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Social Networking Sites, Innovation and the Patient as Peer - The Case of PatientsLikeMe

Conference paper
Authors Jan Ljungberg
Dick Stenmark
Fahd Omair Zaffar
Published in European Academy of Management Conference (EURAM) 2016
ISSN 2466-7498
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords Social networking sites, Open innovation, Commons Based Peer production, Social Media
Subject categories Information Systems, Social aspects


Social Networking Sites (SNS) have started to shift from being used primarily for leisure and fun to have more serious purposes. One such more serious area is health and medicine, where lately several disease-specific communities of interest have established a presence on SNSs. In this exploratory paper, we study a health-related SNS called PatientsLikeMe, by using secondary, web-based qualitative data. By applying Benkler’s notion of Commons-Based Peer Production (CBPP) we approach PatientsLikeMe as an online participatory innovation platform in the realm of community based, open, distributed and collaborative innovation. We discuss how the features of social networking sites interplay with peer production in order to facilitate innovation. The paper contributes to the theory of CBPP by analyzing the different characteristics of PatientsLikeMe in relation to other examples from the literature.

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