On November 10, 2016, we hosted our first Digital Sherpa Workshop in partnership with Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute and Florida Gulf Coast University. A group of 5 cancer patients and 2 caregivers who expressed a desire to become more competent in Internet and social media skills met with 8 college students who have been specially trained as Internet “Sherpas” to offer them a workshop in these skills. The students offered help in basic skills and included the following:
- Basic Internet skills (opening an email account, how to use Google search, filtering search results, creating/remembering passwords)
- Basic Twitter skills (opening a Twitter account, how to tweet, how to build followers, how to add images, whom to follow, privacy protection, hashtags, tweetchats)
- Basic Facebook skills (opening an account, privacy settings, how to post, Facebook etiquette)
- Patient Communities such as Treatment Diaries, PatientsLikeMe, StupidCancer, HealthUnlocked, Cancer Support Community
“I love being able to put a smile on someone’s face who is going through so much!” – FGCU Student
Along with the learning basic Internet and social media skills, the patients and students shared a great sense of companionship and some even have plans to meet-up again in the future! One patient shared that she was grateful to be able to ask questions about her phone and social media without having to bug her children. It was so amazing and touching to see these two generations come together and have fun in each others company all the while learning valuable skills. The students learned they can make a tangible difference in someone’s life with the tech knowledge they already possess and the patients learned how to empower and educate themselves in their health via social media and the Internet. Both patients and students were so happy with the results of the workshop, they were asking when the next one would be. We are so excited and thankful the pilot Digital Sherpa Workshop was such a success and look forward to hosting workshops in the future!