Navigation Links
African-American blogs offer key health communications tool
Date:10/2/2008

Blogs allow African Americans to discuss HIV and AIDS in an unfiltered way that is both public and private, according to a Penn State researcher, and this exploration may lead to another way to distribute health messages to the African American community.

Lynette Kvasny, associate professor of information sciences and technology (IST), an avid blog reader, noticed an interesting conversation on a blog following an August 2006 ABC News story, "Out of Control: AIDS in Black America."

"I was really surprised by some of the things I was reading these were things that I'd never seen discussed in a public forum before," Kvasny said.

Kvasny and C. Frank Igwe, a recent IST Ph.D. recipient, analyzed 128 responses to the ABC News story posted from Aug. 24 to Aug. 26, 2006. They separated the comments into themes, including ineffective Black community leadership; the influence of prison and hip-hop cultures; religion; sexual taboos; and African Americans in the media. These categories provided a basis to analyze how ethnic identities are conveyed through technology.

The television show pointed to five reasons why AIDS is out of control in Black America, including, those in charge do not see the problem; the government fails to control street drugs and the large African American prison population; the skewed ratio of men to women in the African American community lead to multiple partners for men; a hidden African American homosexual population on the "down low;" and the failure of leadership in the Black community to make AIDS a priority.

"Online conversations provide an opportunity to examine how this community uses language to express their unique position as subjects in HIV/AIDS discourse," the researchers note in "An African-American Weblog Community's Reading of AIDS in Black America," published recently in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. "The relationships among identity, language and computer mediated communication are not straightforward."

Kvasny also noted the varying levels of community that exist within the blog, saying that while individual users are anonymous, they are all united by a common language and a desire to speak out about HIV/AIDS and other issues affecting the Black community. Blogs and message boards also allow people to voice their own opinions, rather than being spoken for by one or several people in the mass media.

"Communities like this give people a place to talk about things they couldn't talk about elsewhere," Kvasny said. "The affordances of technology allow people to become members of a virtual community while still remaining anonymous and being able to freely express their thoughts."

The researchers looked at two aspects of the online conversation. First are the factors that the blog members thought contributed to the spread of AIDS in the African American population. Included in this were members' presentation of opposing, alternative views to the television report and how they presented those views. Second, the researchers looked for indications of Black communication styles including signifying, emotional intensity and computer-mediated communication techniques like emoticons and turn taking.

An analysis of the blog suggested that three things -- ineffective leadership, Black cultural practices and individual behaviors -- were the risk factors for the Black community. Also, analysis of how ideas were expressed showed communication interaction used call-and-response conventions such as acknowledging prior comments by naming the speaker or co-signing the previous comments. The community of bloggers developed shorthand terms for AIDS that were used by the group and emotion, in the form of capitalized comments and other verbal scolding, appeared frequently.

The use of screen names and family terms showed communal support. The acts of advising, consoling and testifying through stories create a community of support through the discussion. The final style element of this African American blogging community involves movement, if only virtual. These include describing actions that would normally be acted out, describing dances, singing lyrics and laughter.

The researchers suggest that African Americans form virtual communities with ethnic identity through the use of language, noting "These self avowed identities suggest that ethnicity is an essential characteristic that finds expression in a public realm."

While realizing that the online community does not reach the entire African-American community, the researchers believe discussions online may impact the larger community as well through interactions with friends and relative who are not online and provide an alternative approach to community health education.

Kvasny said she hopes to continue this research and examine whether blogs are an effective medium for medical practitioners to distribute messages about HIV/AIDS prevention and education.


'/>"/>

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. First Two Non African-American Graduates of Meharry Medical College to Receive Awards at 2008 Fall Convocation
2. Newly found gene variants account for kidney diseases among African-Americans
3. Young African-American Males Face Mental Health Crisis; Experts Call For New Treatment Strategies and Better Access to Care
4. Aflac CEO Funds Breast Cancer Symposium in Honor of Companys African-American Female Employees
5. Kidney disease worsens in a fourth of African-Americans despite therapy for hypertension
6. New Survey Shows African-Americans Are Concerned With Heart Health but Unaware of Link to Brain Health
7. African-Americans less likely to choose epidurals for postoperative pain relief
8. Cookie Johnson and Abbott Bring I Stand With Magic: Campaign to End Black AIDS to Los Angeles to Educate African-American Women on HIV/AIDS
9. Childhood sleep-disordered breathing disproportionately affects obese and African-Americans
10. The Magic Johnson Foundation and Abbott Expand Focus of Campaign to End Black AIDS to African-American Women in 2008
11. Biological markers of prostate cancer shed light on cancer burden faced by African-American men
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/31/2016)... Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) , ... May 31, 2016 ... ... Contact Center Solutions , today announced it has been included by Gartner, ... 2016 report mentions a wide range of Contact Center Infrastructure technologies, some of ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... Splashtop Inc., the worldwide leader ... with e-Jan Networks Co., the leading provider of secure mobile remote access solution ... Networks’s leading CACHATTO remote access solution. Splashtop for CACHATTO will be ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... St. Joseph Medical Center (SJMC) ... exchange, which enables physicians at SJMC’s two hospital campuses, downtown and in the ... in the exchange. SJMC’s membership in the health information exchange underscores the hospital’s ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... , ... May 31, 2016 , ... Twenty years ago ... experience, rather than trying to silence the voices they hear. But this approach has ... itself. , The method has steadily gained credibility and now is used around the ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... 31, 2016 , ... The University of Tennessee Medical Center ... the latest in Clinical Patient Pod (CPP) technologies provided through Jvion’s ... into the clinical workflow. These insights are empowering the more than 30 case ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/31/2016)... May 31, 2016   Plexus Technology Group, ... anesthesia information management systems (AIMS), is pleased to ... as Vice President of Technology. In this new ... aspects of the company,s technological development. He will ... to determine the expansion of new products, product ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... , May 31, 2016 ... market is progressing at a CAGR of 10.6% within ... was valued at US$0.46 bn in 2013. Owing to ... expected to reach US$0.88 bn by the end of ... derived from the market,s holistic representation in a research ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... , May 31, 2016 ... the initiation of a first-in-human clinical trial of its ... molecule - S101 is currently being developed for the ... study is designed to evaluate the safety and tolerability ... at several sites across the United States ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: