Analysis of Facebook Diabetes Group


network structure

Image 1: the post-comment structure of the Diabetes group

Background: Facebook has been perceived mostly as a platform for people networking with friends. Nevertheless, in recent years, a large number of online health communities have emerged on this platform. The project aimed at understanding users of the Facebook DIABETES group, one of the most active Facebook diabetes communities. We wanted to know who the users are and what activities they perform in the group.

Research method: I collected 1352 messages posted on the Facebook diabetes group by 479 unique message participants during a week to identify the characteristics of the group and users’ interactions. The messages were imported into the content analysis software Nvivo, and the qualitative content analysis method was employed to analyze the data.

Samples of main findings: 

  • Users’ interactions were structured around information, emotion, and community building.
  • The interactions impacted the users by cultivating social support, including informational, emotional, and appraisal support, imposing social influences, and providing a sense of companionship.

Image 2: message themes

Deliverables: We published a paper in the Journal of Medical Systems based on our research. If you are interested in this paper, please click here.