The club no one wants to join: Online behaviour on a breast cancer discussion forum

Ann Jaloba


An analysis of the posts on a U.K.-based breast cancer discussion forum suggests that the type of online discourse found in this area is topic-led not people-led. Most participants posted for a short time and then left the forums. Pre-existing social networks played no significant role – most people who came to this breast cancer forum did so because they did not have an offline network of people in a similar situation. The nature of interactions on such forums may suggest that the best model may be one where interaction is structured by topics and information and interaction is mediated through topical hierarchies.


discussion forums; peer support; breast cancer

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