized as well as desiring pedagogical content knowledge and emotional sharing.



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