Monday, January 20, 2014

Memo To Bill Keller: This Is Why Patients Blog About Illness

Cognoscenti, Fri, Jan 17, 2014, Pamela Katz Ressler

Much has been written over the past few days in response to former New York Times editor Bill Keller’s op-ed piece on Lisa Bonchek Adam’s use of social media in actively sharing her experience of living with stage four metastatic breast cancer. In his piece Mr. Keller wondered why someone would choose to disclose so much about living with a progressive chronic illness in such a public forum. Perhaps I can offer some insights into this question.

As someone who studies social media in the context of chronic illness, I have been fascinated with the level of interest and debate Mr. Keller’s opinion piece has generated. Over the past few years the number of social media users has exponentially increased. We have become a connected society with instantaneous access to status updates, tweets, and posts. In his book “The Tipping Point” Malcolm Gladwell writes that “a critical mass needs to be achieved before an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” Perhaps that time has come in the evolution of social media’s role in living with progressive chronic illness.

You can read the entire article at Cognoscenti.

Here's a discussion that HuffPostLive recently did about Bill Keller's comments on Lisa Bonchek Adam.

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