You might check out both posts. The perspectives are interesting and raise the question of just how open we should be.
In her Posterous comments Jen cites some great examples of how the social web offers a layer of support not available from a traditional provider relationship. I’m with you here. Many of us need to share our experiences. I’ve done it. I’ve benefitted from it. I encourage my parents on a daily basis to seek community support for an element that I simply can’t offer.
But is there a limit to what one should share in the social space? Is there personal information that you should restrict or keep between you and your provider? If there are parts of our history not for public consumption, where do we draw the line?
The answer is very personal. But I think we all should all give thought to our level of health transparency.
Incontrovertible fact: Employers are turning to public platforms to understand job prospects. Just as we leave footprints in the social space we leave a personal health footprint. And in the open source, free love world of social media we forget that individuals continue to be the victims of discrimination based on their medical history and medical status.
What about the younger set? Full disclosure could come with a higher cost. I can’t help but think of the number of young, desperate patients of mine with chronic bowel disease who have sought entry into one of our armed service academies. Healthy and long in remission, our dialog centers around how they can put the past behind them. How can they word their application to give themselves a fighting chance of fitting in? How can they avoid the stigma of chronic illness?
Some people just aren’t into sharing their health information with a megaphone and there may be a certain wisdom to that.
Sharing can be therapeutic. Sharing is altruistic. While we may feel good about our ability to help those struggling with similar ailments, we need to also remember that there may be some things better left behind closed doors.