Using Social Media Applications for Accessing Health-related Information: Evidence from Jordan

Basil Alzougool
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 19  •  2024  •  pp. 002

This study examined the use of Social Media Applications (SMAs) for accessing health-related information within a heterogeneous population in Jordan. The objective of this study was therefore threefold: (i) to investigate the usage of SMAs, including WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, for accessing health-related information; (ii) to examine potential variations in the use of SMAs based on demographic and behavioral characteristics; and (iii) to identify the factors that can predict the use of SMAs.

There has been limited focus on investigating the behavior of laypeople in Jordan when it comes to seeking health information from SMAs.

A cross-sectional study was conducted among the general population in Jordan using an online questionnaire administered to 207 users. A purposive sampling technique was employed, wherein all the participants actively sought online health information. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, and regression analyses were utilized to analyze the collected data.

This study adds to the existing body of research on health information seeking from SMAs in developing countries, with a specific focus on Jordan. Moreover, laypeople, often disregarded by researchers and health information providers, are the most vulnerable individuals who warrant greater attention.

The findings indicated that individuals often utilized YouTube as a platform to acquire health-related information, whereas their usage of Facebook for this purpose was less frequent. Participants rarely utilized Instagram and WhatsApp to obtain health information, while Twitter and Snapchat were very seldom used for this purpose. The variable of sex demonstrated a notable positive correlation with the utilization of YouTube and Twitter for the purpose of finding health-related information. Conversely, the variable of nationality exhibited a substantial positive correlation with the utilization of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Consulting medical professionals regarding information obtained from the Internet was a strong indicator of using Instagram to search for health-related information.

Based on the empirical results, this study provides feasible recommendations for the government, healthcare providers, and developers of SMAs.

Researchers should conduct separate investigations for each application specifically pertaining to the acquisition of health-related information. Additionally, it is advisable to investigate additional variables that may serve as predictors for the utilization of SMAs.

The objective of this study is to enhance the inclination of the general public in Jordan to utilize SMAs for health-related information while also maximizing the societal benefits of these applications.

Additional research is required to examine social media’s usability (regarding ease of use) and utility (comparing advantages to risks) in facilitating effective positive change and impact in healthcare.

social media, health information, seeking, Internet, Jordan
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