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Twitter and Public Health

  • By: Xialing Lin & Patric R. Spence
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Twitter ranked as one of the top three most used social networks, the fastest-growing member community site in early 2009, and the social media outlet continues to grow. By initially providing users the opportunity to post, read, and respond to text-based messages limited to 140 characters in length, Twitter creates a multimedia platform with constantly updated time lines. Users connect with each other by following or being followed without a technical or social reciprocal requirement, which is unique from other online social networking sites. Twitter expands the scope of online message accessibility and adaptability. Among adults, health-related information seeking online is common and Twitter and other social networks are a popular information source.

Health messages delivered on Twitter are often amplified by specific features of the ...

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