Tweeting in the Time of Coronavirus: How Social Media Use and Academic Research Evolve during Times of Global Uncertainty

Neta Kligler-Vilenchik*, Daniela Stoltenberg, Maya de Vries Kedem, Hadas Gur-Ze’ev, Annie Waldherr, Barbara Pfetsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Our international research team was in the midst of a comparative study about the day-to-day experience of Twitter users in Berlin and Jerusalem through a series of daily short surveys, when our Jerusalem data were becoming increasingly “compromised” by the growing public concern, and tightening government measures, around the spread of the Coronavirus in Israel. During the two waves of our 10-day survey of salient Twitter users in Jerusalem (March 9–March 19, N = 34; March 23–April 2, N = 25), Israel shifted from 50 confirmed Coronavirus cases to over 6,800 and from relative routine to almost full stay-at-home orders. This essay presents two intersecting narratives. First, we consider the methodological challenges of adapting ongoing academic survey studies to changing conditions. We then offer a mixed-methods analysis of the experiences of our Twitter users and how they saw the Coronavirus crisis shaping their use of Twitter. The essay thus offers a unique methodological and empirical vantage point on how social media use—and academic research—evolve during times of global uncertainty.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalSocial Media and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is funded by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft/German Research Foundation)—project number 290045248—SFB 1265.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • COVID-19
  • Israel
  • Twitter
  • crisis communication
  • survey research


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