Social networking is an integral part of human life. It plays a significant role in maintaining and strengthening connections with each other.
For years, face-to-face interaction with people has helped them develop close relationships and build a small group or community.
In recent times, the popularity of social media sites has soared. There are thousands of social networking sites including the popular brands like Facebook and Twitter that has changed the perspective of communication in the cyber world.
Like Us on Facebook
While several ongoing debates continue to discuss on the pros and cons of the social networking, the researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) believe that social networking can help in a better way to prevent diseases.
The USC researchers hope that by understanding the human interactions (either face-to-face or online), they can promote general health.
According to these scientists, it is very important to understand the social structure of any community or group and their social influence to promote health behavior.
"If I want to go into a high school and change physical activity or other obesity behaviors, I have to understand there are cliques and subgroups of students that exhibit different risks," Thomas W. Valente, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC., said in the news release from the university.
"I would design different interventions for the different groups. We constantly are concerned about how ineffective our interventions are - this is a big reason why those interventions are not working. We can do a much better job promoting healthy behaviors if we understand the social network contexts and design these interventions with those cues in mind," he said.
For his research, Valente identified 24 among a large number of interventions with each having several variations that will help in promoting healthy behavior.
Valente suggests that the current evidence show that network interventions are quite effective, but admits that the research work is still in its infancy.
"Yet the science of how networks can be used to accelerate behavior change and improve organizational performance is still in its infancy. Research is clearly needed to compare different network interventions to determine which are optimal under what circumstances," Valente said.
The study appears in the July 6 edition of the journal Science.