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When social networking makes a difference



By Nicola Freeman

Although Facebook with its 500 million members grabs all the headlines when it comes to social networking, there are thousands of other social networks out there – everything from Facebook rival MySpace to hobby sites with a couple of dozen members.

Although some people view social networking as the perfect way to waste time, I recently came across a network that is making a big difference for a lot of people. It’s called CarePages and it was created “to share the challenges, hopes and triumphs of anyone facing a life-threatening health event.”

CarePages has been around since 2002 but has recently experienced rapid growth as people have become more familiar with social networking and sharing information online. There are now over a million unique visitors each month to thousands of individual and private-label CarePages web sites.

The service is free, although users are required to register first. Each web site in the CarePages network is created by the individual facing the life-threatening event or by a loved one. The web site displays updates on the patient’s condition and is used to build a community of support. Additional postings can include photos, more general healthcare information, and a message board for visitors to leave supportive notes.

As well as individual pages, CarePages web sites are offered by over 625 U.S. and Canadian healthcare facilities. Web sites can be as public or as private as each member wants. Some are password-protected to ensure strict privacy; others are open to all in the hope that people with similar conditions can find solace or inspiration.

CarePages makes a point of providing numerous links to additional healthcare information, so patients and loved ones can find out more about their life-threatening condition. There are lively discussion boards and dozens of tips for the sick and those offering support – everything from “Managing money in a medical crisis” to “27 ways to comfort a sick friend”.  

CarePages has one simple mission: to ensure that no-one faces a health challenge alone.



Comments:
Comment by tracy, posted 9/24/2010, 1:24 PM:

CP has been a huge benefit to my familie's sanity over the past 3 years that DD has had a CP. THANK GOD FOR CAREPAGES!
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