Social media

The power of personal stories on social media

Whilst charities are getting their campaigns talked about online, more and more people living with illnesses and facing challenges are taking to social media to start topical conversations and they’re gaining large followings. We've found some of our favourite examples of individuals using a range of social networks to share their stories.

By Reason Digital · November 26, 2012

We think that there’s a lot to be learnt from the individuals’ use of social media as they’re often using different platforms to start important discussions about health, disability and wellbeing. Last month we suggested 10 social media influencers that charities should be targetting. This month why not engage with these influencers who live your cause and communicate about it on a daily basis…

Tweeting about illness

Paul, 30, tweets from @livingwithlowes. He doesn’t solely tweet about his illness, instead he offers a genuine insight into his day-to-day life which is read by his two and a half thousands followers.

@BendyGirl uses Twitter and her blog to talk about living with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. With over 6,700 followers, her story is one that gets a lot of people talking.

screenshot of Bendygirl's twitter account

Using Instagram and Pinterest

It’s not just on Twitter where individuals are coming together to form communities. A search of either #spoonie or #chronicallyawesome on Instagram shows how people affected by chronic illnesses are using the platform to share photos from their daily lives. Similarly, on Pinterest, boards can be found such as Chronically Awesome and Cancer Sucks where users have pinned images relating to their illnesses, but also pinning images of hope and support.

screenshot of cancer sucks on pinterest

An online community

Families of those with disabilities have also taken to social media to share their stories. Nicola Turnbull uses Twitter to talk about living with her three children, two of whom are autistic. As well as Twitter, Nicola has created a Facebook page which has become a online community for over 1,000 people. The page has become a place for them to share their ups and downs, but mostly it’s a place of support knowing that there are others in similar situations living with relatives who have autism or ADHD.

Looking In Looking Out Facebook page

Online inspiration and hope

Rebecca Joyce founded the Kick Cancer crew (#kickcancer). With her 3,000+ followers, Rebecca clearly has a lot of influence on Twitter but it’s on Facebook where her influence is taken to another level. The Kick Cancer Crew Facebook page is approaching 30,000 likes offering cancer patients from around the world a chance to talk to others. One look at the photo gallery and it’s clear that the group is much more than just something that pops up in a news feed and gets ignored: It’s a place of inspiration and hope. This weekend Rebecca sadly lost her fight with cancer, but her online legacy and inspiration continues.

results for the hashtag kickcancer on twitter

We often highlight charities who are doing great work online, but there’s also a lot to be gained from looking at those with the first hand experiences. There are so many online communities out there which charities could offer support to and it seems that some of the biggest influence is coming straight from the patients and families themselves.

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