ERIC Number: EJ1138997
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Health Risk Information Engagement and Amplification on Social Media: News about an Emerging Pandemic on Facebook
Strekalova, Yulia A.
Health Education & Behavior, v44 n2 p332-339 Apr 2017
Emerging pandemics call for unique health communication and education strategies in which public health agencies need to satisfy the public's information needs about possible risks while preventing risk exaggeration and dramatization. As a route to providing a framework for understanding public information behaviors in response to an emerging pandemic, this study examined the characteristics of communicative behaviors of social media audiences in response to Ebola outbreak news. Grounded in the social amplification of risks framework, this study adds to an understanding of information behaviors of online audiences by showing empirical differences in audience engagement with online health information. The data were collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Facebook channel. The final data set included 809 CDC posts and 35,916 audience comments. The analysis identified the differences in audience information behaviors in response to an emerging pandemic, Ebola, and health promotion posts. While the CDC had fewer posts on Ebola than health promotion topics, the former received more attention from active page users. Furthermore, audience members who actively engaged with Ebola news had a small overlap with those who engaged with non-Ebola information during the same period. Overall, this study demonstrated that information behavior and audience engagement is topic dependent. Furthermore, audiences who commented on news about an emerging pandemic were homogenous and varied in their degree of information amplification.
Descriptors: Health, Risk, Social Media, Communication Strategies, Diseases, Information Needs, Prevention, Disease Control, Guidelines, Information Sources, Health Behavior, Statistical Analysis, Audiences, Computer Mediated Communication
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A