Whole Community: Approachability

I’m in Lisle, Illinois this week presenting on social media at the 2013 Whole Community Preparedness Conference, sponsored by the Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin Combined Statistical Area. I wanted to talk this opportunity to talk about messaging to our whole community messaging and making our messages easier to understand and receive. As the week goes on, I’ll update this post with links to the other posts.


One of my favorite bloggers in the whole world is also one of my favorite tweeters (Perhaps not coincidentally). Wendy Sue Swanson, or as she’s known on the internet, Seattle Mama Doc, dispenses daily information on health, health care and life raising kids.

I love Dr. Swanson’s real life approach to communication. There is nary a poorly-lit head shot of some white coat to be found anywhere. Her Twitter feed is full of pictures, personal stories, links to health care stories and–gasp–conversations! Dr. Swanson is a real person! That’s step one, and it’s a big one, though really it shouldn’t be.

Her blog, though, is what I want to focus on. It’s a testament to how healthcare providers and healthcare organizations should be blogging. It demonstrates the very essence of approachability.

Blog posts about emotional wellbeing start off like this:

I’ve had an enormously stressful week or so. Seriously maxed out in a way I haven’t been in some time — smooooshed if you will. The reason I mention my stress is that I’ve found in the past, like this week, these stressful episodes are often peppered with moments of mindfulness that penetrate into my life and stick.

Thankfully there are buoys around us that get us through these stressful episodes. A joke our child makes while running by, a story on the radio that allows us to pause, the simple beauty of a red tree passing into sight on the side of the road. Sometimes when we’re most amped and stressed our lenses on life de-fog in a way where the beauty is just crystal clear.

Or a video post about violence in movies:

I was in fourth grade when Red Dawn debuted as the first PG-13 rated movie back in 1985. At the time Red Dawn was released, it was considered one of the most violent films by The National Coalition on Television Violence, with a rate of 134 acts of violence per hour, or 2.23 per minute. And although not every PG-13 movie has had significant violence (think Pretty in Pink) it turns out PG-13 and gun violence have become close bedfellows over the last 28 years.

Yes, she writes beautifully, but the reason she writes so well is because she writes from the heart. The blog posts aren’t full of stern faces and finger-wagging. It’s fun and engaging and personal. And successful. There’s a lesson we can all learn from that. A lesson about approachability.

Whole Community #1: The New Digital Divide


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