It’s always nice to see good communication research getting picked up in the broader media, as in the case of Elena Gonzalez- Polledo‘s work on how social media users–in this case, Tumblr– communicate about chronic pain. The Social Media Cure: How People with Chronic Illness Use Memes, Selfies, and Emogis to Soothe Their Suffering by Amanda Hess appears in Slate.com (March 4, 2016). You can read the original research, Chronic Media Worlds: Social Media and the Problem of Pain Communication on Tumblr, by Dr. Gonzalez-Polledo in Social Media and Society (January-March, 2016) here.
Abstract for Chronic Media Worlds…:
This article explores dynamics of pain communication in the social media platform Tumblr. As a device of health communication, the Tumblr platform brings together a network of behaviors, technologies, and media forms through which pain experience is reimaged through and against mainstream biomedical frameworks. The article develops an interpretative approach to analyze how, as social media platforms reorganize affective, emotional, physical, and temporal frames of experience, communication about chronic pain and illness is reimagined in its capacity to create social worlds. Drawing on ethnographic theory to reimagine the relation between politics and poetics in pain communication, the article explores the issue- and world-making capacities of social media.
Dr. Gonzalez is also the author (with Jen Tarr) of The Thing About Pain: The Remaking of Illness Narratives in Chronic Pain Expressions on Social Media, which appeared in New Media & Society (November 20, 2014).