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    Social presence and dynamics of group communication: an analysis of a health professionals WhatsApp group chats

    Mbada, Chidozie ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3666-7432, Jeje, Oluwatosin O, Akande, Micheal, Mbada, Kikelomo A, Fatoye, Clara, Olakorede, David, Awoniyi, Olusola, Okafor, Udoka AC, Falade, Olatomiwa and Fatoye, Francis ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3502-3953 (2023) Social presence and dynamics of group communication: an analysis of a health professionals WhatsApp group chats. PLoS One, 18 (7). e0288773-e0288773. ISSN 1932-6203

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    Abstract

    WhatsApp has become a medium of communication with the potential of promoting collaborative environment with peers, patients and general population. Till date, no analysis of professional WhatsApp groups' activities exists in physiotherapy. The official WhatsApp group chats of the Association of Clinical and Academic Physiotherapists of Nigeria (ACAPN) was analyzed. A total of 20760 chats were gleaned from July 2020 to June 2021. Videos, audios and emoticons were excluded in the analysis. Administrative permission to conduct was obtained from ACAPN leadership. Two consenting physiotherapists who had never deleted their ACAPN group chats shared and exported all chats to a Gmail. The social presence theory for group communication was used as the framework of analysis. Thematic content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. Descriptive statistics of frequency and percentages were used to summarize data. Based on social presence theory classifications, interactive messages (64.5%) followed by cohesive messages (30%) were predominant. Members used the platform more for expression of emotions affectively (100%), referring explicitly to others' messages interactively (56.6%) and for greetings (phatic and salutation) cohesively (61.8%). Qualitative themes indicate that all three categories of social presence theory communications were present sufficiently with interactive category being the most common, as members used the WhatsApp platform to interact, construct and share knowledge. Group WhatsApp platform is a veritable means of communication and an indicator of level of social presence among Nigerian physiotherapists. Communication among Nigerian physiotherapists is mostly interactive, then cohesive and affective in terms of dynamics.

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    6 month trend
    90Downloads
    6 month trend
    34Hits

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