Web 2.0 Platforms and Health Care: How Online Support Groups, Blogs and Social Networking Sites are Facilitating Online ‘Communities of Care’

Imagine this scenario:  you have recently been diagnosed with a serious medical condition.  Your doctor has outlined your treatment and prognosis, given you some leaflets and a handful of prescriptions to fill at the chemist.  Your family and friends may be supportive to begin with, but they have never been through what you are going through, so how can they understand?  You’d like to join a support group, but your work and family commitments mean you can’t get to meetings on the first Tuesday evening of each month.  So what can you do?  The answer is to use the internet – where you can find online community support and information for all sorts of conditions from “Alopecia Aerata” to “Zellweger Syndrome”.  (Better Health Channel, 2010)

Blogs can often attract quite a “large and dedicated readership” because they “engage people in knowledge sharing, reflection, and debate” (Boulos et al, 2006).  One such blog with a large readership is “Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy – Adventures of a superhero on his journey through chronic pain and debilitating inflammation”.  Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy (or RA Guy for short) shares not only his journey through a chronic disease, but comprehensive information about auto immune diseases and their treatment.  RA guy also has a Facebook profile with links to the blog, and also a Twitter presence, again which links back to the blog.  The blog has multiple comments to each post, and additional comments are also posted on RA Guy’s Facebook profile whenever he puts a link to the blog.

Read More: http://networkconference.netstudies.org/2010/04/web-2-0-platforms-and-health-care-how-online-support-groups-blogs-and-social-networking-sites-are-facilitating-online-%E2%80%98communities-of-care%E2%80%99/

5 Comments
5 comments
  1. Ferhaan says:

    Very interesting study and how incredibly awesome that RA Guy was (rightly so) used as a prime example of Communities of Care!

  2. Sheila M says:

    Thanks for featuring my paper on your blog RA Guy. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and find you’re an incredible inspiration and a perfect example of how blogs and social networking platforms can empower individuals when it comes to health information.

    Another great paper on this site is “Look at me not my chair: unmasking ability and identity online” This paper was written by Tessa, who also has RA. http://networkconference.netstudies.org/2010/04/look-at-me-not-my-chair-unmasking-ability-and-identity-online/

    Keep up the good work!

    Sheila :)

  3. TessaG says:

    Thanks so much for adding a link to my paper Sheila – and now that I have found the famous RA Guy, I’m keen to follow this blog too!

    Will let my Sydney-based “Young adults with arthritis” group know about your blog – just about to click around your many interesting posts.

    Thanks mate,
    Tessa :)

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