Drivers of healthy online conversations about loneliness and depression
Author(s)Fratamico, Lauren(Lauren Nicole)
Program in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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Loneliness is becoming a global epidemic. As many as 33% of Americans report being chronically lonely, with similar percentages reported in countries around the world. Additionally, this is a percentage that has risen by as much as 50% in recent years. Many are turning to online forums as a way to connect with others about their feelings of loneliness and to begin to reduce these feelings. However, posts often go unresponded to and online conversations do not take place, perhaps because those conversing did not find a connection between each other, potentially leaving the poster feeling even more lonely. In this thesis, I first define health of conversation for these types of supportive online conversations. I then examine the contributors to conversational health, both in terms of the homophily of the participants and the way in which the participants are conversing. By comparing these characteristics among the spectrum of healthy, supportive, online conversations, I lay the groundwork for being able to facilitate finding optimal conversation partners for those that are feeling lonely. I conclude by envisioning what an interface would look like that would take these factors into account so people can most quickly find the right person to engage with.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2019Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 54-60).
DepartmentProgram in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program in Media Arts and Sciences