Social networking: give a lift to your life

Depending on how they're used, sites and services like Facebook and Twitter, online forums like MS World, and even your own blog can be a source of valuable support and information. Social networking is accessible anytime, anywhere, from your home computer, your portable laptop, or your smartphone. That means it's especially convenient if your schedule is busy with work or family, or if your mobility is affected by MS.

6 benefits of social networking

Whether you have MS yourself, or you're a friend or family member of someone who does, here are 6 worthwhile ways social networking can enhance your lifestyle.

1. It helps you realize you're not alone.
Sometimes it may feel like no-one understands what you're going through – not your friends, your neighbours, or your co-workers. But social networking and blogging allow you to connect with people on the other side of town, or even the other side of the world. That means you can be in touch with someone in an online forum who is dealing with the same symptoms as you are, or who is married to someone with MS.

2. It builds a community.
Sometimes a connection you already have becomes stronger through a social networking site like Facebook or Twitter. You may not know your old elementary school classmate very well anymore, for instance, but after you reconnect, you may find out you have a lot more in common than you realized. Regular contact between you and other participants on the site can build into mutually supportive relationships.

3. It's an opportunity to share experiences.
It's not hard to find websites with useful medical information provided by health care agencies. And while these sites are important tools in educating yourself, they don't always tell you how people are coping with a specific side effect, or how a spouse of someone with MS is making time for herself. In an MS online forum, you're in touch with many people who are going through the same experiences you are. This can be an invaluable way to hear other people's feedback about treatments or pick up great ideas for self-care.

4. It's a source of news and information.
Think of it as a grapevine! A service like Twitter can be a quick and efficient way for you to hear about the latest new products, research breakthroughs, health legislation, or techniques for taking medications. It's like having your own personal news program with items that are relevant to you.

5. It puts you in touch with resources.
Just as social networking sites can keep you up to date with news, they can also point you to helpful websites you might not have heard about otherwise, or to support groups in your community.

6. It gives you an outlet to laugh and cry.
Who wouldn't welcome a few jokes or funny videos to brighten their day? On sites like Facebook your friends can post and share a laugh or two. Likewise, when you've had a rough week and you just need to let it all out, the community you've built online is there to listen. It can be comforting to know people care.

Play it safe

Social networking can give a real lift to your life. But it's important to keep a few safety measures in mind.

  • Avoid posting personal information, like your birth date or the names of your kids. Details like these can be grabbed by identity thieves.
  • Before you post a comment, video, or picture, consider whether or not you want it to be available on the Internet forever, even after you delete it. After all, you have no control over the actions of other people, who can make copies of your posts before you delete them. Plus, the technology exists to make a permanent record of your postings even after you remove them.
  • Be careful about clicking on links or installing applications from unfamiliar sources. These may allow others to steal your personal information or hack into your account.
  • Be cautious about meeting people you've met online or giving them your mailing address.
  • Don't believe all the health-related information you read. Only trust reports from trustworthy sources like universities, hospitals, or reputable organizations. And don't try home remedies just because you've heard about them from other people. Discuss them first with your health care provider.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: