The Effect of Social Feedback in a Reddit Weight Loss Community
It is generally accepted as common wisdom that receiving social feedback is helpful to (i) keep an individual engaged with a community and to (ii) facilitate an individual's positive behavior change. However, quantitative data on the effect of social feedback on continued engagement in an online health community is scarce. In this work we apply Mahalanobis Distance Matching (MDM) to demonstrate the importance of receiving feedback in the "loseit" weight loss community on Reddit. Concretely we show that (i) even when correcting for differences in word choice, users receiving more positive feedback on their initial post are more likely to return in the future, and that (ii) there are diminishing returns and social feedback on later posts is less important than for the first post. We also give a description of the type of initial posts that are more likely to attract this valuable social feedback. Though we cannot yet argue about ultimate weight loss success or failure, we believe that understanding the social dynamics underlying online health communities is an important step to devise more effective interventions.
AuthorsCunha, TO; Weber, I; Haddadi, H; Pappa, GL
- College Publications