The Importance of Genuineness in Public Engagement—An Exploratory Study of Pediatric Communication on Social Media in China
1.1. Previous Studies on Health Communication via Chinese Social Media
1.2. The Importance of Genuineness and Its Role in Health Communication
1.2.2. Genuine Response
1.2.3. Functional Interactivity
1.2.4. Genuineness in Chinese Culture
1.3. Public Engagement in Social Media
1.4. Development of Research Questions
- RQ1: What is the association between the four dimensions of genuineness (“self-disclosure”, “genuine response”, “functional interactivity” and “genuineness in Chinese culture”) and public engagement?
- RQ2a: What are the associations within the sub-dimensions of “self-disclosure” (“disclosure of personal life”, “disclosure of personal thoughts and feelings”, and “disclosure of personal expertise in pediatrics”) and public engagement?
- RQ2b: What are the associations within the sub-dimensions of “genuine response” (“consistency”, “knowledge, skill, experience and treatment advice”, and “facilitation of hopefulness”) and public engagement?
- RQ2c: What are the associations within the sub-dimensions of “functional interactivity” (“the generation of return visits and conservation of visitors”, and “dialogic loop”) and public engagement?
- RQ2d: What are the associations within the sub-dimensions of “genuineness in Chinese culture” (“honesty” and “kindness”) and public engagement?
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Sample Selection
2.2. Data Collection
2.3. Coding Scheme and Procedure
2.4. Interrater Reliability
2.5. Data Standardization and Statistical Analysis
4.1. Strong Effect of Genuine Response on Public Shares and Comments
4.2. Interactive Features Promote Public Shares
4.3. Honesty is Highly Valued in Chinese Culture
4.4. Self-Disclosure as a Controversial Communication Behavior
Conflicts of Interest
|1. Disclosure of personal life||No. 7: May.12, 20:36|
Literal translation: In the morning, I took Xiaoqi to Xianlin Golden Eagle Square to watch the launching ceremony of national nutrition week. The ceremony was great. Xiaoqi performed well. It was scorching, but Xiaoqi watched the whole process carefully. I ate cantaloupe, chicken wings, spaghetti, and half of the dessert at lunch. I knew that she would be allergic, so I did not give the food to her. However, she insisted on eating them, and I had not found any obvious allergic symptoms with her after eating.
|2. Disclosure of personal thoughts and feelings||No. 5: Aug.4, 19:36|
Literal translation: Thank you for your trust and recognition. However, as a manager, we know that there are still many things that can be improved.
|3. Disclosure of personal expertise in pediatrics||No. 3 July.19, 13:02|
Literal translation: Many babies have crying phenomenon, which makes parents uneasy and exhausted. If he cries more than other babies, and the crying time is very long, parents should be wary of colic problem.
|Rephrase public’s question and concern||No 1: Mar.10, 06:00|
User one: 你好医生, 宝宝9个月，能逗笑，会发妈妈的音，能抓玩具，能扶着腋窝站立，不能独坐超过7.8秒，要东倒西歪的，趴几秒也要哭就把两只手放两边，请问这种情况做康复能好吗？
Literal translation: Hello doctor, my baby is 9 months old. He can laugh, make the voice of “mommy”, grasp toys, and stand by armpit, but can not sit alone for more than 7 or 8 seconds. He often comes to cry for a few seconds when he is prostrating. I wonder whether he would recover from this situation?
Literal translation: “Nine months, can make you laugh, can make your mother’s voice, can grasp toys, can stand by your armpit, cannot sit alone for more than 7 or 8 seconds, can cry even if you lie down for a few seconds.” According to your illustration, it could be said that the development of large motor skills is backward. “Can support the armpit to stand” indicates parents was helping the child to stand, which is not conducive to the development of large motor skills and will have a negative effect. I suggest you should consult a neurologist to see if it is a developmental or a parenting problem.
|2. Knowledge, skill, experience and treatment advice|
|Provide treatment advice to address public’s concern||No 2: May.9, 23:11|
User one: 您好 吖一岁15天 不吃奶瓶已经十天了 只吃亲喂 奶量肯定不够 什么缘故？怎么办呢？
Literal translation: Hello, my son is one year and 15 days old and has not fed by bottle for 10 days. I think the amount of breast-feeding may not be enough. What is the reason and what shall I do?
Pediatrician: 可以杯子喂奶 同时试试奶酪和酸奶。
Literal translation: You can try to feed him by a cup. At the same time, feed him with some cheeses and yogurt.
|Provide medical knowledge and experience to raise public’s health awareness||No. 1: Mar.18, 06:23|
User one: 崔医生，哺乳期可以烫头发染头发吗？
Literal translation: Dr Cui, can I have a perm and dye my hair during lactation?
Pediatrician: 只要妈妈烫头、染头后没有不适，就不会通过乳汁影响孩子，从而造成不适。只是不要让孩子舔妈妈的头发而已。爱美之心，人皆有之。生完宝宝后，绝大多数妈妈都想尽快恢复体型，皮肤光鲜亮丽等。为此染发，烫头，染指甲等都可以进行。 妈妈会自己掌握分寸的。
Literal translation: As long as the mother has no discomfort after perming and dyeing her hair, she would not affect her children through breastfeeding. Just keep in mind that do not let the child lick his/her mother’s hair. Everyone has a desire for beauty. After giving birth to the baby, most mothers want to recover their body shape and bright skin as soon as possible. Thus, hair dyeing, perm, fingernail dyeing can be carried out. Mothers will take care of themselves.
|3. Facilitation of hopefulness||No.10: July.26, 06:30|
User one: 我儿子8个月出2个牙，到一周了去体检，人家8个牙我们6个牙。1岁3个月才8个牙，现在1岁半了8个长出来完的还有4个没长出来完，每天都有吃钙吃鱼肝油呢不知道怎回事？
Literal translation: My son has 2 teeth within 8 months. When he was one year and 3 months old, he only had 8 teeth; At present, he is one and a half years old but only with 4 teeth growing. We eat the food, e.g., cod liver oil filled with calcium everyday, so what is wrong?
Literal translation: As long as you can see teeth out and growing, there is no problem with tooth development. Just be patient and relax.
|1. Conservation of visitors and Generation of return visits|
|Link to the Pediatrician’s clinic/organization/own Weibo page||No.3: Mar.31, 12:05|
Literal translation: Is it necessary for lactation mothers to endure illness with silence? Can they still provide breastfeeding? Many mothers fear that they may not be able to breastfeed when they are ill in case of affecting the growth of their babies. Some concern that the child’s grandparents will blame them for being sick and infecting their children. For this concern, click “my clinic” to learn more
|Link to other social networks in which the Pediatrician is present||No.1: Apr.21, 06:22|
Literal translation: Feeding discomfort in children is likely to be related to vaccines, but it is not a big problem. If the child has not emerged new discomfort, the parents need to wait patiently. The child will recover naturally in 1-2 weeks. Also, you should pay attention to defecation. #Cui Yutao talks about vaccines#.
|Link to other Weibo pages||No.2: May.19, 15:03|
Literal translation: #Longjiang village in Guizhou Province# #Huanggang village in Guizhou Province# <the first story of my experience with Dongzhai children >, all the things we are insisting on are worthwhile.
|2. Dialogic loop|
|Reply by the Pediatrician to a user’s comment in a post/comment thread||No.8: June.26, 14:33|
Literal translation: @pediatrician: ha ha, it is so cute//@User: my daughter was just like this. How amusing!
|Multimedia (type: text, live chat, video, audio)||No 10: Aug.26, 11:46|
|Encourage more enquiry||No 2: June.9, 09:39|
User one: 关于图九有点疑问，小宝宝不是需要晒太阳补充VD吗？如果十点之前也需要穿长袖长裤、在阴凉处防晒？
Literal translation: There is one question about figure 9. Isn’t it necessary for the baby to supplement VD by basking in the sun? I just wonder if we need to wear long sleeved trousers and sunscreen in the shade before 10 o’clock?
Pediatrician: 还是建议补充维生素D 具体原因可以在我微博搜索关键词 维生素D
Literal translation: I recommend children should supplement vitamin D. The specific reason can be found through searching keyword: “Vitamin D” on my Weibo account.
|Ask questions||No. 2: Mar.19, 23:08|
Literal translation: Is leukemia in children an incurable disease? What happened to the blood cells in the body? What are the symptoms of leukemia, what tests are needed to do and what treatment options are available... Please take 7 minutes to learn about children leukemia.
|Genuineness in Chinese culture|
|Lexical indicators related to reasoning and explanation||No.6: Mar.14, 20:46|
Literal translation: But what you have not known is that the best universities in the world are mainly private colleges, such as Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Columbia. As for the medical field, the best medical institutions in the United States are also not public hospitals, such as Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Medical Center, and Johns Hopkins Hospital.
|Lexical indicators related to personal sharing and views||No 1: June.17, 06:21|
Literal translation: The check is not an allergen test but a food intolerance test. Thus it is not possible to diagnose milk allergy, letting alone “moderate allergy.” I do not think it is necessary to detect allergens because allergen testing only targets IgE-mediated allergies, not all of types.
|Lexical indicators related to truth/facts||No 8: July.28, 13:15|
Literal translation: Experts research shows that from the perspective of health economics, the early childhood investment is the highest ratio of human capital input to output in the whole life cycle. The early return on investment is more than 1:7, so the development of early childhood potential not only determines the development potential of individuals but also profoundly affects the competitiveness of our country’s human resources.
|Expression of care||No.6: Mar.26, 08:57|
If I can recommend a parenting book, it must be 《the American Academy of Pediatrics Parenting Encyclopedia》. Together with Clove Mama, this systematic parenting class has been developed. I hope to help you screen out scientific, authoritative and comprehensive knowledge in the complicated information, and tell them to you in a more natural way. This is not easy but we are willing to accompany with you.
|Expression of friendliness||No 8: Apr.7, 21:18|
I am a doctor and friend around you. If you feel it is helpful to you, welcome to help me forward my message.
|Expression of gratitude||No 7. June.16, 15:35|
Thanks! <rose> <rose>
|Expression of blessing||No 8. Mar. 25, 15:33|
May all children be safe and happy, and hope that all parents in the world can see it.
|Expression of compliment||No 1. Apr. 9, 06:13|
User one: 那需不需要给孩子补充维生素k呢?
Literal translation: Do we need vitamin K for the children?
Literal translation: Good question! First of all, we should ensure the intake of vegetables for the kids. Vegetables contain vitamin K, which is produced by healthy intestinal flora. Eating green leafy vegetables has many advantages for both children and adults. There is a mixture of vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 for now.
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|Rank||Name of the SMIP (English Translation)||V label in Sina Webo||Total No. of Posts (Mar 1 to Aug 31, 2019)||Average No. of Posts/Day||Followers|
(as of Mar 1, 2019)
(Cui Yu Tao)
(Xia Mi Mommy)
(Bao Xiulan clinic)
(Physician Zhang Silai)
(Pediatric Surgeon Doctor Pei)
(Doctor Mommy Ou Qie)
(Child nutritionist Liu Changwei)
(Pediatrician Yu Di)
(Pediatrician Yu Xiaonan)
(Doctor Zhang Yating)
|Self-disclosure||Disclosure of personal life||Share daily life (e.g., habit, activity, behavior)|
|Disclosure of personal thoughts and feelings||Uncover the views and attitudes towards something|
|Disclosure of personal expertise in pediatrics||Share the content related to pediatrics and children’s health|
|Genuine response||Consistency||Rephrase or repeat public’s questions and expressions to ensure their concerns are well understood|
|Knowledge, skill, experience and treatment advice||Provide treatment advice with elaborations for public concerns; Provide medical knowledge and experience to raise public health awareness|
|Facilitation of hopefulness||Express a sense of hope, e.g., “you can handle that”, “no worries”, “I can help you”|
|Functional interactivity||Generation of return visits and conservation of visitors||Provide links/hashtags to the pediatrician’s clinic/organization/own Weibo page; Provide links/hashtags to other social networks in which the Pediatrician is present; Provide links/hashtags to other Weibo pages|
|Dialogic loop||Reply by the pediatrician to a user’s comment on a post/comment thread; Multimedia (type: text, live chat, video, audio); Encourage more enquiry; Ask questions|
in Chinese culture
|Honesty||Lexical indicators related to reasoning and explanation, e.g., because, so; Lexical indicators related to personal sharing and views, e.g., I think, I contend, I prefer; Lexical indicators related to truth/facts, e.g., In fact, the truth is, the evidence reveals|
|Kindness||Expressions of care, e.g., is that okay, are you satisfied, is this clear for you; Expressions of friendliness, e.g., hello, could you please, welcome; Expressions of gratitude, e.g., thanks, appreciate it; Expressions of blessing, e.g., wish you, no worries, everything will be fine; Expressions of compliments, e.g., good question, you are right.|
|Dimensions/Public Response||Sub-Dimensions||Percent Agreement||Scott’s Pi||Cohen’s Kappa||Krippendorff’s Alpha|
|Self-disclosure||Disclosure of personal life||95%||0.91||0.91||0.912|
|Disclosure of personal thoughts and feelings||96.7%||0.969||0.969||0.97|
|Disclosure of personal expertise in pediatrics||98.3%||0.807||0.807||0.808|
|Knowledge, skill, experience and treatment advice||95%||0.845||0.845||0.846|
|Facilitation of hopefulness||95%||0.923||0.923||0.923|
|Functional interactivity||Generation of return visits and conservation of visitors||96.7%||0.928||0.928||0.929|
|Genuineness in Chinese culture||Honesty||96.7%||0.934||0.934||0.935|
|Dimensions||Number of Shares||Number of Likes||Number of Comments||Number of Positive Comments|
|Genuine response||−0.247 ***||0.05||0.782||0.038||0.05||1.039||0.296 ****||0.04||1.344||0.148 ***||0.04||1.160|
|Functional interactivity||0.180 ****||0.05||1.198||0.015||0.04||1.015||−0.158 ***||0.04||0.854||−0.090 *||0.04||0.914|
|Genuineness in Chinese culture||0.115 **||0.04||1.122||0.064||0.04||1.067||−0.007||0.03||0.993||0.052||0.03||1.054|
|Dimensions||Number of Shares||Number of Likes||Number of Comments||Number of Positive Comments|
|Disclosure of personal life||0.209 **||0.07||1.232||0.229 ***||0.06||1.257||−0.083||0.07||0.921||0.055||0.07||1.057|
|Disclosure of personal thoughts and feelings||−0.068||0.09||0.935||−0.016||0.08||0.984||−0.116 *||0.06||0.890||−0.084||0.07||0.919|
|Disclosure of personal expertise in pediatrics||0.125 **||0.04||1.133||0.017||0.03||1.017||−0.036||0.03||0.965||0.003||0.03||1.002|
|Consistency||−0.189||0.12||0.828||0.338 ***||0.09||1.402||0.458 ****||0.10||1.581||0.298 ***||0.09||1.347|
|Knowledge, skills, experience and treatment advice||−0.145||0.08||0.865||0.039||0.06||1.039||0.294 ****||0.07||1.342||0.153 *||0.06||1.166|
|Facilitation of hopefulness||−0.598 ***||0.18||0.550||−0.298 *||0.13||0.742||0.035||0.15||1.036||−0.073||0.13||0.929|
|Conservation of visitors and generation of return visits||0.354 ***||0.10||1.425||0.197 *||0.08||1.218||−0.194 *||0.08||0.824||−0.032||0.07||0.969|
|Dialogic loop||0.078||0.07||1.018||−0.004||0.05||0.996||−0.170 **||0.06||0.844||−0.132 *||0.055||0.876|
|Genuineness in Chinese culture|
|Honesty||0.147 ***||0.05||1.158||0.100 ***||0.03||1.106||0.039||0.04||1.039||0.068 **||0.03||1.070|
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Lu, W.; Ngai, C.S.B.; Yang, L. The Importance of Genuineness in Public Engagement—An Exploratory Study of Pediatric Communication on Social Media in China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 7078. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197078
Lu W, Ngai CSB, Yang L. The Importance of Genuineness in Public Engagement—An Exploratory Study of Pediatric Communication on Social Media in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(19):7078. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197078Chicago/Turabian Style
Lu, Wenze, Cindy Sing Bik Ngai, and Lu Yang. 2020. "The Importance of Genuineness in Public Engagement—An Exploratory Study of Pediatric Communication on Social Media in China" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 19: 7078. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197078