Breast cancer and online community support: Xeni speaking at SXSW today

If you're at SXSW in Austin, Texas today, do come by the Hilton Level 6 Salon F room at 330pm today (Monday March 10, 2014) for a panel on #BCSM (Breast Cancer Social Media), which I'll be moderating. The video here explains a little of the story behind #BCSM, but the short version is that it's a wonderful online community for people like me who have breast cancer, founded and maintained by women with breast cancer and a health care provider who treats people like us.

Panelists: Alicia Staley, Jody Schoger, and Deanna Attai, the women who created #BCSM.

On Independence Day 2011, the first-ever #BCSM tweetchat for those affected by breast cancer took place. Less than two years later, the group had attracted thousands of participants, spawned a website and a YouTube channel and earned an extensive feature in USA Today. Not bad for a group of tech novices in a space hardly wanting for pink-ribboned advocates.

#BCSM isn't a prototypical breast cancer organization. It's not your usual support group. And it's not the kind of online community that makes headlines at Mashable.

Instead, the group has been, since its founding, focused on attracting a diverse and inclusive group who shared not only cancer, but a set of shared values — particularly a commitment to evidence — that created a sense of authority even as it built community.

Those are lessons that can and should be adopted by those looking to connect with similarly isolated communities, and the founders of #BCSM look forward to sharing what they have learned.

More info about the panel.