The Influence of Blogging on Trich Awareness
More Exposure, More Awareness
Trichotillomania has gained increased awareness over the past few years, largely due to the use of blogging and social media by the younger generation who use it to speak openly about their experiences with the disorder. With access to information around the world via the web, and the social trend to share ourselves openly with the broader public, the new generation have embraced freedom of expression with both hands. More and more people are using blogging (short for weblog), a discussion or informational website, to express their views and opinions, and are finding willing audiences to listen. This can also take the form of video blogging (vlogging), whereby the person’s views are expressed on camera. Coupled with social media platforms, blogs can often go viral, meaning that the messages they convey are heard by a wide, often global audience.
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Who are these bloggers and what are they saying?
Rebecca Brown, known on the web as BeckieO, has a blog on tumblr called trichjournal.com, and a vlogging channel on YouTube by the same name. According to Rebecca, “I found this website where everyone was connecting together… where I could talk and have my voice heard". She has more than 200,475 subscribers on YouTube. More and more young trichotillomania sufferers these days are using these tools to spread awareness, seek and offer support and encouragement to the web community. It takes great courage to open oneself up to the world this way as blogs are often open to comments, which stimulates debate and discussion. This can be a great source of support for others suffering from the condition as well as an information source for those who wish to learn more about it. But it also opens the blogger up to judgement and criticism. Those who are consistent in their crusade to spread awareness have to develop a thick skin, have to remain honest and authentic, and have a responsibility to keep up to date with information about the disorder. One such blogger with a blog titled “It’s Trichy: My Life with Trichotillomania”, shares and discusses information about the disorder and trends in treatment approaches and recovery that she comes across on support websites such as the Canadian BFRB support network.
Responsible blogging is key
Blogging and social media have definitely had a positive influence on raising awareness about trichotillomania and other body-focussed repetitive behaviours, but we should also be cautious that it does not also become a source of misinformation or discouragement for those suffering in silence from seeking help.