It seems as though every week I’m finding more ways to use social networking technology to get and give information about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. I wanted to share a bunch with you. Some I’ve talked about before, but others including a (new to me) community could help you!
Gluten Free Faces
Just this week I was alerted to www.glutenfreefaces.com it is a community about all things gluten-free. It is a free site to join and you get your own page where you can share as much or as little information about yourself as you want.
Chad Hines the founder of this site describes glutenfreefaces.com as a “gluten-free facebook”. Here’s what you do, sign up and start learning more about celiac and the gluten-free lifestyle. The idea is for you to make friends and create a supportive community surrounding the gluten-free lifestyle. – Or at least get information from good, reliable acquaintances. As Hines put it on his site, you have “nothing to lose and everything to gain”. I just signed up so look for Amy Leger out there and come be my friend – right now I only have one!
Twitter and Gluten-Free Lifestyle
Now I want to take you back to Twitter. I’ve talked about Twitter before and how the celiac community is really ramping up here. If you are a person who likes to do information sharing and you like to be a part of an active community, Twitter might be right up your alley. In part because Twitter somewhat feeds off of how much you “Tweet” (your 140 character message) or are noticed on Twitter. More people follow you and you may find and follow them the more you are out there. If you are someone who doesn’t want to really get too involved, then you might be better reading forums that are on various sites, like celiac.com or Delphi forums.
If you are totally into Twitter, you should try TweetDeck.com which is an application using your existing Twitter account. It gives you three columns: one for monitoring all of your tweets, another for replies, and a third for direct messages. You can add a fourth for whatever you want. Here’s what I really like about it. I can keep it up all day and it alerts me when new tweets, replies or DMs come in so I can read and respond to them quickly. There are many other bells and whistles and you can easily learn as you go. Many of the people who are on Twitter have blogs and do active writing about celiac and gluten-free issues which is why the information is so current. The people behind the tweets are into the cause and the lifestyle.
If you haven’t gotten on Twitter – that is the quickest way I’ve found so far to get gluten-free or celiac information. The celiacs are all over it! You can find me: http://twitter.com/AmyLeger.
Other Social Networks & Gluten Free
Another place which is very similar to www.glutenfreefaces.com is www.twittermoms.com. This site is not exclusively gluten-free by any means, but it has two groups: Gluten-free Cooking and a Celiac Awareness. Blogher.com also has a gluten-free group, but is a broader community for women who blog. WEGO Health also is a social networking community specifically about health issues. These sites are good especially if you have interests beyond celiac disease and the gluten-free diet.
LinkedIn.com is a social network used mainly for business networking. But I joined the Celiac Handbook group on LinkedIn last fall and it has allowed me to post articles and learn more about what other professionals are talking about and doing with their celiac lifestyles.
I am on a couple of Facebook celiac group pages, but they aren’t as active as Twitter and others. But you can easily find them by searching through the groups on Facebook. I pulled up a list of social networking sites on Wikipedia as well as an article reviewing the top 10 sites for you to look at if you have a deeper interest in this area.
So overall social networking can be for anyone: people who are outgoing or even people with celiac who may feel entirely alone. Hop on the internet and find a social network; it could really help. A reminder — you can put as much or as little information about yourself out there. You can always start conservatively and add more information later.
Also I would caution you not to join too many. It can get overwhelming remembering user names and passwords for many different social network sites. I would start slow. Good luck!
*Note: much of the information you get on social networks regarding gluten-free issues is accurate, but you should always double check the information you receive, to be safe.