How epidemiologists exploit the emerging genres of twitter for public engagement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


With the COVID-19 global pandemic, epidemiologists and other public health professionals have become important sources of insight for the general public. One popular means for reaching public audiences is the microblog Twitter. Understanding how prominent professionals tweet–and what might contribute to the visibility or reach of their tweets–can reveal insights into the emerging digital genres scientists use for communicating across specialist and non-specialist domains. Toward that aim, this study examines the use of Twitter by ten epidemiologists during a one-month period in 2020, focusing specifically on those with a strong following on the platform. The research analyzes 143 high- and low-engagement tweets in several genre-related areas: tweet types and elements; tweet topics, purposes, and audiences; and author identities. The study demonstrates that “tweeting science” involves the use of a range of emerging Twitter genres and identities that together engage diverse audiences for purposes. The paper also discusses the implications of this research for genre theory and ESP instruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-16
Number of pages13
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Digital genres
  • Emerging academic genres
  • Genre analysis
  • Public science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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