Stories about: social networking

MyViewPoints: Sharing information, connecting communities

Adrienne found online communities helpful when recovering from Lyme disease

About two years ago I became very sick. After dealing with illness for a number of months I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease. Suddenly I had an explanation for all the symptoms I was feeling: aches and pains, headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, memory loss, upset stomachs, anxiety, depression.

I was lucky to find a great local doctor and have a supportive network of friends and family to lean on. I took my prescribed antibiotics and felt better. I took time off from work and gave my body time to heal. Both played into my eventual recovery, as did the support network I found online. By connecting with an online Lyme disease community I learned what hurdles other people like me were facing, and how they beat (or at least coped with) those hurdles. I asked questions like what homeopathic remedies worked best for them? How did they alleviate anxiety? How were they able to ease the upset stomachaches caused by their antibiotics?

I was helping myself get better, and after a while started sharing my own remedies and coping mechanisms. The back and forth developed into strong, supportive relationships that were very important to me. They didn’t take the place of a trip to the doctor’s office or real life bonds I had, but it was so helpful to have access to people who understood my ups and downs, didn’t mind my occasional venting and were so eager to share information.

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Could monitoring Facebook impact drinking in college?

A new study published in Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine suggests that the majority of college students who post on Facebook about drunkenness and dangerous drinking habits are also at a higher risk for alcohol abuse and dependence.

The message seems fairly obvious, but the real interesting takeaway of the study is the researchers’ suggestions about how that information could be used.

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Facing the realities of social networking and kids

Claire McCarthy,MD

A law proposed in California would require that social networking sites like Facebook take down content from the profiles of children under 18 if their parents request it.

On the flip side: Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, thinks that more children under 13 should be allowed to join social network sites. He says that they offer educational opportunities, and that children can learn from each other.

So who is right? Should kids be kept off Facebook until they are 18—or allowed on it when they are 8?

I don’t think either one is right.

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Fight the flu on Facebook

ffshot2H1N1 and seasonal influenza beware – new heroes have arrived, ready to defend the population and fight a viral battle, via Facebook, in the form of ‘Flu Fighters!’

Developed by researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a new Facebook application called “I’m a Flu Fighter!” gives you the opportunity to mobilize and take action against the threat of influenza – by telling your friends that you got the H1N1/seasonal flu vaccine and encouraging them to do the same. Launching as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week, the app also provides information on influenza – including a flu vaccine locator – courtesy of HHS’s Flu.gov.

The app is garnering high profile attention and was even plugged on the White House blog on Saturday by Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius.

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