Korean J Dermatol.  2020 Dec;58(10):656-661.

Patients’ Perspectives Regarding Vitiligo on Social Media: A Web Scraping Study from the Open Internet Community

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, St. Vincent’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea

Abstract

Background
In recent years, large amounts of data generated by patients have been accumulated on social media. We explored patients’ perspectives and experiences with vitiligo using web scraping data from the open internet community, NAVER Cafe.
Objective
To understand patients’ real concerns and thoughts about vitiligo.
Methods
Using vitiligo as a keyword, 1000 posts on NAVER Cafe were collected and categorized as follows: requests for recommendations for dermatology clinics; inquiries regarding vitiligo diagnosis, disease characteristics of vitiligo, and management of vitiligo; and advertisements. Essential contents were collected for each category to summarize patients’ perspectives and experiences.
Results
Of the 1000 posts, 284 were requests for clinical recommendations, 203 inquiries for diagnosis of their white spots, 132 inquiries regarding characteristics of vitiligo, 118 described experiences and emotions related to vitiligo, 105 inquiries regarding management of vitiligo, 103 advertisements, and 55 not related to vitiligo. Concerning the authors, 209 and 522 posts were written by patients and parents of children with vitiligo, respectively.
Conclusion
Patients with vitiligo have considerable concerns regarding their condition and actively communicate with each other through social media. Data mining on social media can provide a deeper understanding of patients’ thoughts and emotional distress with vitiligo as well as their families’.

Keyword

Data mining; Social media; Vitiligo; Web scraping
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