February was all about Matchmaking for Health Activists – connecting you to your community members, fellow online health leaders, and even healthcare professionals (which will be our focus in March). We gathered so many great tips from you throughout the month that are helpful for creating deeper connections with members and utilizing your talents.
Here is just one of tips from our Coaching Session:
Work on your interactions every day.
Here’s are easy ways to do that:
Want to see all of the tips? (And which other Health Activists’ tips were featured?) Sign up here and we’ll share new ideas, tips, and tricks every month to help keep you connected to your Health Activism and inspired by your community!
February’s Health Activist Matchmaking Month is coming to a close and this week’s #HAChat focused on matchmaking within your online community. Matchmaking is a great way to build up your network, help people help each other, and take some of the pressure off of you as a Health Activist and community leader. Check out these tips and tricks for matchmaking and why it’s so important.
The key to being a good matchmaker is working within your online community. Members must feel welcome and feel like they are respected and supported by other community members. A great online community is filled with:
TiffanyAndLupus: honesty, mutual health/illness journey, compassion
NateOsit: a lot of strong personalities and an open and collaborative feel
KatherineS84: Supportive people, open minds, no judgment and honesty. The more you share, the more others will open up
Introducing people to each other within in your community is not only a great way to build your network but it’s also a way to take some of the burden off yourself as a community leader. Matchmaking is a way to share responsibility as well as make members of your community feel included. TiffanyAndLupus introduces lupies to each other all the time, especially if they have similar health questions, issues or concerns. Giving your members roles within your community is a great way to avoid burnout, which can be a real problem for patient advocates.
TiffanyAndLupus: Advocacy burnout is another sneaky devil & I haven’t quite yet figured out how to escape her clutches
Bringing others into your community to share the work is also a great way to keep your community running smoothly. And while it’s great to ask members to take on roles within your community, if you have created an open and supportive environment, you might find, as @TiffanyAndLupus did, that members will watch over each other and speak up for themselves.
In terms of introducing community members to each other, twitter is a great way to do this.
You can also use an #ff or add a cc with a group of people that have something in common. Other ways to connect members of your community include setting up a mentor program. As Jason21480 shared, “Setting up a mentor program can be a great tool as well – matching members up together who have similar interests, symptoms, etc.”
#HA Chatters also had some great tips on how to make your daily online interactions better:
Have any other tips on how to make your online interactions better? Think some of your community members would hit it off? Connect them today and share new ideas for connecting people here: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Tune in next week for the kickoff of March’s theme: Health Activists & Healthcare Professionals.
Today’s post takes a more literal look at our theme of “Matchmaking Month,” as Sharifa writes about actual matchmaking sites online. As we discussed in last week’s #HAchat – telling someone you’re romantically interested in that you’re living with a health condition – is not something anyone looks forward to. The conversation itself is scary and anticipation of the recipient’s response might be even scarier. When you’re thinking of love and romance – the last thing you want to focus on is the tough challenge of living with a symptoms, treatment, and the weight of self-care. Perhaps this is the exact thought behind the creation of certain dating sites that are especially tailored to patients who are chronically ill. Just as there are sites dedicated to members of certain religious groups or centered around particular hobbies – these patient-dating sites reveal a few of the important facts about each of the members’ lives – just related to their health instead. Let’s look at what these sites aim to accomplish and how they compare and contrast to our own patient-to-patient health communities. –Amanda
Finding Love Online as Patients
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day! At the mere sight of those words, I am certain many people’s minds wander to thoughts of hearts, roses, stuffed animals, chocolate, jewelry, etc. – physical manifestations of romance or love or infatuation, whatever the case maybe.
In this post, I will not be adopting that angle. I refuse to dwell on the commercial idealistic aspect of the day. Instead, I invite you to explore with me the world of matchmaking specifically the realm created for those who are ill and thus feel challenged when it comes to dating, making special connections and finding love.
You have seen this phrase on a television commercial in the past probably: “1 in 5 new relationships begin on an online dating site.” I can not help but wonder if this statistic is reflective of those who are chronically ill as well. Given the rise of websites such as Ostodate, Prescription4Love and Whispers4u, I suspect the number might be higher for those who feel constrained by their disease/s.
‘I have not heard of these websites. What exactly are these websites?’ Already, I can sense questions forming. Before I take any, let me tell you how I would describe these sites and then we can move on from there. These are all online dating and/or friendship sites for people who suffer from certain diseases, who have distinct health ailments and/or who are interested in the aforementioned.
Someone who is not afflicted with an illness may inquire how these websites are different from the traditional set, for example Match.com and eHarmony? To a person who considers himself/herself healthy the majority of the time, the distinctions may not be very clear. However, they are present. Here, are some of the unique qualities of dating websites targeted at people with health conditions/ illnesses offer various communities and what an asset they are to their users.
- To start with, websites that cater to people with health conditions eliminate the need for the dreaded ‘awkward conversation’ of revealing an illness to another person.
- Users of these sites are more likely to find support, rather than rejection. I admit, that sentence sounds harsh. After researching this topic, I have to say it is an unfortunate but because it is a real fear for those living with health conditions – this is a comforting quality.
- By dating or befriending someone else who is familiar with the disease, the educating phase isn’t necessary. The majority of stereotypes, misconceptions, and stigma that could potentially come into play are removed. Interactions can, instead, focus around more in-depth conversation.
- These websites offer reassurance to users as they know there is a place where they can possibly find love without judgment, and through this, the health condition is no longer a defining component of their profile. It offers an even playing field for those on the site.
It’s important to keep in mind that many people truly are hesitant about letting others know they are sick for a variety of reasons. There are enough things to worry about when beginning a new relationship – without adding apprehension about revealing your condition to others. For the same reasons many patients go online to find a community of those who understand – these sites aim to accomplish the same thing.
Are you in this situation or do you know someone who has been? What do you think of the idea of condition-specific dating sites? Share your thoughts with us.
I think this is a fitting conclusion to today’s post: We all yearn to love/ find love and human connection regardless of our perceived individual boundaries.
Happy Matchmaking Month all.
As we delve into February’s theme of “Health Activist Matchmaking” – our first Health Activist Tweetchat of the month will focus on something that is discussed by (and important to) just about everyone: relationships.
Relationships are hard work – but when you add a health condition, a diagnosis, treatment, symptoms, or other health-related complications to the mix – there is even more to manage. When living with a health condition (or caring for someone who is) – how does that impact your relationships? Where do conversations about your health fit in and how do you take it on without letting it take over?
Join us tomorrow at 3pm on Twitter to discuss these topics in our #HAchat:
- You and your condition (How do you feel about your condition? How do you keep yourself going?)
- You, your condition, and your significant other (Whether you’re single, dating, married, or otherwise – this is a juicy and challenging topic!)
- You, your condition, and your friends/family (How do you start conversations with friends and family about your health? How do you handle their questions/concerns?)
- Talking about relationships and your condition in your health community (What advice do you have for fellow Health Activists and patients wanting to start a conversation about relationships and your condition?)
Since this is the Health Activist Tweetchat – we’re going to keep the conversation focused on a Health Activist level by sharing what we’ve seen and done online and also by gathering ideas and suggestions for fellow Health Activists to bring back to discuss in their own individual health communities. No matter what your condition of focus may be – there is a bunch of content just waiting to be unlocked. Let’s dig in to the idea of “Relationships and…” and extract some inspiration from our chat.
So we’ll see you tomorrow at 3pm ET here: http://tweetchat.com/room/HAchat#
And, if you’ve discussed this topic in your blog or community – I’d love to see what you had to say! (Link us in the comments.)