A Health Activist's Guide to Effective Online Advocacy
A Hegltk Ahtlvlst’s Gulde to… Effective Online Advocacy! Tips for being an awesome online health leader >>
• Be Yourseli •It may go without saying but – you are unique.Your perspective, personality, and insight isyours alone and – once you tap into it – isyours to utilize, present, and empower otherswith. Be you – it will keep you consistent andgive you a presence yourcommunity can recognizeand rely on.
• Try New Tklnjs • The online space – especially the online healthspace – is constantly evolving. This is good news – because it lets us evolve too! Right now blogging or tweeting may be your favorite venues – but be ready to try new ways to connect. If there is an in-person event, go! If there is a media opportunity – take it! The more willing you are to try, the more you – and awareness for your condition – will grow.
• Get Regl, Keep lt Regl •Like life with a health condition – advocacy is notall sunshine. There will be dark days, toughmoments, and challenges. Prepare yourself bybeing as real with your community as you canright from the start. This will open you up toreceiving the support and interaction you need(tkroujk tke jood news gnd tke fgd). Ii you’re notfeeling well – lt’s ok to sgy so. By felnj konest gndopen, you’ll set the stage for astrong community.
• Skgrlnj = Cgrlnj •We all want our work to be recognized; a greatway to get yourself out there is by sharing thework of others. By skgrlnj, you’ll open upcommunication with your peers and make newconnections. Think: nurtured networking. Also, bysharing what inspires, irks, or even puzzles you– your community will get to know you better.
• Collgforgte, Elaborate • You already know who the best orgs, leaders,and voices in your condition or health interest are – work wltk tkem. Onhe you’ve ioundpeople who share your mission – borrow tips from them and work with them. Look beyond your condition and outside of the health space for ideas that have proven successful. Join forces when possible and get creative to differentiate.
• Legrn 1st, Educate 2nd •Before you can be an effective leader,especially online – you’ve jot to learn thelanguage and get to know your audience.Wkgt’s glregdy out tkere? Wkgt’s mlsslnj? Doyour research and get your own story down –tken you’ll fe regdyto empower others. Keepup-to-date on news, trends,and opportunities.
• Follow Your Instincts • Let your experiences as a patient, caregiver, or consumer guide you – your perspective as someone wko’s feen tkere ls your fljjest gsset. All tke knowledje you’ve jgtkered (iromlife and from research) makes your insight so important and influential.
• Be Open •Wken you’re open-minded, it shows. Communitymembers want to know that their thoughts,experlenhes, gnd questlons gre vglld. Ii you’reopen, you’ll enhourgje honversgtlon gnd fereceptive towkgtever’s “next”for you.
• Stlhk to Your Guns •Be honslstent. It’s glwgys g jood ldeg toreaffirm your mission through your wordsand your actions. Remember what inspires youand stay true to your goals and yourcommunity. As a leader, your conviction anddedication are essential.
• Go There. •Speak out about tough stuff. Chances are –you’ll sklne g lljkt on sometklnj otkers ln yourhommunlty gre experlenhlnj too. By “jolnjtkere” – espehlglly wken lt’s dliilhult – you’ll kelppeople. Correct misconceptions, speak out aboutyour fears, even offer up embarrassingmoments – your community will appreciate it.Taking risks will also enhanceyour self-empowerment.
• Be Brgve, Be Bold •Being a Health Advocate means going againsttke jrgln, sgylnj sometklnj tkgt’s true even lilt’s unpopulgr, gnd iljktlnj stljmg. Beprepared to face some skeptics and trolls.Watch your community with a close eye – knowwhen to moderate. Pick your battleswisely. Pause when your emotionskick in. Remember positive momentswith your community to keep you going.
• Ask For Help, Oiier Help •None of us is as strong as all of us. Findpeople that support your mission and reachout to them when you need. Arrange for guestposts, brainstorm for ideas, and ask ask ask.Like with your health, never be afraid to askfor a second opinion. In turn – be thereto help others. When you have time,energy, and ideas to spare – offer them up!
• Keep Blnohulgrs Negrfy • Always be on the look-out for newopportunities! Keep your eyes open for ways to make your advocacy bigger and better. This could be by collaborating or by jumping into a new project. Watch and study other communities, presentations, events, and mediums for ideas on what to try and what to avoid.
• Conneht! …gnd Dlshonneht •Put tke “sohlgl” ln sohlgl medlg gnd fe jenulnein your presentation. Seek relationship-building and opportunities to connect withotkers ghross hondltlons. And… wken you’vebeen caught-up in online-activism-world, knowwhen to step back and disconnect. Finding thebalance will be a challenge but an invaluableskill going forward in your advocacy.
• Legd …gnd Follow •The world of online Health Activism is still in itsinfancy that means you have the power to shape itany way you want. There is no right or wrongwken you’re legdlnj tke wgy. Rememfer you’realready living proof of the famous Emerson quote:“Do not go where the path may lead; go insteadwhere there is no path andleave a trail.” But lt’s ok to“iollow” too – giter gll tkgt’show we connect online!
• Tglk Afout lt! •Don’t fe sky – skgre tke jregt work you’re dolnj! It’s ok to self-promote – you’re dolnj gwesome stuii! And, we want to help! If youre excited, were excited! In fact, your accomplishment is an accomplishment for Health Activism overall. We kope you’ll home fy WEGO Health Community or reach out with projects you’re worklnj on! We wgnt to iegture you, highlight your work, and share in your successes!
Got other ideas on what makes an effectiveonline leader? We want to hear them!Let’s honneht: community.wegohealth.com @wegohealth facebook.com/wegohealth blog.wegohealth.com