Discussions Regarding Health Topics on the Internet – Conversational Medicine

Internet (and Virtual) Communication

 Daniela Tancheva

Medical University ,,Prof. Dr. P. Stoyanov“ – Varna


Abstract: This paper examines the communication between non-specialists discussing health topics in online groups and forums. The main focus is on the manifestation of colloquial oral speech in combination with scientific topics and the use of terminology. The specifics of internet discussions about health as a part of computer-mediated communication (CMC) are examined. The motivation behind users’ decision to search for medical information online as well as the increasing interest in alternative treatments and the trend for self-healing are observed. The analysis demonstrates that online discussions about health have formed a specific socio-cultural environment in which users’ written language mirrors the spoken language used in their daily lives. It is found that users have mastered elements of the theoretical apparatus of their diseases and medical terminology seems increasingly familiar to them. The excessive amount of conversations about health on the web is a sign of the growing need for people to be informed and to be able to knowledgeably manage their own health, however, it also raises the question of the problematic communication between patients and doctors/medical specialists.

Keywords: health discussions, medical terminology, colloquial speech, internet/online communication.

Rhetoric and Communications Journal, issue 47, April 2021

Read the Original in Bulgarian