Health Information Seeking and Social Media Use on the Internet among People with Diabetes

Ryan J Shaw, Constance M Johnson


Objective: To understand the online health information-seeking behaviors of people with diabetes, determine whether they utilize online social media, and to see if they would be willing to use these sites to discuss health information.

Design and sample: 57 participants were recruited from the South-Eastern US between June and October 2009 and asked to take an online survey. Participants were asked demographic data, information about their diabetes, and Internet and online social networking use.

Results: The majority of participants utilize popular online social networking sites and many would be willing to discuss health information online.

Conclusions: Popular online social networks and online social media have the potential to serve as important platforms for nursing and public health interventions. In particular, these venues may serve as appropriate tools to reach minority populations and people in rural areas. Further research is needed to understand how we can use these Internet sites to reach people directly where they are and for delivering diabetes education and support.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *