The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation paralysis community site has gone up and, in keeping with current trends, is a social media experience for members of the community. Here is the introduction from the site:
Welcome to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation paralysis community!
While paralysis can occur from trauma, disease or birth condition, many of the day to day medical and lifestyle issues are the same for all, regardless of diagnosis. This is the place on the Internet to connect with experts, ask questions, meet friends, and share stories — all within a reliable, safe and secure environment.
The site is intended to be a support structure for people who are paralysed and their families and it makes use of a few social media elements to help achieve this. Users of the site can pick from blogs, discussion groups and the ability to create lists of their friends they meet on the site. There are some pretty helpful features on the site beyond the blogs, discussion groups and friends lists. Visitors to the site can also see which stories were emailed the most, surveys on a variety of topics (76% of visitors to the site found the site through an association site or a newsletter), recent comments and discussion topics.
Relative to the sorts of services that we find on the Web today the site is not the fanciest with the latest mashups but it isn’t designed for new media junkies, it is designed for ordinary people who want to connect to each other and to people who can help them so it has just what they need to start that process. Aside from being a wonderful service to people who are paralysed and their families, this site is an example of proportionality when it comes to the development of a new media-based site. It really doesn’t help adding every bell and whistle to a site just because it is cool. Sites should be developed with their purpose and intended users in mind, not the coolest web apps around. Use the right tools for the right job!