Tradition gone mobile: an exploration of #Betelnut on instagram

Wayne Buente, Chamil Rathnayake, Rachel Neo, Francis Dalisay, Hanae Kurihara Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


As a psychoactive substance that spans borders and cultures, researchers estimate that 600 million people use the areca nut. Despite its historical and geographical significance, betel nut use has received far less research attention than other stimulants such as tobacco, coffee or tea. Scholars have observed that social media platforms have significant effects on the promotion and use of addictive substances. Objectives: Our study investigates user practices and activities on a sample of Instagram posts tagged #betelnut dating back to 2011. Methods: Using social media analytics and hashtag network analysis, we examined user practices and activities on a sample of over 7800 Instagram posts tagged #betelnut dated between July 2011 to February 2019 that were collected in early 2019. Results: Findings determined that #betelnut is a growing topical hashtag on Instagram with content that drives social engagement. Importance: Co-occurring hashtags with #betelnut reflect regional language and cultural naming conventions that center around the Indian subcontinent and Melanesia. The importance of future work in this area is highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1483-1492
Number of pages10
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2020


  • Betel nut
  • Instagram
  • analytics
  • areca nut
  • social media

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