Voices in the #doc

The diabetes online community is amazing. There are so many committed, inspiring, and articulate individuals who contribute to the sense of community. These advocates Share their stories and spearhead actions that we can all participate in to increase awareness and support each other in the day to day burdens of managing diabetes.

Some of these people and initiatives are so amazing that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and think, “but what can I possibly contribute after what all these folks have already done and are doing?”. The internet is so full of accessible information and support about living with diabetes these days. Sure, I can add my voice, but won’t it just get drowned in the ocean of voices that are already out there (and that have more interesting, funny and inspiring things to say than me)?

And then something happens that reminds me that each voice is important.

I co-founded and moderate the #frdoc weekly tweetchats. They are very much based on the #dsma principles and format, but are in french and in a timezone that makes sense for people living in France. It’s a small group each week, as people tend not to be very public about living chronic illness here and twitter seems to have more of a professional than personal use in France. There are few PWD on twitter – or at least people who use twitter as a means to communicate about living with diabetes. But despite its modest reach, the group is slowly growing in participants and lurkers.

At one tweetchat a little while ago, the topic was finding the “positive” in living with diabetes. Before the chat began, someone who had until then never participated, tweeted to ask if the topic was a joke and how could anyone ever find anything positive about living with diabetes. After I replied that no, it was definitely not a joke, she decided to participate in the chat. At the end of the hour, her final comment was “Thank you so much for this chat. I will now be open to exchanges with other PWDs that I had, until now, been avoiding. It will have taken this unbelievable topic!”

Sometimes it just takes being a voice there in the right time and place (and in the right language) to make a positive difference in the life of one person. And that’s really what the #DOC is all about, isn’t it?

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