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Original Research

Hashtag usage and its pattern on selected health problems in social media

Rock Britto D, Neethu George, Prabhu R, Jayanth Murali K, Nethaji V, Jaya Shree.


Background: The use of social media to disseminate major communications particularly for campaigns related to health is becoming much popular. The usage of social media such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook is gaining an integral part and also becoming influential in public life.

Objectives: The objectives of the study were to study the pattern and characteristics of posts related to selected health issues (Zika and Dengue) in social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and the factors associated.

Materials and Methods: The study was cross-sectional and analyzed contents of four health-related posts such as #dengue, #dengue virus, #Zika, and #Zika virus. Public posts related to each were searched from three platforms and assessed separately. Source, publicity, credibility, reach outs, and other characteristics were assessed among each post and comparison also done among the three social media.

Results: Among the 3346 posts studied, 89.3% (1072) of Facebook posts, 90.6% (1087) of Twitter posts, and 56.6% (535) of Instagram posts were relevant to Zika and dengue.

Conclusion: Hashtag posts related to health in social media is considered as an effective method for spreading education among the public. Facebook posts were having higher popularity and were having more posts from verified accounts. Posts related to research were more in Twitter.

Key words: Dengue; Facebook; Hashtag; Instagram; Twitter; Zika

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