Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Monet Niesluchowski, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ
Background. Online public blogs have become increasingly popular over the past decade, but there have not been many studies that take a systematic approach to either data collection or analysis of blog narratives. Online public blogs can be a useful tool for social science research because they create safe, empowering places where people can share narratives. As weight-loss and fat-stigma have become great causes of concern in American culture, people have begun documenting their weight-loss successes and failures on online public access blogs. Purpose. There were two purposes to this study. The first was to discover a systematic approach to the data collection of online public access blogs. The second was to analyze the narratives of weight loss bloggers and understand the trends between their fat-stigma and weight-loss experiences. Methods.Using three popular search engines - google, bing and yahoo - twelve key phrases about weight loss were developed. Only the first fifty sites for each key phrase were collected. For a second search, thirty-one more specific key phrases were used. Using the same key phrases, a fourth search engine was added for accuracy, duck-duck-go. Blog narratives resulting from the key phrase searches were deleted if they did not match our basic criteria. A list of 234 blog posts was collected and analyzed using basic text analysis techniques. Conclusions. Systematic data collection and analysis of blog posts revealed certain themes common across the narratives, including blogging about weight loss in order to enforce accountability and struggles with weight and body acceptance. The majority of the bloggers were female. A small portion of the narratives focused on challenging fat-stigma and promoting fat acceptance, however, most blogs documented long-term weight-loss failure.