Some of you may remember a post I made a few months ago, Emerging Technology vs Old School. I discussed briefly how we have to find ways to incorporate technology into our profession in positive ways. I also touched on how we cannot forget that there are people who do not have access to technology and they ARE getting left behind.
We cannot ignore either group. How can we make sure both groups have access to the same information but in different ways? This is not the main focus of this post. I just wanted to remind readers that even though in this post I focus on resources that are more available to people who have access to technology, we must not forget that not everyone has access.
Facebooking, Twittering, and Blogging are what I think of when I think of social media. Facebook groups can serve as support groups. Blogs can serve as an excellent way to share thoughts and emotions. Twitter can help connect people going through similar situations.
Since I have Google alerts set up on my Google readers I oftentimes run across blogs written by people who have experienced genetic counseling or have children with genetic conditions. I have found that reading strangers’ blog posts about their daily life with a genetic condition and their perspective of genetic counseling has taught me so much more than I could ever learn from reading a textbook.
I get their honest opinion. I learn how misconceptions develop. I learn about different attitudes and perspectives. I learn more about people’s thought processes. This allows me to see their situation from their point-of-view which in turn helps me as a genetic counselor. An example of a powerful blog website is, CaringBridge.
CaringBridge is a blog website that “connects family and friends when health matters the most.”
“Human connection. That’s the heart of the CaringBridge experience.”
I have read several CaringBridge blogs written by parents with children who have a genetic condition. I have also read CaringBridge blogs written by people with genetic conditions. I have read personal stories about how many families are thankful for CaringBridge blogs. It allows them to share news with concerned ones without having to worry about making multiple calls. It allows them to express personal thoughts through writing that they may not normally express which helps with the coping process. It also allows them to find other people who are going through similar situations as they are. It makes people feel less lonely during scary times.
If used correctly, social media could be a great support resource for patients. Social media should NEVER replace actual information or serve as a sole resource. They should simply serve as support resource in the same sense as recommending books and connecting patients who may be going through similar situations.
Would you (or have you) ever suggest social media as a form of support resource for your patients? How do you make sure it’s appropriate for your patient?
Would you ever use social media as a teaching tool for yourself or for genetic counselor students? If so, how do you do this?