Tube therapy: Dealing with mental health problems in social video comment threads
Keywords:Social media, mental health, peer-support, YouTube, influencers
In this paper, we examine forms of communication and types of peer support that may arise in relation to mental health problems in peer-produced forums of social video comment threads. We focus specifically on how young fans of young YouTube celebrities (YouTubers) use this social media space to communicate with other YouTubers as well as with other fans about issues related to mental health. Through a semantic analysis, where topical themes in comment discussions are mapped, we address topics concerning mental health conditions in social video fandom discussions. At an overarching level, we are interested in how peer support is realized in the complex relationships between YouTubers and audience members, as well as among audience members. In our analysis, we focus on both the relationships between the individual and the collective, and between cooperation and competition in discussions. In concluding, we reflect upon what hindrances or possibilities for peer support exist in this relatively new and participatory social media setting.
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