Online Discussion Forum as a Means of Peer Support

  • R. Halonen
Part of the Healthcare Delivery in the Information Age book series (Healthcare Delivery Inform. Age)


Today, information and communication technology has spread into our workplaces and living surroundings. In other words, the development of pervasive and ubiquitous Internet enables people to connect to services in places it was not possible a few years ago. This paper analyses and discusses social media as a means of peer support in www-based discussion forums that enable newspaper readers express their opinions and arguments in the media. At the time of swine flu approaching the country, we examined how the readers discussed the intriguing topic. During the study period, altogether 1,361 comments were given. The results reveal that people want to be heard or read and that they also seem to be eager to comfort each other.


Discussion forum Peer support Social media 



All those totally anonymous correspondents who openly posted their comments into the online discussion forum are acknowledged. The earlier version of this article was presented in the 3rd International Conference on Well-being in the Information Society and the fruitful comments of those present are warmly thanked.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information Processing ScienceUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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