Social Computing and Social Media Best Paper Award

Certificate for best paper award of the 13th International Conference on Social Computing and Social Media. Details in text following the image

Certificate for Best Paper Award of the 13th International Conference on Social Computing and Social Media

The award has been conferred to

Najmeh Khalili-Mahani, Sasha Elbaz (Concordia University, Canada),
Amber Pahayahay (University of Waterloo, Canada) and
Janis Timm-Bottos (Concordia University, Canada)

Najmeh Khalili-Mahani

for the paper entitled

"Role of Social Media in Coping with COVID-19 Stress: Searching for Intergenerational Perspectives"

Presented in the context of
HCI International 2021
24-29 July 2021

Paper Abstract
"The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated demand for screen-mediated social connections. The drivers of digitization of socialization are often young and social-media savvy individuals who wish to alleviate the stress of social isolation for seniors. To design successful programs, it is important to first consider intergenerational differences in both the experience of COVID-19 stress, and the affordances of technology. In this mixed-methods study, we aimed to investigate perceptual differences in how social media can assist older adults (65+) to cope with the COVID-19 stress. Data was obtained from two sources: A snow-ball survey (conducted between April - Sept 2020, n = 595); and scraping the public comments on mainstream media’s articles focusing on senior’s coping with the COVID-19 (7 sources, and 3390 valid comments). Quantitative analyses of age-related differences in attitudes towards social media, and changes in media usage after pandemic (in <25, 25–34, 35–54, 55–65, 65+ groups), indicated significant differences in what, why and how different age groups used the social media. Qualitative analyses of the comments revealed some intergenerational misunderstandings about one another’s coping needs. In general, older adults were less vulnerable to COVID-19 stress than were the younger, and technology was not their main resource for coping with social isolation. Nevertheless, communication technologies such as Zoom were important for connecting to older parents and grandchildren. These independent studies show that although technology plays an important role in keeping older adults connected, it does not address the stress of losing time to be together in person. These findings suggest that with the exception of Zoom, the usage of other social media for older adults has not changed from before the pandemic."

The full paper is available through SpringerLink, provided that you have proper access rights.