The softer side of social media

It is safe to say that I am a social media fanatic, so I can’t complain that I spend a large portion of my internship at a local agency writing blog posts about social media’s role in the healthcare industry.  Social media serves as an excellent marketing tool.   Through social media, physicians can acquire new patients and contribute valuable health information online.  Hospitals can use social media to strategically brand themselves and manage their online reputation.

Clearly, social media is a useful marketing tool, but there’s more to it.  Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere provides us with a community in which we can seek support.  Okay, so no one said it was rocket science, but I feel as though we sometimes forget social media is more than just a marketing tool.  For many, social media can be a source of comfort when the going gets tough.

Thanks to a great mentor at my agency, I recently discovered a phenomenal blog post written by a cancer patient who calls herself “Chemobabe.”  In the post, Chemobabe describes her ongoing battle with breast cancer or as she calls it, living life under the “dangling sword.”  Chemobabe says support groups do not suit her because she is young to have the disease, which is where Twitter comes in handy.  Complete strangers have responded to Chemobabe’s tweets, providing her with words of encouragement: “It’s important to understand the reality of cancer.  Then dance anyway.” Even Chemobabe’s blog post received multiple responses from other cancer patients thanking her for her inspirational words: “I’m glad to be on this journey with you, Lani. What an awesome post.  The greatest thing we can do for each other is to open our ears and hearts. At this point in my life I can’t imagine living otherwise.”

It’s amazing that individuals we may never meet can empower us to keep our head held high.  Complete strangers have the ability to keep us company when it feels as though no one understands what we’re going through.  Chemobabe recognizes the benefits of social media. A dangling sword may be hanging over her head, but she is by no means backing down.

You can check out Chemobabe’s post here: http://www.chemobabe.com/2011/01/over-our-heads/.

By Stephanie Cohen, Member

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