Dartmouth researchers study success of doctor jokes on Facebook
Matthew Davis, of the Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy & Clinical Practice, and his fellow researchers had permission from more than 33,000 Facebook users to monitor comments, Davis said Tuesday, with the intent of studying how patients facing a surgery seek and receive support from friends on Facebook.
A medical examination can make people feel awkward, a medical crisis can create fear, Davis said. It’s natural for patients to turn to humor for relief from these feelings.
The study is published in the February edition of the Journal of Medical Internet Research and is one of the first studies of social networking site conversations pertaining to health and medicine.
Davis and colleagues studied the characteristics of 156 unique doctor jokes that were associated with getting an “electronic laugh,” such as a LOL or ROTFL, from the social network and the number of Facebook “likes” jokes received.
Some jokes were cheesy, some in long story form.
In the study, “Someone was posting from their hospital bed and their network (of Facebook friends) was offering jokes to try to lighten the mood,” Davis said, additionally, “There were jokes in there that I think spoke to the frustrations with the health care system.”