Social networking sites such as Facebook are used for several disease specific information changes. They have become sources of knowledge, support and engagement especially for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes.
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One recent survey indicates patients search the Internet more frequently than they communicate with their doctors about health care questions
Recent research evaluated the qualitative information of discussions on Facebook pages dedicated to Diabetes. After a search on Facebook for diabetes they identified the 15 most recent “wall posts” from the 15 largest groups and the 15 most recent discussion topics from the 10 largest groups. The quotes were then aggregated into a database. In total they captured 233 wall posts comments and 457 discussion topics.
- 66% of posts sampled were about personal experiences with diabetes management and offered help like directions to websites, apps and such
- nearly one quarter (24%) of posts shared sensitive aspects of diabetes management unlikely to be revealed in doctor-patient interactions. Information such as how to count carbohydrates in type 1 diabetes to enable to extend alcoholic drinking sessions without risking physical problems
- Community building and interpersonal support. New diabetics posting questions and seasoned diabetics responding to help the new ones.
- Advertising is a prominent activity in all diabetes related discussions. In more than a quarter (27%) of all discussion and wallposts explicit product promotion was found. Advertising dietary supplements and even “natural cures”
Users gain interpersonal and community support from wallposts and discussion threads, they access forms of specialized knowledge on diabetes management from peers, and can articulate positive but realistic self images as diabetic individuals and a mobilized diabetic community.
Little dangerous information such as risky self medication, were supported in these Facebook pages. The biggest problem about social networking sites for chronic illness is the inability to verify the poster, also the trustworthiness of posts due to marketing aspects of posts on these pages poses a big problem. How trustworthy is the posted information? Moreover since most advertising is done by first person testimonials, and you need to have professional help to manage you marketing tools. Yo need to find the best web development companies that fits the type of company, service or product.
Similarly, individuals claiming to be graduate students conducting thesis research may turn out to be market researchers.
In short, it certainly has advantages, to my opinion, if your careful out there more positive than negative aspects. The negative aspects being the lack of the ability to verify the information and the poster.
Greene, J., Choudhry, N., Kilabuk, E., & Shrank, W. (2010). Online Social Networking by Patients with Diabetes: A Qualitative Evaluation of Communication with Facebook Journal of General Internal Medicine DOI: 10.1007/s11606-010-1526-3