Did you know that at this very second you're participating in social media? Yes, right now! Do you feel silly? Your answer could be 'yes' but more than likely, it's probably 'no' because you read blogs all of the time and turn to them as a trusted source of information, right?

Well, you're not yet on Twitter, or Facebook, etc, etc. (fill in the social media platform here) and so you're probably wondering how you could possibly be participating in social media? Simply put, you're reading the National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) blog- a source of up-to-the-minute information and an advance care planning social media hub. This year for NHDD, a lot of people participated as blog readers. Despite the notion that a blog about "end-of-life care decisions" might be a dark and heavy place, we've been pretty fascinated with how quickly the national audience grew to help raise awareness about advance care planning.

So, lets "do the numbers" as Kai Ryssdol from American Public Media's Marketplace often says.

When we started talking to Nathan Kottkamp about the presence of the 2010 #HaveTheTalk hashtag, I could see his eyes cross from the other side of the country--'the hashWhat? ' he asked. But, Nathan was open and flexible; he started learning. Much like his decision to complete his advance directive when he was just in his twenties, the NHDD founder and chair took on social media with fresh eyes and started to learn about ways these modern tools could be used to advocate for his passion.

So as we all worked together, you--the audience; founder--Nathan Kottkamp; the blog editor that many of you have talked to--Michele Matthews; state liaisons; participating organizations and the much appreciated supporters of the NHDD initiative, we had an awesome blog readership presence as can be seen below:
NHDD by the Numbers: Blog Page Views
Ultimately, we believe that individuals in the community should be empowered to fix healthcare, so we hope this blog has served as a resource and central space for engaging conversations.

Can you imagine the impact if we all took the time to share our advance care planning story or perspectives like (my favorite shared story this year) Janice Lynch Schuster's? We might be able to pass legislation or have a signed presidential proclamation dedicated to informed healthcare decisions.

This year, there were some awesome discussions about the importance of advance care planning, including coverage by the Wall Street Journal and the National Journal. We will continue to advocate for awareness about advance care planning. And, we're hopeful you will join us because the collaboration of people across the country since the beginning of NHDD has been both inspiring and effective as we come together with a unified voice for patient empowerment through advance directives.

 We are also hopeful that you will consider being an active NHDD social media advocate. I've just started to teach my father how to tweet and came across a book he gave me ten years ago, "If Life is a Game, These are the Rules."

 

I found a quote that I highlighted as a teenager. I started using that insight from Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D. during the Social Media Basics classes I teach. I used it to articulate ultimately, why I participate in social media. And, maybe even the reason I completed my advance directive as a young adult. Here's that quote: 

"even the smallest gesture has a direction to it, leading you closer to your path, or farther away from it, whether you realize it or not."
-Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.

Have you done your advance directive? Don't worry, it's not too late to take the pledge to advocate for your health decisions to be made... by you.

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