“Spread is like wildfire”: Attracting and retaining attention in COVID19 science tweetorials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Digital spaces offer scientists new ways to share scientific knowledge with a broad public audience, in some cases leading to the emergence of new genres. This paper examines one new genre intended to inform a non-expert audience about scientific content: the informational tweet thread, or tweetorial. More specifically, the paper explores the rhetorical structure of 50 tweetorials on COVID19 content, focusing on how writers use rhetorical moves to share scientific information and to attract and retain readers’ attention in the content-saturated space of social media. The analysis identifies eight rhetorical moves that regularly appear in these COVID19 tweetorial introduction and body posts. The moves emphasize urgency through their focus on immediate exigencies and their repetition and recirculation throughout a thread. The study’s findings contribute to a growing body of research on public science genres and how they support the goals of Open Science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-205
Number of pages25
Issue number46
StatePublished - Dec 17 2023


  • digital genres
  • genre analysis
  • public science genres
  • rhetorical move analysis
  • tweetorial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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