Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Patients are increasingly utilizing health Social Network Sites (SNSs) to share useful health information and support with peers. The long-term viability of health SNSs depends critically on voluntary contributions by their members, which in turn relies on members’ participation. Literature examined the drivers of users’ participation in online communities and suggested that social identity plays important roles in determining virtual community members’ participation and contribution to the community. However, little known regarding healthcare SNSs design features that facilitate users’ social identity. With such knowledge, it could determine the most effective design features that motivate higher levels of participation, which in turn help creating a sustainable and effective health SNSs. In this study, we aim to bring the design and characteristics of health websites to the front via exploring how the design features of health SNSs shape and influence member’s participation behavior.