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Enabling Community through Social Media


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This talk is based on the following paper:

Gruzd, A. & Haythornthwaite, C. (2013). Enabling Community through Social Media. Journal of Medical Internet Research 15(10):e248. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2796. PubMed PMID: 24176835.
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Enabling Community through Social Media

  1. 1. Enabling Community through Social Media Anatoliy Gruzd Associate Professor, Director of Social Media Lab Ryerson University Vancouver, BC Oct 24, 2015
  2. 2. Health Care Social Media Canada #hcsmca Twitter Community Gruzd, A. & Haythornthwaite, C. (2013). Enabling Community through Social Media. Journal of Medical Internet Research 15(10):e248. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2796. PubMed PMID: 24176835. 2Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd
  3. 3. Background • #hcsmca is a vibrant community of people interested in exploring social innovation in health care. We share and learn, and together we are making health care more open and connected • #hcsmca hosts a tweet chat every Wednesday at 1 pm ET. The last Wednesday of the month is our monthly evening chat at 9 pm ET. Source: 3Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd
  4. 4. Research questions 1. What accounts for the relative longevity of this particular online community? • Is it because of the founder’s leadership and her continuing involvement in this community? • Or is there a core group of members who are also actively and persistently involved in this community? 2. What is the composition of this community? Does one’s professional role/title determine a person’s centrality within this community. 4Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd
  5. 5. Step 1: Data Collection Data: Public Twitter messages that mentioned the #hcsmca hashtag/keyword Collection Period: November 12 – December 13, 2012 Software: Netlytic 5Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd
  6. 6. Topics Covered (1) Nov 14, 2012 T1: Challenge of engaging SM to inform a research agenda T2: Use of innovation, SM, and gamification to encourage uptake of self-care 6Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd
  7. 7. Topics Covered (2) Nov 21, 2012 T1 Healthcare blogs should we or shouldn’t we, what have we learned, what are the benefits? T2 Are healthcare blogs a useful tool for education and knowledge transfer? 7Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd
  8. 8. Topics Covered (3) Nov 28 2012 T1: How has social media made you healthier? Unhealthier? Has social media made our health choices more numerous and this overwhelming? T2: What messaging would motivate you to make a positive health change? Who would you listen to? 8Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd
  9. 9. Making Sense of Social Media Data 9 Social Media Data -> Visualizations -> Understanding Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd
  10. 10. Making Sense of Social Media Data Social Media Data -> Visualizations -> Understanding Nodes = People Edges /Ties (lines) = Relations/ “Who talks to whom” Social Network Analysis (SNA)
  11. 11. Automated Discovery of Online Social Networks Example: Tweets @John @Peter @Paul Nodes = People Ties = “Who retweeted/ replied/mentioned whom” Tie strength = The number of retweets, replies or mentions 11Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd
  12. 12. Network visualization in Netlytic: 12Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd #hcsmca Communication Network on Twitter (Nov 12 - Dec 13)
  13. 13. #hcsmca Communication Network on Twitter (Nov 12 - Dec 13) *Roles are assigned manually Roles Count SM health content providers 110 Unaffiliated individual users 89 Communicators - not specifically health related 74 Communicators - Health related 59 Healthcare professionals 50 Health institutions 31 Advocacy 30 Students 16 Educators, professors 13 Researchers 10 Government and health policy makers 4 Node size = In-Degree Centrality 13Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd
  14. 14. • Nodes are automatically grouped based on their roles • No apparent clustering among people in the same role (notice cross-group ties) Procedure: Analysis of Variance Density Test using UCINET 14Anatoliy Gruzd Twitter: @gruzd #hcsmca Communication Network on Twitter (Nov 12 - Dec 13)
  15. 15. Conclusions • Leaders and core participants can seed a network by altruistic or proactive use that, initially, provides more benefit to others than they receive in return. • However, for long-term sustainability that persists beyond leadership change, the network needs to grow in a way that distributes leadership and participation beyond single leaders. • More prominent actors are engaged in multiple networks relating to health matters. As these actors also bridge networks, they are able to carry the message of the network to others. • Peripheral participants represent untapped resources for the network. Finding out what motivates such participants can help identify those who will make contributions in the future and thus how to bring their participation into the community.