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"I'm Scared to Look. But I'm Dying to Know": Information Seeking and Sharing on Pro-Ana Weblogs

Rachel Fleming-May and Laura Miller

(Submission #212)


For people with interests that might be considered harmful or embarrassing, the Internet has provided unprecedented access to likeminded individuals. Members of any subculture can communicate and share information anonymously and directly on a variety web-based platforms.

Although researchers have considered the nature of information sharing in online communities, there has been little investigation into the information behavior displayed by adherents to lifestyles that could be considered dangerous. This paper presents findings from an analysis of the information behavior displayed on three Pro-Anorexia (Pro-Ana) weblogs. Using a Grounded Theory approach, we found that both bloggers and commenters share a diverse array of types of information in a variety of formats. We also present here an overview of existing models of information behavior theory that might be adapted to facilitate understanding of information behavior in clandestine communities.


Program Track:  Track 1 - Information Behaviour
Submission Type:  Research Paper

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