For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, a Twitter Takeover involves a specific guest or guests posting from, or “taking over” an agreed upon social media account for a short period of time. For our Twitter Takeover, OARPG members took over the OA-INVOLVE Twitter account (@OA_INVOLVE) during the 2018 AGE-WELL Annual Conference from October 16-18 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. OARPG members who attended the conference and wanted to part-take in the Twitter Takeover could do so by tweeting and posting photos about their experiences to the OA-INVOLVE Twitter account. Some of the OA-INOLVE researchers were also on-hand to assist OARPG members in tweeting messages and posting photos.
During the conference, OARPG members tweeted spontaneous insights about their experiences with, and perspectives on, the conference activities. OARPG members included their initials at the beginning of their tweets to help identify themselves to OA-INVOLVE Twitter followers. For example, OARPG member Carole tweeted “CL: love the scientific talk about rural indigenous communities on Manitoulin Island. It made it really down to earth and human. And realized how much they rely on each other”.
Given the many activities at the conference, OARPG members tweeted about various experiences. Some of the OARPG members tweeted about how much they enjoyed speaking with the researchers presenting at the conference and learning first-hand about different projects in the field of technology research and development. Other OARPG members tweeted about their experiences in attending committee meetings and giving presentations at the conference. One OARPG member Ian tweeted, “IG: With #oarpg2018 Principal Susan Kirkland I attended the Older Adult and Caregiver Advisory Committee as a guest. I heard about strategies and efforts to ensure older adult participation in ongoing and future @AGEWELL_NCE projects.”
OA-INVOLVE and the OARPG are national groups that primarily meet online, as such, a face-to-face meeting with other members is rare. Many OARPG members enjoyed the opportunity to meet, interact, and bond with other OARPG members and the OA-INVOLVE researchers in person and demonstrated this through their Tweets. Carole shared this photo on the OA-INVOLVE Twitter account with the caption “This is the gang having a lovely lunch and bonding #OARPG2018 #AGEWELL2018”:
Based on our experience running this Twitter Takeover, we believe it was a successful participatory research tool with older adults. In addition to providing insights into older adult’s perspectives, experiences, and insights in attending the 2018 AGE-WELL Annual conference, it proved to be a very enjoyable and engaging experience for both researchers and OARPG members. Furthermore, we learned valuable insights in what is effective and ineffective in using a Twitter Takeover as a participatory research tool with older adults. We learned that providing training to older adults in learning how to tweet is essential in older adults feeling comfortable using Twitter. We also learned that a Twitter Takeover can be restrictive in who is able to feel engaged. For example, not all of our OARPG members were able to attend the conference which resulted in some members being unable to participate aside from following tweets. We plan to take these “lessons learned” into account for future Twitter Takeovers. Stay tuned for another Twitter Takeover event in late 2019!
To read more about our Twitter Takeover event please click on the following link: https://www.oa-involve-agewell.ca/our-reports.html
To check out the OA-INVOLVE Twitter Account click here: https://twitter.com/oa_involve
By Amanda Jenkins, University of Guelph and Ashley-Ann Marcotte, University of Dalhousie