Empirical Analysis of Social Support Provided via Social Media
Social media are an effective means for people to share everyday problems with their peers. Although this often leads to empathic responses which help alleviate the experienced stress, such peer support is not always available. As an alternative solution for such situations, this paper explores the possibilities to develop an ‘artificial friend’ that offers online social support through text messages. To formulate the requirements for such a system, a pilot study was performed in which 230 participants were asked (via a crowdsourcing platform) to report their experiences regarding online peer support. The results have been converted into a number of working hypotheses about online peer support. Based on these hypotheses, a conceptual framework has been developed that describes the functioning of the proposed support system.
KeywordsSocial media Everyday stress Empirical analysis Social support Support agent
The authors would like to state that Lenin Medeiros’ stay at Vrije Universtiteit Amsterdam was funded by the Brazilian Science without Borders program. This work was realized with the support from CNPq, National Council for Scientific and Technological Development - Brazil, through a scholarship which reference number is 235134/2014-7. We also would like to thank all the people who gave us important data by answering our questionnaire.
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