How does the public discuss gene-editing in agriculture? An analysis of Twitter content




Diffusion of innovation, social media monitoring, Meltwater, social systems


As people form their opinion about gene editing applications in agriculture, they are utilizing social media to seek and share information and opinions on the topic. Understanding how the public discusses this technology will influence the development of effective messaging and practitioner engagement in the conversation. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics of Twitter content related to applications of gene editing in agriculture. Social media monitoring facilitated a quantitative, descriptive analysis of public Twitter content related to the topic. A Meltwater social media monitor collected N = 13,189 relevant tweets for analysis, revealing the amount of conversation regarding gene editing in agriculture, the number of contributing Twitter users, and the reach of the conversation which was relatively stable over the life of the study. In contrast, engagement with the topic rose with the sentiment of tweets becoming increasingly positive. News organization accounts had the most reach while a mix of news accounts and personal accounts garnered the greatest engagement. These results demonstrate an opportunity for agricultural and science communicators to create affirmative messaging about gene editing in agriculture delivered through news media Twitter accounts potentially increasing the reach and engagement in the social system and with science communication.


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How to Cite

Hill, N., Meyers, C., Li, N., Doerfert, D., & Mendu, V. (2022). How does the public discuss gene-editing in agriculture? An analysis of Twitter content. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 3(2), 31–47.