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Can a purple boot become a pearl (of wisdom)?

Can a purple boot become a pearl (of wisdom)?

The Purple Boot Brigade (PBB) is a successful online social network that helps to raise awareness about breast cancer across Australia. In partnership with Breast Cancer Care WA and ECU, this research set out to determine if the PBB could help seed a new online community for people with breast cancer, their family and friends.

  • Midway through the project, the 'Click Community' oyster was seeded and has started to grow; and
  • Will it become a pearl of wisdom, providing education and support for its members?

Key Message

  • Can a vibrant social networking site be harnessed, to create an empowered online support community for those with a breast cancer diagnosis and their supporters?
  • What role does professional moderation play in such a community?
  • Can it provide education and foster the kind of support that is desired online?
  • What are the communication guidelines, which could be developed and offered to other health promoting communities?


  • Netnographic methodology using thematic analysis;
  • Surveys, focus groups and interviews; and
  • Researcher as member, moderator and supporter.

Preliminary Results

  • Website attributes and information/support needs of the target population identified.
  • The Click website was officially launched on 17 June 2011.
  • Currently 100+ members are seeding the oyster.

Current Impact

  • 24/7 online support available for those with breast cancer and their supporters.
  • Research is ongoing.


Dr Lessa Costello
Professor Lelia Green
Breast Cancer Care WA, Ms Vanessa Bradshaw 

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