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Is tweeting golden for seniors?

April 28, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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Seniors are learning how to tweet, and college students are learning whether Twitter affects seniors’ emotions, mood and behavior.

Ten speech pathology graduate student clinicians at Illinois State University have been making weekly trips to Westminster Village, a continuing care retirement community in Bloomington, Ill., as part of the brand-new golden tweets clinical research project.

Westminster residents, with the help of their student clinicians, were assigned specific tasks to complete, such as choosing a profile picture, retweeting, following new accounts or organizations, investigating current trends and using hashtags. Residents learned about trending topics of the moment but allowed them to choose what they wanted to view and share. Some even found and connected with family members and friends.

Student clinicians will administer a standardized post-assessment to see if there are any changes in participants’ emotion, language and cognitive function since the project began. Results from the first golden tweets cohort are expected in the fall, and the project is expected to continue for semesters to come. Jennine Harvey-Northrop, PhD, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders and Caleb Carr, PhD, assistant professor of communication led the research.

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