Title: Comparing online community structure of patients of chronic diseases

Authors: Peter A. Gloor; Hanuma Teja Maddali; Peter A. Margolis

Addresses: MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, Cambridge, USA ' MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, Cambridge, USA ' Cincinnati Children's Medical Center, Cincinnati, USA

Abstract: In this paper, we use social media as a mirror to understand hidden characteristics of patients of chronic diseases, who are expressing themselves on Twitter, Facebook, and in online forums. We compare the social network structure and emotionality of people talking about Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and Type 1 diabetes. We find that the Crohn's community's contributors are most negative on social media, while patients of cystic fibrosis are surprisingly positive. We also notice more centralised network structure of Twitter retweet networks and Facebook wall post networks for cystic fibrosis and Crohn's than for Type 1 diabetes. This might indicate the strong leadership role played by their national foundations, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF).

Keywords: chronic diseases; online social media; comparative analysis; netnography; online community structure; patient communities; Twitter; Facebook; online forums; social networks; social network structure; emotionality; Crohn's disease; cystic fibrosis; Type 1 diabetes.

DOI: 10.1504/IJODE.2016.080161

International Journal of Organisational Design and Engineering, 2016 Vol.4 No.1/2, pp.113 - 136

Available online: 02 Nov 2016 *

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