Title

Chinese Social Media Reaction to Information about 42 Notifiable Infectious Diseases

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-6-2015

Publication Title

PLoS ONE

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0126092

ISSN

1932-6203

Abstract

This study aimed to identify what information triggered social media users’ responses regarding infectious diseases. Chinese microblogs in 2012 regarding 42 infectious diseases were obtained through a keyword search in the Weiboscope database. Qualitative content analysis was performed for the posts pertinent to each keyword of the day of the year with the highest daily count. Similar posts were grouped and coded. We identified five categories of information that increased microblog traffic pertaining to infectious diseases: news of an outbreak or a case; health education / information; alternative health information / Traditional Chinese Medicine; commercial advertisement / entertainment; and social issues. News unrelated to the specified infectious diseases also led to elevated microblog traffic. Our study showcases the diverse contexts from which increased social media traffic occur. Our results will facilitate better health communication as causes underlying increased social media traffic are revealed.

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