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Alexis Dane

Instructor: Sarah Haak

English 1510

10 October 2017

Academic Analysis on Social Networks, Social Media and Social Diseases

Enrico Coiera is an Australian director at the University of New South Wales. Coiera

wrote the article Social Networks, Social Media, And Social Diseases it is a scholarly article

written about how social media can help with health care and how we possibly treat some types

of social diseases with the use of social media. The article mentions how there is a fear of social

media being in the medical field with privacy issues. He believes that technology has the

capability to shape things from the way we treat disease from the way we research about disease.

Coiera mentions in the article social media could have an even stronger role, enabling us to treat

socially shaped diseases such as obesity, depression, diabetes, and heart disease(Coiera). After

he mentions this he brings up the process of social contagion, this is where people tend to have

friends with the same types of interests and beliefs. This is how Coiera believes social media

might help with treating some social diseases, because if one person does something to aid in

their health the other friends would want to do it as well. The article was written in 2013 when

social media was a big thing to be a part of. Throughout the article he brings up topics such as:

the current use of social media in healthcare, social network, network therapy and he ends the

article with the potential dangers of bringing social media into healthcare.

2013 was a growing year for technology so researchers put out an online survey on what

social media or networks patients and professionals used and studies show that 59.9% of patients

use twitter for increasing knowledge and exchanging advice, 52.3% used Facebook particularly
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for social support and exchanging advice. Then professionals primarily used the app LinkedIn

70.7% and 51.2% for communication with their colleagues and marketing reasons (Antheunis).

The year 2013 showed a growth of social media becoming involved in the medical field this

could be why Coiera wanted to spread the idea about social media being in the medical field,

because of this you can see that some of his ideas have shown up. Coieras piece wants people to

know for network medicine to work the spread of the disease must be mediated by social

networks, the offline networks can be manipulated to treat the disease, online social networks

can mirror the offline networks and then substitute for them, and the online networks can be

manipulated to change the behaviors that cause the disease (Coiera). What he is saying here is

that for his ideas to work certain things have to happen because social media cannot help the

spread of these disease on their own, they have to be manipulated. The piece is worried about

that when it comes to online social media, the technical and the social are becoming one. If we

can directly harness social media to change the behaviors that lead to disease, then the medium

becomes the medicine (Coiera). This could possibly mean that the social world and the

technical are coming together to help aid and help the media portray good behaviors that lead to

the change in the way we portray the disease causing us to better ourselves. One could also

interpret this as if the social and technical worlds come together that it could aid in the

development of our medical field but also have a negative effect on the privacy of people's

medical history.

The biggest point that Coiera touches on is that social media can help with some social

diseases and how social media is being used in the medical field. Social media are already being

used in many different ways across the health sector allowing old things to be done in new ways

and creating entirely new models of delivering care (Coiera). Social media is being used in the
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health field already with people using social media to help fund their treatments like GoFundMe

and contacting famous people to see if they will help donate to the people in need. The most

common use of social media in the medical field is people using social media for support groups.

Looking deeper into the text Coiera always lists pros and cons on the ideas inside of the text for

example, he mentions that social media is used to share medical information with the public but

they have found that people are having privacy issues. Although this can be beneficial people are

becoming frightened by the lack of security. The thing that stands out the most in this article is

social cognition. Social cognition is put in the middle of the page and it is talking about how

people alter their behaviors to match what their peers are doing, this is one of the ways the author

talks about curing social diseases with the help from social cognition, the placement of the topic

makes it more noticeable and important.

People that read this article might say that the way it is formatted would help with how

the piece is read. We can assume that Coiera designed the layout of the text like a magazine,

because of layout it makes it easier to read and it makes it harder to get lost. He may have also

designed the layout of the text like this for younger viewers to see the lay out and catch their eye.

The text starts out with Coiera telling the readers what exactly he wants them to know then at the

end he states his hypothesis, this means his piece is deductive. The piece is also straightforward

with him telling the reader everything that he wants you to believe about the topic.

This piece shows the advantages of having a social factor like social networks in the

medical field today showing that if we did not have them people wouldnt be as knowledgeable

of what medical advantages we have today for example because of social media being in the

medical field we can easily look up online to see if the red cross is on a blood shortage or if we

are feeling ill, we can look up our symptoms to see if it could potentially be serious. We also
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have online support groups for some patients that might have rare diseases, this allows them to

connect with others online who might be thousand miles away with the same illness. If we didnt

have this advantage of social networks being in our medical field we would have a lot more

unnecessary problems today.

Overall Enrico Coieras article leaves the readers to interpret their own opinion from

people believing that social media is safe in the medical field to people thinking that it should not

come anywhere near the field. In his article he bring up the ideas that social networks and social

media play a huge role in todays medical world and could potentially help with curing social

diseases. If we did not have a social role in the medical field we would have problems that could

be potentially avoided. It helps in today's society with how we gain knowledge on certain

problems. Technology has come a long way and is always advancing to help us out in the world

and knowing the pros and cons of the use of social media in the medical field could be a

potential benefit for knowing that is appropriate and what is not with the forever changing and

evolving use of technology today.


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Works Cited

Coiera, Enrico. SOCIAL NETWORKS, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND SOCIAL DISEASES. BMJ:

British Medical Journal, vol. 346, no. 7912, 2013, pp. 2224. JSTOR, JSTOR,

www.jstor.org/stable/23494882.

Antheunis, M L, et al. Patients' and health professionals' use of social media in health care:

motives, barriers and expectations. Patient education and counseling., U.S. National

Library of Medicine, Sept. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23899831.


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Reflective Statement

Throughout the academic analysis of Social Networks, Social Media, and Social

Diseases by Enrico Coiera I had an extremely hard time getting it done because I had a hard

time understanding the piece. I would think I understand it then I would read something else and

be completely lost again in my train of thoughts. I overall enjoyed the piece it was hard to

understand but I think it portrayed a good message and I think some of his points are true. I feel

like my main problem was with how many different ways you could interpret the text so I wasn't

sure if I was interpreting any of the article right. I also had problems with this type of writing

style since it was different than the others and how there is more going into the paper I had

problems trying to make the paper flow and I didnt know the right place to put the ideas. I feel

like the peer review went good because I got some other people's opinion on my piece It was

good to see what others thought about what order and what I had done at that point. I could've

had more done during my peer review and that would of helped me out a lot more but what help

I did get I was thankful for. One other thing that I had a hard time with was the length I couldn't

find anything else to put into the piece so 1500 words on this piece was extremely hard for me.

Overall I think the Article Social Networks, Social Media, and Social Diseases intended

audience isnt me, it took me a while to see that it wasn't me but it was a good experience

working with a piece that challenged me a lot. I dont hate my work here but I feel it would be

better it I understood the article a lot better. Im glad I had this experience to do this and I feel

like I learned a lot from this academic analysis and I hope that I can do better on the next one I

do.
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