Life with MS

What a Social Media Expert Wants You to Know

By Marianly H. Primmer

Never before in history have we had a way to learn, advocate, and connect with others, instantly without leaving our homes. Social media is a powerful tool. It’s an excellent place to learn about MS. You can use it to spread awareness or advocate for the MS community. Social media also serves as an opportunity to connect with others and become a part of something bigger than yourself. The key is to determine your goal and find the appropriate social media platform to fit your needs.

To learn more about MS, follow credible sources on social media. An easy way to know you are getting your MS news from a credible source is to rely on an MS organization, TV station, newspaper, or another news outlet. MS Focus regularly posts and tweets MS news articles from studies published in medical journals on Facebook and Twitter. You can also learn from educational programs on the MS Focus YouTube channel
multiplesclerosisfoundation, or from neurologists or other medical professionals who have their own YouTube channels. 

If you are serious about advocacy, raising awareness, or even becoming a MS influencer, then get on a consistent schedule to put out content on social media. Look at the audience you want to reach and find out what social media platforms they use most, and then use those platforms.
Another easy way to spread MS awareness is to participate in social media campaigns. March is National MS Education and Awareness Month® and MS Focus always has at least one social media campaign during that month. Include photos or images to get the most traction from your posts, tweets, etc.
Twitter is an excellent platform to reach politicians to advocate on a particular MS issue. You can find out their Twitter handle on their websites and tweet at them. You can also “listen” to conversations and talk back. For example, to search a topic, use a hashtag such as #MSJourney in the Twitter search bar. Look for a recent tweet, then comment to join the conversation.

Use your favorite social media platform(s) to connect with others who have MS. For example, you can search the words “multiple sclerosis” on Instagram and then select “people.” Instagram will show you all the accounts that have the words multiple sclerosis in their name. Click on their profile, follow them and send them a direct message. You can also click on the three horizontal lines on the top right from your own profile and then select “discover people.”
Facebook has groups where people can fellowship online. You can request to join the MS Focus Facebook group at groups/msfocus. Facebook groups let people socialize, offer advice, and support each other.
Let social media serve as an aid in your MS journey. When used correctly, it will arm you with knowledge. Social media empowers people to speak out for themselves and create change in the MS community. It also has the ability to help create a fellowship and a support system. You have the power to use social media to make your world a better place.