Understanding information behavior of South Korean Twitter users who express suicidality on Twitter

Donghun Kim, Woojin Jung, Seojin Nam, Hongjin Jeon, Jihyun Baek, Yongjun Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Although there were few studies on how suicidal users behave on Twitter, they only investigated partial aspects such as tweeting frequency and tweet length. Therefore, we aim to understand the various information behavior of suicidal users in South Korea. Methods: To achieve this goal, we annotated 20,000 tweets and identified 1097 tweets with the expression of suicidality (i.e. suicidal tweets) and 229 suicidal users (i.e. experimental group). Using the data, a user profile analysis, comparative analysis with control group, and tweets/hashtags analysis were performed. Results: Our results show that many suicidal users used suicide-related keywords in their user IDs, usernames, descriptions, and pinned tweets. We also found that, compared to the control group, the experimental group show different patterns of information behavior. The experimental group did not frequently use Twitter and, on average, wrote longer texts than the control group. A clear seasonal pattern was also identified in the experimental group's tweeting behavior. Frequently used keywords/hashtags were extracted from tweets written by the experimental group for the purpose of understanding their concerns and detecting more suicidal tweets. Conclusions: We believe that our study will help in the understanding of suicidal users’ information behavior on social media and lay the basis for more accurate actions for suicide prevention and early intervention on social media.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Health
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Information Management


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