Health Care 3.0

Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist

‘iDONTreallylike’ this cancer awareness Facebook app

I recently came across a twitter update which shared details of Ovarian Cancer Action’s new campaign – a Facebook application to raise awareness of the disease and its symptoms.

What caught my attention is that the application is called ‘ireallylike’, which threw me off guard – why would you call a Facebook app for ovarian cancer ‘ireallylike’? Surely another name would have been more appropriate and also more relevant for users to understand the app’s link to ovarian cancer awareness? I decided to investigate further as to what this app entails to make sense of it all.

This app encourages women of all ages to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer and share this knowledge with as many women in the UK as possible. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women, and two thirds of women with the disease will die, which is shocking when you consider that symptoms are clear from the early stages, therefore enabling women to seek treatment that has a significant chance of being successful.[1] I understand the need for women to raise awareness of symptoms with their friends, however I am not sure this app goes about this in the right way.

Ovarian Cancer Action’s press release states that the app enables women to connect with their closest friends and share details of the disease’s symptoms. The app is essentially a game that firstly, provides an automatic tool for women to find out ‘who their real friends are’ (I guess this is where the ‘ireallylike’ comes from), and then ‘save their lives’ by sharing with them information on symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Firstly, encouraging women to find out who their real friends are and share this via a post on Facebook only serves to alienate the other ‘non-real’ friends who may be able to share their experiences and understanding of ovarian cancer. Isn’t sharing with all your friends the whole point of Facebook? To connect with a variety of friends, not only a specific few?

Secondly, I don’t agree with the triviality of creating a game to ‘save your friends lives’ by sharing with them the symptoms of ovarian cancer. I think ‘save your friends lives’ is a very strong term could be seen as a slap in the face by some ovarian cancer sufferers and their friends and families. There is no doubt that there are many other things that these people would have done to help their friends and family members suffering with ovarian cancer.

Lastly, the app badge is pink. Of all colours to choose, I think this was a poor choice as they are creating no cut through for their brand. Breast cancer awareness has coloured everything pink for the last few years and therefore dominates cancer awareness campaigns. Choosing another colour would have enabled Ovarian Cancer Action to stand out from breast cancer charities.

It’s important for charities to be creative to continue to generate awareness for diseases, and I applaud Ovarian Cancer for trying to make a start at a social media campaign, particularly as they are not as well known compared to other charities such as Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Only time will tell the success of this campaign, shown by the amount of ‘likes’ and how often the game is shared amongst Facebook friends.

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