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Vol. 14. Issue 3.
Pages 178-179 (May - June 2018)
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Vol. 14. Issue 3.
Pages 178-179 (May - June 2018)
Letter to the Editor
DOI: 10.1016/j.reumae.2017.05.006
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Fibromyalgia and Facebook™: Beyond the “I like”
Fibromialgia y Facebook®: más allá del «me gusta»
Paul Jesús Tejada-Llacsaa,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, Judith Cahuana-Aparcoa, Carlos A. Cordova Cassiab
a Asociación para el Desarrollo de la Investigación Estudiantil en Ciencias de la Salud (ADIECS-UNMSM), Lima, Peru
b Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru
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To the Editor,

Fibromyalgia is a progressive disease that limits patient activity. It is known that social support contributes to improve physical and mental aspects. Likewise, it has been seen that social networks can provide emotional support, a source of information and a means of empowerment for the patient.1 Being that Facebook™ is a widely used social network, we decided to evaluate the features of the pages related to this disorder. We analyzed the pages in terms of the versatility of their characteristics. Here we report our findings.2

We utilized the methodology employed by Hale et al.2: we carried out the search in Facebook™ using the term “fibromyalgia” on October 17, 2016. We considered only the option that shows pages and excludes from the search the results concerning individuals, groups and other categories. We recorded the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and the number of “likes” for each page. Since the Facebook™ search tool varies depending on the user's profile, previous searches and the network of friends, we created a new profile specifying only name, sex and age: “Prueba, Prueba”, male, 26 years. We also disabled cookies and location services. When taking data for each page, we considered the time since the last post, the country of origin and the page type; the latter was classified in accordance with the publication as 1 of 3 types: “patient support” (messages of emotional support), “promotional/marketing” (messages promoting products or treatments) and “information” (messages providing information on the disease and its treatment).

Of a total of 110 pages returned in the search, we excluded 47 as they were not in Spanish and 1 page that was from Wikipedia, meaning a total of 62 pages. The maximum number of “likes” was 33,342 and the minimum was 21. The minimum time since the last post was 45min and the maximum was 4 years. Concerning the country of origin, it was specified in only 41 pages: 19 (46.3%) were from Spain, 8 (19.5%) from Argentina, 4 (9.7%) from Mexico and 10 (24.5%) from the remaining Spanish-speaking countries. Depending on the page type, 25 (40.3%) corresponded to “patient support”, 22 (35.5%) to “promotional/marketing” and 15 (24.2%) to “information”. On the other hand, those providing “patient support” had the highest number of “likes”, with a median of 1008, and a shorter time since the last post, with a median of 3 days.

The number of “likes” involves a type of “word-of-mouth” marketing; that means, a greater diffusion depending on the interest of the individuals. In our case, we observed that the “patient support” page type received the greatest number of “likes”, possibly because they share emotive messages that been shown to have the greatest response from visitors.3 On the other hand, there is a shorter time since the last post in the “patient support” type, suggesting that there may be a greater activity. These features (follow-up and activity) should be taken into account to ensure an effective use of the pages.2,3 We consider it important to report these results because they may serve as guidelines to the health organizations that administer Facebook™ pages related to fibromyalgia. The purpose is to achieve greater dissemination of the information, while maintaining the quality of the content.

C.F. Van Uden-Kraan, C.H. Drossaert, E. Taal, B.R. Shaw, E.R. Seydel, M.A. van de Laar.
Empowering processes and outcomes of participation in online support groups for patients with breast cancer, arthritis, or fibromyalgia.
Qual Health Res, 18 (2008), pp. 405-417
T.M. Hale, A.S. Pathipati, S. Zan, K. Jethwani.
Representation of health conditions on Facebook: content analysis and evaluation of user engagement.
J Med Internet Res, 16 (2014), pp. e182
J. Kite, B.C. Foley, A.C. Grunseit, B. Freeman.
Please like me: Facebook and public health communication.
PLOS ONE, 11 (2016), pp. e0162765

Please cite this article as: Tejada-Llacsa PJ, Cahuana-Aparco J, Cordova Cassia CA. Fibromialgia y Facebook®: más allá del «me gusta». Reumatol Clin. 2018;14:178–179.

Copyright © 2017. Sociedad Española de Reumatología y Colegio Mexicano de Reumatología
Reumatología Clínica (English Edition)

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