Hemophilia Hugs: When Virtual Venting and Support May be Best

A perfectly coifed woman-child cuts you off on the way to the YMCA. Your children are copping some major attitude. Your spouse forgets to grab milk for dinner. Do you “lose it” in front of the entire family or do you take your frustrations to a different audience? Where do you turn to vent?

For one mom of a child with hemophilia, she reaches out to those who share a unique understanding of her situation—fellow “bleeder moms” on her blog.

She has developed a platform to share her thoughts, frustrations, victories, and resources with her online hemophilia “family.” Her following is made up of others who seek her advice and contribute their opinions on events that influence her day. It’s an online community that thrives on bringing people together and connecting them over shared experiences.

I recognize the value in these types of blogs. I do. They bring awareness to issues, but I also see the need for blogs that aren’t exactly known for issues resolution or awareness building.

I have a dear friend who takes to his blog with every last detail of his day and believe me, his days are full. He works at a theme-park-style restaurant. It’s probably important to point out that he’s also dressed like an Icelandic Viking working in a Nordic village. Yep. He wears the horns on his head, too. Think: “How to Train Your Dragon.”

As he goes through his daily grind, he posts about the stupid Viking-related questions he gets. “What do you wear under your tunic?” is a favorite one that requires the gritting of teeth to deliver an answer. He posts about the customers he serves in the restaurant. He posts about the customers he’d rather string up by their personal parts than serve in the restaurant. And he posts on the general conversations he has with customers as he passes his day as a horned Viking.

I can’t get enough of his postings and the interactions he has with others, and I’m not the only one. He has nearly 1,000 people following him. As I was reading one of his more entertaining posts in which a customer challenged the Old Norse translation of Happy Birthday, and I began to wonder why I find his musings so entertaining. Perhaps it’s because I’m trapped behind a desk, and can’t wear horns to work. Or perhaps it’s because he speaks for all of us who would like to tell someone off, even if it’s through an online venue and not face to face.

Whatever the reason we choose to follow these online communities, they provide us with a platform to consider other’s ideas, thoughts, and feelings, or to voice our own. Perhaps, it may be true that some blogs may lead to more productive sharing of those ideas, thoughts, and feelings than others.

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