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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Guest Blog: In praise of social networking

The vast majority of media coverage of social networks is negative and I thought it was time to discuss the positive aspects.

For a start, there is Charlotte’s blog.  I can’t remember how many thousands of followers she has at the moment, but starting my morning reading her blog is wonderful.  It makes me laugh, cry, cheer and growl, but beyond the entertainment value and sheer ‘Charlotteness’ of it all, it is informed, informative and educational.  I finally feel I have a glimmer of understanding about ED and of the experience of cancer.  Let’s hope that the power of her words really gets Charlotte’s Helix up and running, as a great testament to her work.

My more personal experience of social networks is to do with my 16 year old daughter.  She was diagnosed at 11 with an extremely rare autoimmune liver condition.  To start with, once K had a diagnosis it did not really impinge on our lives but the last three years the symptoms have kicked in and it has been hard to manage.  Fortunately there is an excellent charity which specifically focuses on her condition, and recently they set up a Facebook page.  This is where sufferers and carers/family of sufferers can moan and groan and ask for advice/support.  It really has been a lifesaver for me because however sympathetic family and friends are, they don’t really understand nor can they give relevant advice.  I honestly do not know how I would have coped without that Facebook page.

The symptoms of K’s condition means she has missed a lot of school - Charlotte’s feeling ‘mouldy’ rang an enormous bell for me.  I reckon her attendance rate is less than 50%.   But whenever I talk to the teachers, they always comment on how many friends she has made and how quickly she settled in (her illness meant she had to move schools).  And I put this partly down to social networks.  She is not excluded from the gossip and the news as it is all there on the little iPhone screen.  And when she does get to school, she just slots right into the conversation.  I don’t think this is the place to cover how deleterious her poor attendance is to her achievement level (another blog maybe??).

So a small hurray for social networks from me

****and from me*******

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