Category / BU research

Conversation article: Why the UK government is paying social media influencers to post about coronavirus

biD LTasgY/unsplash

Elvira Bolat, Bournemouth University

Social media influencers are often seen as lazy freelancers who make a living being paid to pretend they like products. But these “celebrities’” are more than just marketing vehicles. If used properly, they can be effective agents of positive social change.

Yet the UK government has taken a bold step by working with influencers to try to stop the spread of coronavirus. It has paid several social media influencers and reality TV stars to promote the NHS test and trace service – the system used when someone tests positive for COVID-19 to work out who else might be at risk after coming in contact with them. The service relies on local public health teams contacting those that may be potentially infected to ask them to self-isolate and test for the virus. However, to date, the service is failing to deliver. This is for many reasons, one of which is the public’s reluctance to share their contact details.

When the system failed to reach its target for the ninth week in a row, the government decided to change strategy. This is when it brought in social media players such as Love Island stars Shaughna Phillips, Josh Denzel and Chris Hughes. Phillips, who has 1.5 million followers on her Instagram, posted a photo of her with a friend, reminding her followers that “the best way for us all to get back to doing the things we love” is by getting tested for coronavirus. She reminded fans that the test and trace service is “totally free, quick and is vital to stop the spread of coronavirus” and told them about her experience of using the testing service.

Phillips, just like other influencers involved in this campaign, was paid for her posts. While the government hasn’t revealed how much was spent on the campaign, it claims “over 7 million people have been reached” with the messages.

Typically a mega influencer who has more than a million followers will be paid around £10,000 per post so, of course, there was a debate about whether taxpayers’ money should be used in this way.

However, the right public health messaging doesn’t always reach young people. They are often less engaged with mainstream traditional communication channels such as TV, radio and press. Paying popular influencers to promote credible public health messaging is a genuine alternative if the government wants to reach young people.

Powerful but ordinary

The impact social media influencers have – on young people in particular – is beyond doubt. And their clout is particularly strong now that we’re spending more time at home online.

Of course, their power is most readily associated with commercial interests. The rise of the influencer has transformed the beauty and fashion industries beyond recognition. Finding the right star to endorse your product on their Instragram or TikTok feed, can make or break a brand these days.

They achieve these results by presenting themselves as an approachable “friend” to their social media followers. They have a greater than average potential to influence others because they build a special, intimate bond with their followers by posting content very regularly and communicating with their audience directly. When a fan leaves a comment on an influencer’s post and receives a reply, they feel like they have a relationship with them, which reinforces the influencer’s ability to market products.

In our survey of 465 young people, we found that social media influencers’ content and their “authentic” behaviours are linked to consumers’ tendencies to buy products spontaneously without reflection.

Unlike traditional celebrities, who often keep their private lives behind closed doors, social media influencers discuss personal experiences, good or bad, with their followers. They see such sharing as more sincere and trustworthy than content coming from elsewhere.

Beyond these commercial activities, however, influencers have more recently been seen pushing followers to engage with social issues. Audiences are interested in influencers who engage in activism and who take a stand on issues. This has been particularly in evidence during the Black Lives Matter movement, when fans looked to social media stars for meaningful statements and positions and even demanded it of them when they were not forthcoming.

In our work around relationships between influencers and followers, we have found that many young people are interested in social media stars who seek to drive change rather than just sell products. This, combined with the personal approach, is what makes influencers an attractive prospect for a government trying to reach young people. If someone like Phillips talks about test and trace on Instagram, young people are likely to react and act.

The World Health Organization has been using influencer marketing techniques in its coronavirus messaging since April. It has gone a step further by using a CGI influencer called Knox Frost to “get accurate, vetted information about COVID-19 in front of millennials and Gen Z”. The computer-generated 20-year-old has been posting to just under a million Instagram followers about coronavirus safety and raising funding for the WHO.

In times when the economy is suffering, many might question why the UK government is paying social media stars to promote test and trace services. In reality, spending of this kind has enormous potential to deliver a positive impact. As our studies show, influencers are powerful in shaping the behaviour of their followers. Until now, this was mainly done in the commercial sphere to drive consumption, but now we are seeing more positive uses for their high profiles.

Elvira Bolat, Principal Academic in Marketing, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

REF 2021 – voluntary staff disclosure form for individual circumstances

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) Guidance on Submissions sets out the measures that HEIs are required to put in place to support staff with individual circumstances, recognising that circumstances can have an impact on productivity. This includes creating safe and supportive structures for enabling staff to declare voluntarily any relevant circumstances, putting in place processes to adjust expectations of an individual’s contribution to the unit’s output pool (where the individual is entitled to a reduction), and ensuring staff are treated fairly. BU’s REF Code of Practice (CoP) contains established procedures to ensure that individuals are able to voluntarily disclose their individual circumstances so that we can take account in preparing our submission. As a consequence we are contacting every REF eligible member of staff to give them a further opportunity to make a voluntary disclosure – given that this is the second window of opportunity, it is primarily aimed at capturing any disclosures from staff appointed between November 2019 and 31 July 2020, and for staff whose circumstances have changed.

The Staff Disclosure Form for Individual Circumstances may be downloaded here. We wish to encourage colleagues to submit a form if they believe individual circumstances have affected their ability to undertake research effectively during the period. Please note that an additional provision to incorporate circumstances related to Covid-19 in the reduction process for removing the minimum of one output requirement has been added and included within the updated Staff Disclosure Form for Individual Circumstances.

Completion and return of the form is voluntary; individuals will not be required to do so if they do not wish to. This form is the only means by which we will be gathering this information; we will not be consulting any hardcopy or electronic records held by Human Resources, contract start dates, etc. You should therefore complete and return the form if any of the circumstances apply and you are willing to provide the associated information.

The form provides guidance on the purpose for collecting the information, applicable individual circumstances, the steps we will take to ensure confidentiality and how to submit the form.

If you have submitted a form following the closure of the first window of submission in January 2020, you do not need to submit a further form. You will be contacted via email within one week to confirm receipt.

If you have any questions regarding individual circumstances you can email REFcirc@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Forms should be submitted to the REF circumstances mailbox at REFCirc@bournemouth.ac.uk no later than midnight Friday 16 October 2020. Alternatively the form may be posted, marked confidential and for the attention of Sally Driver, Human Resources, Melbury House, 1-3 Oxford Road, Bournemouth, BH8 8ES.

If you wish to receive the form in an alternative format please email REFCirc@bournemouth.ac.uk or phone 01202 961133.

You can access information about BU’s REF preparation via the Research Blog and if you have any general enquiries regarding the REF you can email ref@bournemouth.ac.uk. For more information about the REF 2021 nationally please visit http://ref.ac.uk/.

Procedures for late submission of external research and KE applications

The procedures for late submissions of external research and knowledge exchange applications has been updated in line with strategic guidance from UET to ensure that quality applications are submitted and adhere to BU’s financial regulations. The updated procedure can be found on the staff intranet here. The Faculty Executive Deans and Deputy Deans for Research and Professional Practice have provided input and their support to the procedure.

RDS will endeavour to support and submit all applications where possible. We recognise that some funders will give short-notice of a call and that there may be other circumstances where sufficient notice cannot be given. However, all applications, regardless of time to submit, have to go through the same costing and approval process and there is an expectation that only good quality and competitive applications should be submitted. Applicants should also note that time has to be factored in for Faculty Executives and/or UET to read and sign-off final submissions (these are busy people who spend a lot of time in meetings). RDS will be flexible where we can for those exceptional cases.

If you have any queries then please contact Jo Garrad, RDS Funding Development Manager.

PhD student paper out in print today

Congratulations to FHSS Social Worker Dr. Orlanda Harvey, whose Ph.D. paper ‘Support for non-prescribed anabolic androgenic steroids users: a qualitative exploration of their needs’ published this week in the journal Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy [1].  

Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) are used by the general population (particularly male gym users) for their anabolic effects (increased muscle mass). Few studies have sought AAS users’ views on what information and support they need. This study focuses on ideal support wanted by people who use AAS. Interviews were conducted with 23 self-declared adult AAS users. Using thematic analysis, six themes were identified aligned to support and information wanted by AAS users: (1) specific types of information wanted: managing risks, (2) mechanisms for communication of advice, (3) specific types of support wanted: medical and emotional, (4) stigmatisation of people who use AAS, (5) paying for support services, (6) legality of AAS use.

This interesting qualitative piece of work was submitted over one year ago (August 2019) it was accepted by the journal late last year (13th Dec ember 2019 and published online the following months.  It has taken from January 2020 till mid-September to appear in the print issue!

The paper is co-authored by Orlanda’s supervisors: Dr. Margarete Parrish, Dr. Steven Trenoweth and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen.  Moreover, this is Orlanda’s third paper from her thesis research,  her systematic literature review has been published in BMC Public Health [2] and a further findings papers  has been submitted to an academic journal.

 

References:

  1. Harvey, O., Parrish, M., van Teijlingen, E., Trenoweth, S. (2020) Support for non-prescribed Anabolic Androgenic Steroids users: A qualitative exploration of their needs Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy 27:5, 377-386. doi 10.1080/09687637.2019.1705763
  2. Harvey, O., Keen, S., Parrish, M., van Teijlingen, E. (2019) Support for people who use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids: A Systematic Literature Review into what they want and what they access. BMC Public Health 19: 1024 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7288-x https://rdcu.be/bMFon

Using Drama and Storytelling in Dementia Care

 

Irma Konovalova, Danielle Wyman, Dr Ben Hicks and Prof Jan Wiener, members of the ADRC, have been working on ERASMUS+ funded project ‘Using Drama and Storytelling in Dementia Care’. This project has demonstrated the potential for creative psychosocial initiatives to support well-being in people with dementia and their care partners. The team have been working in collaboration with people with dementia to develop a storytelling and creative drama programme that aimed to enhance communication within this population and promote a positive sense of identity.

The Story2Remember team have produced the third output “Storytelling and alternative communication methods in dementia care: Toolkit for family members”. This toolkit aims to enhance the skills of family members of people with dementia through the use of  storytelling as well as alternative communication methods. The toolkit includes a brief description of the most common situations in which communication difficulties may arise, it describes how storytelling and alternative communication methods can be used in these situations and provides step by step guidelines to implement activities that can support communication between people with dementia and their family.

We asked dementia professionals from the partnering countries, England, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria, to review this toolkit and provide their feedback. Professionals identified it as a useful toolkit to support communication between family members and people with dementia. They thought it is well supported by empirical evidence and suggested that this toolkit provides new and alternative ways to communicate with people with dementia that may stimulate memories and positive feelings. One of the professionals reported: “the activities that have been created and outlined at the end of the booklet are an excellent way of developing communication and enhancing the caring relationship between the person with dementia and the family member”. Some professionals also suggested that this toolkit raises awareness of the importance of communication.

Reviewers also commented on how professional and engaging look of the toolkit looks and that it has been written and designed very well. There are a lot of useful tips for family members and practitioners to enhance their communication techniques with people with dementia and it has been tailored to specific difficulties people with dementia and their family may encounter throughout the progress of dementia. The toolkit emphasises individual differences and encouraged people to address them. Reviewers also enjoyed the case study examples of people using story-telling communication techniques to support the person with dementia: “These added some real-life examples to the text and helped to show how they can work in practice”. They suggested that the communication methods encourage originality and creativity.

Reviewers liked the novel ideas and suggestions to support communication, especially the Adventures: “I think the Adventures are excellent and provide a really useful, creative and engaging mechanism for family members to communicate with the person with dementia. I think these activities will be of real benefit to family members who find it difficult to communicate with the person with dementia and are struggling for activities to engage them. This is likely to be even more pertinent in the current global context, where people are self-isolating at home and are likely to be in desperate need of mental, physical and emotional stimulation”.

Professionals also highlighted some areas for improvement that could be addressed in the future. For example, some practitioners mentioned that it may become challenging to use some of the suggested strategies once dementia is more advanced. They wanted more information about how to adapt communication strategies to different stages of dementia, especially if people with dementia eventually loose the ability to communicate. It may have also been useful to address the emotional impact that the progression of dementia has on family members and care partners and how these emotions can be managed.

Even though majority of professionals suggested that the toolkit is very easy to follow and that it is written clearly and contains a logical flow to it, there were suggestions about how the large amount of information provided by the toolkit could be presented in a more accessible format, for example by providing links within the text and by avoiding terms such as ‘personhood’ and ‘PwD’, especially for the lay audience.

Generally, however, the reviewers provided very positive feedback, reporting that the toolkit met their expectations and the content was excellent. They emphasised how much they enjoyed reviewing the toolkit and how novel it was.

Thank you for your research, implementation and desire for improvement of the tool!”

I am really glad that this new approach has been taken for the benefit of people with dementia and family members. It is a tool for all family members who care for people with dementia, whether they are in the early or advanced stages of the disease.”

“Thank you for the shared experience!”

I think this is a really excellent project that demonstrates the importance of creative initiatives to support the well-being of people with dementia and their family members. It will be important to publicise the toolkit widely and so ensure that family members develop the knowledge and skills to run these beneficial activities”.

The toolkit can be downloaded on the project website: https://story2remember.eu/

New CMMPH midwifery paper

Today the European Journal of Midwifery published our paper ‘Midwives’ views towards women using mHealth and eHealth to self-monitor their pregnancy: A systematic review of the literature’.  There are many apps to help women to monitor aspects of their own pregnancy and maternal health. This literature review aims to understand midwives’ perspectives on women self-monitoring their pregnancy using eHealth and mHealth, and establish gaps in research. mHealth (mobile health) is the use of mobile devices, digital technologies for health, health analytics, or tele-health, whilst eHealth (electronic health) is the health care supported by electronic processes.

It established that midwives generally hold ambivalent views towards the use of eHealth and mHealth technologies in antenatal care. Often, midwives acknowledged the potential benefits of such technologies, such as their ability to modernise antenatal care and to help women make more informed decisions about their pregnancy. However, midwives were quick to point out the risks and limitations of these, such as the accuracy of conveyed information, and negative impacts on the patient-professional relationship.  The authors conclude that with COVID-19 making face-to-face maternity service provision more complicated and with technology is continuously developing, there is a compelling need for studies that investigate the role of eHealth and mHealth in self-monitoring pregnancy, and the consequences this has for pregnant women, health professionals and organisations, as well as midwifery curricula.

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

Reference:

  1. Vickery, M., Way, S., Hundley, V., Smith, G., van Teijlingen, E., Westwood G. (2020) Midwives’ views women’s use of mHealth and eHealth to self-monitor their pregnancy: A systematic review of the literature, European Journal of Midwifery 4: 36 DOI: https://doi.org/10.18332/ejm/126625

500 citations!

I have recently checked my Google Scholar profile and I was delighted to see that one of my papers has received a landmark number of citations – 500.

The paper was published in 2014 in co-authorship with Professors Scott Cohen (formerly at BU and now at the University of Surrey, UK) and Girish Prayag (University of Canterbury, NZ).

Focusing on a review of the literature of one of the most, if not the most researched topic in tourism – consumer behaviour -, and published in a high ranked Journal, I always felt the paper could do well, but never imagined that it could get so much traction.

The paper is scheduled to be part of the forthcoming REF submission.

PGR Peer Support Brightspace Unit

The PGR Peer Support area has just been launched and is now accessible for PGRs from your Brightspace homepage. The area will provide a forum to connect with others, ask questions and share advice about the PGR journey.

Within the PGR Peer Support area, under the heading of Peer-led Content, there is a series of interviews with current PGRs and graduates from BU. These video blogs will shed some light on the research milestones and common challenges.

In addition to this, there are Discussion Boards where you can ask questions or respond to others, post information about key events or calls for research participants too. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions tab, this will be populated with common questions from the discussion boards. This will create a repository of key questions with useful links to quickly solve small queries.

Please explore the area and engage with other PGRs. If you have any questions or suggestions for additional content you would find useful, please email Chloe Casey at ccasey@bournemouth.ac.uk.

The provision of nutritional advice and care for cancer patients

Prof Jane Murphy from the ADRC and Lead of the Professionals Workstream for the NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration Research has just published the largest UK survey looking at the provision of nutritional care for cancer patients across a wide range of health care professionals has just been published in Supportive Care in Cancer. See below for details:

https://rdcu.be/b68QL

FHSS PhD student’s poster at prestigious GLOW conference

Today and tomorrow Sulochana Dhakal-Rai will have her poster ‘Factors contributing to rising Caesarean Section rates in South Asia: a systematic review’ online at this year’s GLOW Conference [Global Women’s Research Society Conference].  This year for the first time, this international conference is held completely online.  Sulochana’s PhD project is supervised by Dr. Pramod Regmi, P., Dr. Juliet Wood and Prof Edwin van  Teijlingen at BU with Prof. Ganesh Dangal [Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Kathmandu Model Hospital] who acts as local supervisor in Nepal.  Sulochana has already published two papers from her on-going thesis research [1-2].

References

  1. Dhakal-Rai, S., Regmi, PR, van Teijlingen, E, Wood, J., Dangal G, Dhakal, KB. (2018) Rising Rate of Caesarean Section in Urban Nepal, Journal of Nepal Health Research Council 16(41): 479-80.
  2. Dhakal Rai, S., Poobalan, A., Jan, R., Bogren, M., Wood, J., Dangal, G., Regmi, P., van Teijlingen, E., Dhakal, K.B., Badar, S.J., Shahid, F. (2019) Caesarean Section rates in South Asian cities: Can midwifery help stem the rise? Journal of Asian Midwives, 6(2):4–22.

New corporate governance book by BU scholar published

Associate Professor Donald Nordberg has published a new book, The Cadbury Code and Recurrent Crisis: A Model for Corporate Governance? (Palgrave Macmillan). It’s a critical examination of the origins of the UK code of corporate governance and how the code developed – and failed to develop – through repeated crises in corporate governance.

The 1992 Cadbury Code was a watershed in corporate governance, and not just in the UK. It influenced practice in many countries around the world, as well as the practices of many types of organisation outside the sphere of corporations listed on stock markets.

Reviewing the book, Andrew Johnstone, professor of company law at the University of Warwick, said: “This is a fascinating book, tracing the development of the UK Corporate Governance Code and highlighting its continuity through successive crises. At the same time, it identifies areas of controversy and challenge, intriguingly suggesting that ‘defeated logics’ are merely suspended, perhaps poised to return. Essential interdisciplinary reading for all those interested in the UK’s corporate governance system.”

Business school student-staff co-creation paper to be published in IJDG

Rebecca Booth (MSc, BU) and Associate Professor Donald Nordberg have produced another publication from work arising from Booth’s dissertation from the corporate governance programme taught on Guernsey. The International Journal of Disclosure and Governance (Palgrave) has accepted their qualitative study “Self or other: Directors’ attitudes towards policy initiatives for external board evaluation”, doi: 10.1057/s41310-020-00094-x. This is the second journal article to emerge from the study. In addition, the pair wrote a technical report last year for the New York-based think-tank The Conference Board Inc. and contributed to a consultation run by the UK Financial Reporting Council about the corporate governance code. The study’s insights also featured in a report published in 2019 by Minerva Analytics, a firm specialising in proxy voting research across Europe.

Early Career Researcher – NERC Paleo Seminar Series

From 8th September, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) are launching a weekly zoom for early career researchers working in the broad field of Paleo sciences.

PERCS (Paleo EaRly Career Seminars) is a weekly seminar series that promotes and features work by Early Career Researchers in a range of paleo sciences including paleontology, paleoecology, paleoceanography and paleoclimatology. While the speakers will be Early Career Researchers, the seminar is for people at every career stage. PERCS take place on Zoom, and consist of a live streamed short (~30 min) seminar followed by a Q&A session and an opportunity for small group discussion and networking with other attendees using break-out rooms. Recordings of most PERCS will be available to participants unable to attend live seminars. Seminars are (mostly) weekly on Tuesdays at 1500 UTC. PERCS are intended as a venue to share research, strengthen our global community, and facilitate collaboration between the Palaeo sciences. All palaeo-researchers and fans (regardless of career stage) are enthusiastically welcome.

NERC strive towards diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility with a diverse line-up of speakers from around the world, and a strong commitment towards fostering an inclusive environment. They also implement live auto-captions, and have both synchronous and asynchronous viewing options.

To be added to the email list that receives seminar invitations and announcements, please review their code of conduct and then sign up through a google form. 

The full schedule of events and the speakers/topics is available on the website. https://paleopercs.com/.