I felt privileged, honoured and grateful to be invited by Diabetes Australia Victoria to attend the first ever Australian Diabetes Social Media Summit. This was held in Melbourne on World Diabetes Day – 14th of November.
Click on the image below to find out more about World Diabetes Day.
This exciting event brought together leaders in diabetes social media from around Australia to look at how online communications feature in increasing attention on diabetes and bringing together the diabetes community. The delegates were selected because of either their blog or social media profile as they believed that we would bring to the event expertise and knowledge in how to grow the focus on diabetes in social media and help shape its agenda.
Just being invited was absolutely exciting for me! Especially as I desperately want the Diabetes On-line Community – DOC to have more of a presence here in Australia. It is such an amazing source of support and sense of community and I believe people living with diabetes here in Australia are not even aware of how much they need it. You just don’t know what you don’t know. Also, on-line is global but it would be nice to have some Aussie accents out there too! This has already started with the launch of the tweetchat on Tuesday evenings #OzDOC (Click here to view their Facebook page) but more people need to know about it and/or should get involved.
So already excited about going, when I read that Kerri Morrone Sparling was the key-note speaker at the event I was beside myself. If you don’t know who Kerri is – really? – here is a little explanation. I have quoted what DA Vic wrote on the invite as I couldn’t have said it better.
“Kerri has lived with Type 1 diabetes for over 25 years. She is the creator and author of www.sixuntilme.com , one of the first and most widely read diabetes patient blogs, reaching a global audience of patients, caregivers and industry. Kerri is a passionate advocate for all things diabetes and presents regularly at conferences and advocacy events. She currently works full-time as a writer and social media consultant.”
The program for the event also included open forum discussions facilitated by Renza Scibilia who is the Type 1 Team Manager at DA-VIC regarding the benefits on the already existing DOC, how can we promote and get involved, problems and fears that may exist within the Medical Professionals accepting and promoting a DOC culture within Australia, what is our role as a consumer or patient when dealing with industry and the pro’s and con’s of dialog between the two, the success of the iBGStar launch and it’s use of social media, everyone working together in a variety of traditional and modern formats, the language of diabetes in the media, getting the message out for the World Diabetes Congress 2013 being held Melbourne (Click here for more) - along with many other topics that came up during the course of the day.
Andrew Moore from Sanofi Diabetes also spoke about not only the success of the iBGStar launch and it’s use of consumers trialing the product and discussing it on social media but also about why they did it. The power of social media and industry working together with consumers to get it right and get the message out there and why that is so important.
Prior to going we were asked to consider what uniqueness we brought to the Summit and how best to contribute to the discussions and workshop segments. Focus on why we use social media in the diabetes arena. Why do we do it? What keeps us motivated to stay online and connected to the DOC and OzDOC.
That for me is simple.
Writing my blog and being open and honest – sometimes maybe too open and honest along with being vigilant with testing my blood sugars I believe that I am Training Diabetes to live with me. One prick at a time. I started sharing my experiences about living with Type 1 Diabetes and life in general in hope to inspire and motivate myself and maybe someone else.
Without realising it at the time – I stumbled upon a whole world of humour, support and understanding. I didn’t realise exactly how alone I had felt until I came across the DOC, nor how burdened and desperately in the need to feel connected. Connected to people who knew what it is like to live with this disease. It is this and more why I am motivated to stay online. And the beauty of it being on-line aside from there always being someone somewhere that is writing, blogging, tweeting or on Facebook is that I can be as engaged as I want/can be. It isn’t like making a commitment to meet the same five people for coffee once a month – although that isn’t bad – but in my busy life that really doesn’t suit me. I don’t have to share or talk/tweet if I don’t want to or don’t have time to. Participating in the DOC and it’s no strings freedom is what suits me as diabetes isn’t the only thing in my life.
The emotional support and mental relief that I get from it strengthens me, gives me courage to move on or laugh at this life with diabetes like nothing else.
There is so much more that I need to tell you about the summit but as this post is already so very long I have decided to write it in a few parts. I don’t know how many at this point. So much was discussed and so many antics went on.
At the end of the day – We need to keep this conversation going #OzDSMS
Diabetes Australia Victoria paid and organised for my flights over to Melbourne and my accommodation. I am sincerely grateful – Thank you!
Thank you to Renza Scibilia and Kim Henshaw in organising this event as well as my flights and accommodation.
I would also like to mention that even though they paid for my expenses I do not have any contractual obligation to blog about this, promote them or write about the event with any specific opinion. I do not have an agreement to mention the sponsors of the event but wish to do so in Thanks anyway – Sanofi Diabetes – Medtronic – Lilly