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Social Media and Urticaria - A Data Audit of Facebook ® , LinkedIn ® , and Twitter ® Posts.

INTRODUCTION: Urticaria is a common debilitating dermatological disorder impairing a patient's quality of life. Such patients are increasingly using socialmedia to manage their health and interact with peers, particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

OBJECTIVES: To explore and analyse the quality of urticaria related social-media information available to patients.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: An in-depth data audit of the three most commonly used social networks viz. Facebook®, LinkedIn®, and Twitter® were done on a single day, as posts may change or lose relevance over time. The word "urticaria" was searched on three social media, and the first 100 posts in each were further analysed. The post-creator was either categorised as "individual" or "group", and non-English posts were excluded. All types of posts have been analysed, including text, images, video, and website links. We also collected the comments/replies, share/re-tweet, and likes on the posts.

RESULTS: Among the total 300 social-media posts, the highest number of "individual" posts was on LinkedIn® followed by Twitter® and Facebook® (χ2 = 82.86, P < 0.0001). Regarding thematic content, most Facebook® posts discussed disease symptoms, followed by the promotion of journal or blog posts, and discussion about causative and triggering agents. LinkedIn® was primarily used for the promotion of journal articles or blog posts, followed by educational webinars and urticaria treatment stories. Twitter® users mostly interacted with peers about their urticaria symptoms and perceived etiologic and triggering factors. Regarding the type of post, images were maximally shared on Facebook®, while video/video links and web links were highest on LinkedIn® (χ2 = 21.59, P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: The overall quality of urticaria related information on these 3 social media platforms is satisfactory for patients. Dermatologists may consider utilising social media to further educate such patients and improve the overall treatment outcome. The use of such networking channels will continue to grow, as communication remains crucial for urticaria management.

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