Variation in Health Blog Features and Elements By Gender, Occupation, and Perspective

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Review Article

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This study explores whether there are gender and occupational differences in the health blogosphere and whether there are differences by blogger perspective. Data were derived from content analysis of 951 health blogs identified between June 2007 and May 2008. Results indicate that male, physician bloggers were more likely to have blogs that feature a SiteMeter, sponsorship, and advertising, which also were more prevalent among those blogging from a professional perspective. Women, bloggers in non-health-related employment, and patient/consumer and caregiver bloggers were more likely to blog about disease and disability; men, bloggers in health-related employment, and professional bloggers were more likely to blog about provider experiences, health research/news, and health policy, business, law, and technology. Because the Internet is becoming a primary source of health information, establishing normative guidelines regarding information quality, patient privacy, and conflicts of interest is essential. Future research should build on these findings using national surveys of health bloggers and textual analysis of blog content.



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