How Can You Use Social Media

Today, thanks to hectic work schedules and other increasing demands on everyone’s time, we are turning to social media for human interaction outside of the workplace. In turn, social media has become an important place for many to find others they can bond with over shared interests and experiences. As blogger Eve Mart pointed out earlier this week, this includes people like her, who are using social media to help them in their fight against cancer. She also mentioned that the amount of support and resources available has grown exponentially in the last few years – in fact, it may be hard for patients and survivors to know exactly what to follow, how to act or what to expect from the world of social media.

As Ambry’s Manager of Digital Marketing, I am here to offer you some tips for using social media to find support and resources during your cancer journey:

  • Do your research – Every social media network our website has its own mission and community particulars. What makes a blog or social media channel perfect for you is determined by many factors that are unique to your tastes. The only solution is to try out as many networks and blogs as you can. If you find yourself spending more time on one network, or reading one blog more than others, you’ve probably found the right fit.
  • Bigger is not always better – While it is tempting to assume the largest networks are the best (they had to become the biggest for a reason), their size may mean that it will be hard to find personal stories or make deep connections with other users. If connecting with personal experiences is important to you, smaller blogs run by patients may be a better bet than a Facebook group with one million fans.
  • Check references – Not all social media groups or users are created equal, and neither is their research. If you are depending on a blog or website for information, make sure that they are citing their statistics by listing references and linking to additional resources. If you are following Twitter or Facebook accounts that offer medical advice, ensure that the sites they link to are legitimate.
  • Don’t always expect an answer – Something that can be hard for some to understand, especially those new to social networks, is that other users – whether they are on Twitter, Facebook, the comment section on a blog or YouTube – do not ‘owe’ anyone a response. You may reach out to a well-known blogger on Twitter or pour your heart out in a comment section, and if no one responds, you may feel ignored or not understood. Keep in mind that the expression of your feelings should be its own reward; any comments, likes, retweets and other interactions are a bonus. 
  • Determine what kind of relationship you want to have – If you go onto social media looking to create or join a community of patients or survivors, have in mind what kind of relationship you are looking for with the other members. Set boundaries about how often you will reply to messages (remember nobody is owed one), what personal information you are willing to give out and how much time you will dedicate to blogging, emailing and commenting.  Remember that attending to your health should be your top priority – don’t let social media ‘obligations’ be another burden.   

I hope that the advice laid out here helps give you some guidelines for navigating social media, and that you find the encouragement and education you seek. Along the way, don’t forget that Ambry has a lot of (well referenced!) information and resources for patients on our website and patient sites.

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The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this blog is to promote broad understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. Ambry Genetics Corporation does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions or other information that may be mentioned on this blog. Reliance on any information appearing on this blog is solely at your own risk.