Social media rumors as improvised public opinion: semantic network analyses of twitter discourses during Korean saber rattling 2013

Kyounghee Kwon, C. Chris Bang, Michael Egnoto, H. Raghav Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social media rumors are improvised and expressive forms of public opinion that especially arise under uncertain sociopolitical situations. This study utilizes early rumor studies as theoretical framework for textual analysis of Twitter public opinion. A content and semantic network analysis of Twitter messages spread during Korean saber rattling in 2013 was conducted for understanding public opinion in an uncertain context. The results show that, while non-rumor narratives focus on policy-level responses to the threat situation in a similar manner to institutionalized opinion polling, rumors are less concerned with official responses, instead reflective of hegemonic tensions between anti-leftwing political sentiments and the counteractive accounts. Some rumors reveal the public's coping with fears in the form of humor, guesswork, or wishes. Online rumor analysis helps understand how the society's collective memories interact with the current situational uncertainty in shaping public opinions and sentiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-222
Number of pages22
JournalAsian Journal of Communication
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 3 2016

Keywords

  • Rumors
  • South Korea
  • public opinion
  • semantic network analysis
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Education

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