Identifying Persuasive Qualities of Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Online Social Networks in Public Health
Online social networks as behavior change support systems have been rapidly gaining in popularity. These networks have been studied by public health specialists from the point of view of traditional behavior change theories. However, scant research exists on the persuasive content of the messages exchanged between participants in such networks. In this paper, we use Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model to develop a framework for identifying persuasive attributes in online social networks. This framework was applied to QuitNet, an online social network for smoking cessation. Results indicated that the communication in QuitNet had persuasive qualities such as reduction, simulation, social learning, reminders, suggestions, and rewards. Further, these features were predominantly found in messages related to “QuitNet-specific customs”, “Quit progress”, and “Family and friends”. Use of this framework enables the development of quantitative relationships between persuasive attributes and behavior change outcomes experienced by network members.
KeywordsSmoking Cessation Social Cognitive Theory Network Member Online Social Network Dialogue Support
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