Indexed on: 31 Oct '15Published on: 31 Oct '15Published in: Health promotion international
New media platforms, such as Twitter, provide the ideal opportunity to positively influence the health of large audiences. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest number of Twitter users of any country, some of whom are very influential in setting agendas and contributing to the dissemination of ideas. Those opinion leaders, both individuals and organizations, influential in the new media environment have the potential to raise awareness of health issues, advocate for health and potentially instigate change at a social level. To realize the potential of the new media platforms for public health, the function of opinion leaders is key. This study aims to identify and profile the most influential Twitter accounts in Saudi Arabia. Multiple measures, including: number of followers and four influence scores, were used to evaluate Twitter accounts. The data were then filtered and analysed using ratio and percentage calculations to identify the most influential users. In total, 99 Saudi Twitter accounts were classified, resulting in the identification of 25 religious men/women, 16 traditional media, 14 sports related, 10 new media, 6 political, 6 company and 4 health accounts. The methods used to identify the key influential Saudi accounts can be applied to inform profile development of Twitter users in other countries.