Sharing #MeToo on Twitter: incidents, coping responses, and social reactions

Kimberly T. Schneider (Department of Psychology, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA)
Nathan J. Carpenter (School of Communication, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal

ISSN: 2040-7149

Publication date: 12 March 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine 2,102 #MeToo tweets and focuses on the content of the tweets and social reactions to these tweets. For a subsample of 912 tweets that included disclosures of sexual assault or harassment, the incident type and context, along with coping were also examined.

Design/methodology/approach

#MeToo tweets were retrieved from a 24 h time period immediately after the initial tweet prompting responses. Both sentiment analysis and content and context analyses were performed.

Findings

Although the overall sentiment of tweets indicated a negative tone, the majority of positive social reactions indicated validation and belief of survivors, offered emotional support and called for social change. Targets who disclosed generally described workplace harassment and assertive coping responses.

Research limitations/implications

Sentiment analysis can be limited given a lack of context. Not all targets using #MeToo shared details of their harassment or assault; those who did reported using more assertive coping responses than traditional samples of survivors.

Practical implications

Social media platforms offer unique opportunities for targets to share personal stories and receive emotional and social support they may not have access in-person.

Social implications

#MeToo provided targets with a groundswell of social and emotional support, along with a less frequent amount of backlash against the movement.

Originality/value

A multimethod approach was used with both sentiment analysis and text coding to examine #MeToo, allowing for a description of types of incidents shared, coping strategies and social reactions.

Keywords

Citation

Schneider, K. and Carpenter, N. (2019), "Sharing #MeToo on Twitter: incidents, coping responses, and social reactions", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-09-2018-0161

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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