|This article originally appeared in 24hrs Vancouver on November 12, 2008.|
Not everything you find on Google can lift your spirits. If the doctor gives you a diagnosis, or if you feel funny symptoms, “Dr Google” is often the first place we turn for a deeper explanation – and it’s not always good news.
It was that way for Kerri Morrone when she turned to the search engine to look for more information about diabetes.
“This whole list of reasons why I was going to die came up,” she laments about her first searches on the disease just 4 years ago. “It was like this depressing laundry list.”
“There has to be a lot of people living with it, not just dying from it,” she thought. “I wanted to find those people, and I couldn’t and it made me crazy.”
So to bring something positive to the table, she started writing her blog, SixUntilMe (referring to the age when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes).
“I started a blog about what real life with diabetes was like and other people found me. So I wasn’t the only one looking.”
As many businesses turn to social networks to boost sales and build brands, Manny Hernandez is using the model to build TuDiabetes, an online community for diabetics that borrows from spanish for it’s title (trans: your diabetes).
“Towards the end of 2006, a thought started brewing in my head: the idea of making Social Networks work for things beyond making friends and socializing,” says Manny. “I wondered how I could put Social Networking to the service of a higher cause. I had to get a Social Network for people with diabetes going.”
These kinds of communities are vital for people living with challenges.
When Kerri was younger, she’d go to diabetes camps where other children spoke her language, understood her needs and dealt with the same problems. As she got older and went to college and entered the workforce, people who understood and could support started to dwindle.
“I felt like I was the only diabetic within miles and had no connection with other people who got it,” Kerri remembers. But with the connections she has made through her blogging, the mood changes.
“Yes, I’m a part of a community! These people get it!” she cheers.
Scott Johnson is a columnist at dLife, and has called TuDiabetes: “MySpace on insulin.”
“It is my hope that people who have all types of diabetes, newly diagnosed and veterans alike, moms with gestational diabetes as well as parents of children with diabetes, come on board and engage in a fruitful exchange using all the media that the social network technology puts at our disposal,” writes Manny.
World Diabetes Day is this Friday. To celebrate, the sails of Canada Place will be one of 500 world monuments to be lit blue to “shine a light on Diabetes.”
Lance Armstrong has two websites to meet his mission of curing cancer. Livestrong.com is a for profit site about healthy living, while Livestrong.org is a non-profit resource for those living with cancer. As Lance said at the Web2.0 Summit in San Francisco last week, “if .com is successful enough, .org will be out of business.”
Last week it was Gears of War 2, tonight the lineups at Future Shop will be for World of Warcraft: The Wrath of the Lich King. The game goes on sale tonight at 11:59p at the Broadway and Pine store with events starting at 9 including a costume contest.
If you’re one of the last hold outs on MySpace, there is respite from the loud videos, clashing colour and complete chaos with the launch of MySpace 2.0. With a simple click, the entire MySpace universe gains a certain air of Facebook simplicity.