In yesterday’s post, we looked at some of the ways members of the PatientsLikeMe community are connecting with other patients and the value they are getting from it. Today, we’ll highlight how one person can make an enormous difference and inspire you with her ability to connect with others.
One method of reaching out to another member on PatientsLikeMe is by leaving a comment on their profile page. Often, you exchange comments to inquire about specific data on someone’s profile or to thank them for sharing. However, one of the most common uses of the comments functionality is for existing members to welcome new members to the community. This is has been affectionately coined the “Welcome Wagon,” and it is most prominent in our MS community. Today, more than 71% of members in that community get a comment within the first 2 days. Receiving a comment from a veteran PatientsLikeMe member when you first join the site is a great way to “welcome” you aboard and make you feel a part of the community.
A large part of the effectiveness of the MS Welcome Wagon can be attributed to a member named Diamondlil58. Of the 150,000 comments that have been left on PatientsLikeMe, Diamondlil58 has left a staggering 16,000 of them, addressed to over 15,000 different members. The graph above shows just how extensively Diamondlil58 has connected with the community through commenting. In the graph, the dots represents patients in our MS community, and the lines represent a comment between them. Diamondlil58 is the large green dot near the center. Notice how she has touched both the inter-connected network of patients (on the right), as well as sent out a huge number of comments to others who aren’t yet as well-connected (the moon-like diagram on the left). A large portion of these comments were part of the Welcome Wagon.
While the Welcome Wagon was started in the MS community, it has definitely caught on in other communities. Here is a look at how Babsie, an active member in our Fibromyalgia community, has reached out to welcome new members. Like Diamondlil38, Babsie has helped create a network of dialogue and connection between patients like you.
It’s inspiring to see how one person can touch so many. Members often tell us how beneficial it is to have a way to find “patients like me.” (In fact, we cited a few examples yesterday from our research study that shows just how valuable that can be to one’s health). However, that “find” functionality alone is not what makes this community what it is today. It’s the people who are using it. It’s the people who are willing to openly share with one another; the people who reach out to make those connections (sometimes initiated by beacons, like Diamondlil58); it’s people like you who make the most of being a member of PatientsLikeMe.