The mainstream media and even the Feds have caught on: blogs and podcasts and social networking websites are not only changing the communications landscape, but they might have an impact on people's HEALTH as well. See the recent Wall St. Journal story by my buddy Laura Landro (OK, "buddy" might be an overstatement, but she did contact me while researching this one :)
All of us in the OC blogging community already feel the power of the "social networking revolution" -- the ability to share advice and support, recommend treatments, and link to/discuss the latest D-news in a public forum. Not to mention the virtual hugs.
But The Revolution is much, much bigger than our cozy little sphere. Consider:
* Health Central Network, run by an all-star media management team, featuring rich info and reader-sharing sites on everything from acid reflux to skin cancer. (Just about to launch a complete re-design for an improved search & sharing experience; keep your eyes peeled)
* DailyStrength.org, which claims to be "the largest, most comprehensive health network of people sharing their advice, treatment experiences, and support." Users can keep a "wellness journal," read other members' stories, and chat with new friends.
* Dmitriy Kruglak's new Trusted.MD site (formerly The Medical Blog Network), which aims to "transform from merely a community of bloggers to a social network for all healthcare stakeholders: consumers, professionals and organizations."
* SERMO - an online community for physicians to share best practices in patient treatments and outcomes (Tagline: "Know More, Know Earlier")
* A new Pricewaterhouse Coopers analyst report on "improving healthcare quality," which includes a whole section on Blogs and Social Media (DiabetesMine.com is showcased on pages 51 & 52, as an example of a "patient thought leader blog." Cool!)
According to the Wall St. Journal story, 80% of American adults online now use the Internet to search for health-related information, up from 72% last year. The total number of adults who've ever searched for health information online rose 16% to 136 million. Wow! So what do most people do with all that cyber-health-info once they get it? Inquiring minds want to know...
SURVEY OF THE DAY (which would be in a nice grid format if I were cleverer and had more time on my hands): *** Would you say that online social networking has actually helped you improve your health? If so, exactly how? ***(The best example I can think of is Allison's OC NewMe Challenge -- using the Net to kick some diabetic butt into shape :)