Social media can serve as a platform for collective engagement with diverse affordances during crises. We explore how social media served this role by focusing on how online mental health discourse evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we examine shifts in collective affordance dynamics within the online mental health community using Twitter. A comprehensive dataset of mental health-related tweets from 2018 to 2022 was collected (N = 3,953,836) and analysed using Computationally Intensive Theory Discovery as a guiding methodology. A subset of 757 representative tweets were categorised into a cascading set of actor groups. Analysis uncovers that collective engagement transitioned from decentralised actor utilisation (pre-crisis) to centralised organisational utilisation (early-crisis), culminating in centralised actor utilisation (late-crisis). The study contributes theoretically to collective affordance knowledge by integrating dynamics in an online setting and practically by revealing key actors' evolution in shaping online discourse across crisis phases.
Kishore, Shohil; Sundaram, David; and Myers, Michael, "Unravelling Collective Social Media Affordance Dynamics During Crises: An Analysis of Online Mental Health Discourse" (2023). ACIS 2023 Proceedings. 56.