Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why do people in the hemophilia community use social media?

I'm an advocate for using social media, but not everyone in the hemophilia community feels the same. In conversing with others, the question arises, "Why do people in the hemophilia community use social media?" Below I offer a few common reasons:

Some are driven by the affinity impulse. Our common base of experience (bleeding disorders) naturally draws us to connect with one another. For those dealing with bleeding disorders, it can be hard to relate to others who have not walked in their shoes, even if it is family. Much like war veterans bond through a shared experience, so do those affected by bleeding disorders (directly or indirectly).

Others are driven by a validation impulse, a desire to be seen as knowledgeable experts and reassurance of their place in the world or community.

Most people are simply seeking support. In such a small community, making and maintaining friendships online is often necessary. Some people live in rural or remote areas and others just prefer to stay in touch with cross-country friends they meet at conferences and summits.

Paying it forward is another popular reason people use social media. Many people receive support and learn about bleeding disorders from articles and information shared through social media. They are fed, in a sense, and they feel compelled to do the same for others (pay it forward).

The altruistic impulse drives some to help with advocacy efforts, support others... because they feel compelled to do so or they believe it's a worthwhile cause. This one is unique because it includes people unaffected by bleeding disorders who help simply because they want to help others. They do not benefit directly, themselves.

Why do you use social media? Share your reasons in the comments below.