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The delicate balance of communicational interests: A Bakhtinian view of social media in health care

Chukwuma Ukoha (Centre for Informatics and Applied Optimisation, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Australia)
Andrew Stranieri (Centre for Informatics and Applied Optimisation, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Australia)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 15 December 2020

Issue publication date: 4 June 2021

133

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to use the writings of Mikhail Bakhtin to reveal new insights into the role and impact of social media in health-care settings.

Design/methodology/approach

With the help of Bakhtin’s constructs of dialogism, polyphony, heteroglossia and carnival, the power and influences of the social media phenomenon in health-care settings, are explored.

Findings

It is apparent from the in-depth analysis conducted that there is a delicate balance between the need to increase dialogue and the need to safeguard public health, in the use of social media for health-related communication. Bakhtin‘s constructs elucidate this delicate balance and highlight the need for health-care providers that use social media to find the right balance between these competing communicational priorities.

Originality/value

This paper advances a nascent theoretical approach to social media research. By applying Bakhtinian ideas to consumer health informatics, this paper has the potential to open a new approach to theorizing the role of social software in health-care settings. Stakeholders in digital health will find this paper useful, as it opens up dialogue to further discuss the role of social media in health care.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship through Federation University Australia.

Citation

Ukoha, C. and Stranieri, A. (2021), "The delicate balance of communicational interests: A Bakhtinian view of social media in health care", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 236-248. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-06-2020-0071

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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