Finding information about mental health in microblogging platforms: a Case study of depression
Wilson, Max L. and Ali, Susan Abubakir and Valstar, Michel F. (2014) Finding information about mental health in microblogging platforms: a Case study of depression. In: 5th Information Interaction in Context Symposium (IIiX'14), 26-29 August 2014, Regensburg, Germany.
Official URL: http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2637002.2637006
Searching for online health information has been well studied in web search, but social media, such as public microblogging services, are well known for different types of tacit information: personal experience and shared information. Finding useful information in public microblogging platforms is an on-going hard problem and so to begin to develop a better model of what health information can be found, Twitter posts using the word “depression” were examined as a case study of a search for a prevalent mental health issue. 13,279 public tweets were analysed using a mixed methods approach and compared to a general sample of tweets. First, a linguistic analysis suggested that tweets mentioning depression were typically anxious but not angry, and were less likely to be in the first person, indicating that most were not from individuals discussing their own depression. Second, to un-derstand what types of tweets can be found, an inductive thematic analysis revealed three major themes: 1) dissemi-nating information or link of information, 2) self-disclosing, and 3) the sharing of overall opinion; each had significantly different linguistic patterns. We conclude with a discussion of how different types of posts about mental health may be retrieved from public social media like Twitter.
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