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The use of Twitter by people with young-onset dementia: A qualitative analysis of narratives and identity formation in the age of social media.

Talbot, C. V., O'Dwyer, S. T., Clare, L. and Heaton, J., 2021. The use of Twitter by people with young-onset dementia: A qualitative analysis of narratives and identity formation in the age of social media. Dementia. (In Press)

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DOI: 10.1177/14713012211002410

Abstract

A diagnosis of dementia in mid-life can be challenging, causing losses or changes in a person’s identity. Narrative provides a means of reconstructing identity and can be communicated on social media. There has been initial evidence on the value of Twitter for people with dementia, but researchers have not yet directly engaged with users’ perspectives. We employed a narrative model of identity to examine why people with dementia use Twitter and what challenges they face. Interviews were conducted with 11 younger people with dementia and analysed thematically. Participants used Twitter to counter a loss of identity through community membership and by regaining a sense of purpose. They sought to redefine dementia identities by challenging stigma and campaigning for social change. The character limit of tweets facilitated narrative through which participants preserved their identities. These findings suggest that Twitter could be an important source of post-diagnostic support for people with young-onset dementia. However, there are some risks as Twitter was sometimes a hostile environment for individuals who did not present in a ‘typical’ manner, or faced technical difficulties because of their symptoms. In the future, platform developers could work with people with dementia to make Twitter more accessible for this group.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:1013-7424
Uncontrolled Keywords:Alzheimer's; communication; social media; tweet
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:35189
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:15 Feb 2021 15:26
Last Modified:15 Aug 2021 08:28

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