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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Demographic-Based Content Analysis of Web-Based Health-Related Social Media



JMIR- open access

related:

This study shows that examination is a hot topic for users with breast cancer, whereas symptoms are more likely to be discussed by users with lung cancer. Wiley et al [13] analyzed the content of drug-related chatter on various social media forums. The study demonstrates that Web-based social media's characteristics such as moderation affect the discussions in different ways including subjectivity and type of drugs discussed.
Background: An increasing number of patients from diverse demographic groups share and search for health-related information on Web-based social media. However, little is known about the content of the posted information with respect to the users’ demographics.

Objective: The aims of this study were to analyze the content of Web-based health-related social media based on users’ demographics to identify which health topics are discussed in which social media by which demographic groups and to help guide educational and research activities.

Methods: We analyze 3 different types of health-related social media: (1) general Web-based social networks Twitter and Google+; (2) drug review websites; and (3) health Web forums, with a total of about 6 million users and 20 million posts. We analyzed the content of these posts based on the demographic group of their authors, in terms of sentiment and emotion, top distinctive terms, and top medical concepts.

Results: The results of this study are: (1) Pregnancy is the dominant topic for female users in drug review websites and health Web forums, whereas for male users, it is cardiac problems, HIV, and back pain, but this is not the case for Twitter; (2) younger users (0-17 years) mainly talk about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression-related drugs, users aged 35-44 years discuss about multiple sclerosis (MS) drugs, and middle-aged users (45-64 years) talk about alcohol and smoking; (3) users from the Northeast United States talk about physical disorders, whereas users from the West United States talk about mental disorders and addictive behaviors; (4) Users with higher writing level express less anger in their posts.

Conclusion: We studied the popular topics and the sentiment based on users' demographics in Web-based health-related social media. Our results provide valuable information, which can help create targeted and effective educational campaigns and guide experts to reach the right users on Web-based social chatter.

J Med Internet Res 2016;18(6):e148

doi:10.2196/jmir.5327

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