A Caring Community
To those interested in homeopathy-
For the past few weeks I have been following two different communities discussing the subject of homeopathy: a Yahoo Group called Homeopathy Open and the forum on the Hpathy website. I have learned so much about these communities and how societal beliefs about social media have really impacted those who are interested in this topic and therefore impacting the online communities created around it. The importance of creating a safe and supporting atmosphere can definitely be seen by the rules and guidelines set up, the mediators monitoring the posts, and the lack of anonymity.
I want to let you know that I have recently been introduced to the practice of homeopathy and I find it very intriguing. I am actually seriously considering becoming a homeopath as well. I have also come to face much controversy and even rejection when talking about this subject as well. This probably doesn’t surprise any of you as you have also probably encountered the same thing when trying to explain what homeopathy is or how it works. Societal views on homeopathy and other alternative medicines are not high and in a scholarly article by Erin Steuter I recently read, she was talking about how many times news media will portray homeopathy as “junk science” that is run by “’untrained bearded maniacs’ who make ‘preposterous claims’” and anyone who is receiving this kind of treatment is suffering from “mass delusional insanity.” To read more on Steuter’s finding click the link below.
I have come to understand how this rejection can make a person not want to talk about homeopathy very much in public. Even I have found myself being cautious about whom I choose to discuss it with for fear of not being accepted. However, through online communities I have become witness to how you are able to find a great sense of acceptance online and feel like you can share their ideas and ask questions without being considered delusional.
The very first thing that I realized about your online communities was that there was a certain sign up process that I had to go through and for the Yahoo Group I even had to request to join. When I was accepted, I was immediately sent the email with all the rules and guidelines that must be followed and the consequences that would take place if I didn’t follow the guidelines like I should. This was very interesting to me because it showed that respect and acceptance is very important within these communities. It was also nice to see that there were mediators for the site and if a person wishes they can bring any of their concerns about what is going on in the group up with the mediators. This really keeps your group focused on only talking about homeopathy and different ways to help those in need.
I also quickly realized how there was a lack of anonymity within your community. This I found to be surprising at first as I had known that many people choose to use false usernames when joining online groups or forums, but I can see how it really helps to improve the conversation between all the members. The fact that you feel confortable enough sharing your personal name and letting people know who you are says a lot about how the community really supports each other. It also allows for you to take ownership for your words and claim the information you are giving as your own. You are able to find a certain kind of trust between members and the conversations are always very courteous and respectful. I have been looking more into the affects of anonymity after following your communities and if you are interested you can also read about how it is good or bad in different cases by clicking on the link below.
Over all, the thing that I have realized the most is how caring you all are toward each other and towards the subject you are talking about. You are very passionate about learning about how homeopathy works and many of you who practice this bring up good questions about how you can find the best-fit remedy for a person. Some of you even share different cases. I haven’t ever posted to either of these communities but I am glad to know where I can go if I ever need to ask a question or discuss a topic within this field of study.
Pedalling Skepticism: Media Representations of Homeopathy as ‘Junk Science’ http://bit.ly/L0ULFn
What’s in a name? Some Reflections on the Sociology of Anonymity http://bit.ly/L2fONW