“I Have AIDS”: Content analysis of postings in HIV/AIDS support group on a Chinese microblog
Goh, Dion Hoe-Lian
Date of Issue2014
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
With the widespread growth and adoption of new technologies, online platforms such as social network sites (SNSs) have become a channel for health information. Online groups have been set up for communication and interaction, among which many are for people with chronic illnesses, including people with HIV/AIDS (PHA). In the study of online communication behavior, the social information processing theory (SIPT) predicted people will develop deeper interpersonal relationships in online groups over time (Walther, 1996). However, the author argued that CMC content should be examined more closely to get a dynamic picture of how people interaction and how groups develop over time. Thus this paper attempted to refine SIPT by enriching the framework with detailed components, and used directed content analysis to categorize messages posted on the PHA Support Group on Sina Weibo, a China-based microblog. The results showed that the percentage of socio-emotional messages saw an increase of almost 1/3 over time, taking over informational messages as the major content in all online postings. Medical related informational messages surpassed non-medical related informational messages as time went by. Intimacy relationship messages saw drastic increase in the two time periods. This study refined SIPT by providing increased granularity of its categorization scheme to examine group communication more closely.
Computers in human behavior
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Computers in Human Behavior, Elsevier Ltd. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.02.003].