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Publication Title

Journal of Services Marketing







Publisher Name

Emerald Insight


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore how vulnerable healthcare consumers foster social support through visual storytelling in social media in navigating healthcare consumption experiences. Design/methodology/approach: This study employs a dual qualitative approach of visual and textual analysis of 180 Instagram posts from female breast cancer patients and survivors who use the platform to narrate their healthcare consumption experiences. Findings: Our research demonstrates how visual storytelling on social media normalises hidden aspects of healthcare consumption experiences through healthcare disclosures (procedural, corporeal, recovery), normalising practices (providing learning resources, cohering the illness experience, problematising mainstream recovery narratives) and enabling digital affordances, which in turn facilitates social support among vulnerable healthcare consumers. Practical implications: Our research highlights the potential for visual storytelling on social media to address shortcomings in the healthcare service system and contribute to societal wellbeing through co-creative efforts that offer real-time and customised support for vulnerable healthcare consumers. 2 Social implications: This research highlights that visual storytelling on image-based social media offers transformative possibilities for vulnerable healthcare consumers seeking social support in negotiating the challenges of their healthcare consumption experiences. Originality/value: Our research presents a framework of visual storytelling for vulnerable healthcare consumers on image-based social media. Our paper offers three key contributions: that visual storytelling fosters informational and companionship social support for vulnerable healthcare consumers; recognising this occurs through normalising hidden healthcare consumption experiences; and identifying healthcare disclosures, normalising practices and enabling digital affordances as fundamental to this process.




Author Posting © Emerald Insight, 2019. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Emerald Insight for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Services Marketing, Volume 33, Issue 6, December, 2005.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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