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Why you should start tapping into online communities

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In today’s technological age, there are many different communities that interact with each other through social media.

For instance, the video-sharing site YouTube has become a popular support hub for people with mental illness.

A recent study by researchers at Dartmouth College looked into how people with mental illness engage with each other through YouTube.

The study used a research method known as online ethnography, and analysed 3,044 comments that had been posted on 19 independent videos from people who identified themselves as having schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder, and looked for similar topics of discussion.

They found people with these mental illnesses were provided with a channel to freely express themselves and connect with others going through similar experiences. Not only did this make them feel less isolated, but it also improved discussion around medication and mental health care.

“We saw that people with severe mental illness did not appear to be concerned about the risks of openly sharing their personal illness experiences because they really wanted to help others with similar mental health problems” said lead author John Naslund, a PhD student in health policy at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice.

Not only has social media enabled communities of people to interact with one another, it has also opened up brand new doors for businesses to connect with consumers.

By designing your content strategy to be helpful and engaging for your target audience, you will be able to connect with them on a personal level.

Google has done a great job with this by setting up a new service for those who conduct medical queries online.

According to Engadget, they have developed a new feature that lists the symptoms and possible diagnoses at the top of the search results. Google will also have a link called “Talk with a doctor now”, which connects people with a health professional through a live video chat.

If you show consumers that you care by providing them with helpful and informative content, such as medical advice, you are far more likely to have an impact on them.

Posted by Dylan Brown