Today, we're marking #dblogcheck day in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), a time when D-peeps come together to support others who are part of this online universe. The brainchild of our friend Christopher Snider who runs the Just Talking podcast and writes about his diabetes at A Consequence of Hypoglycemia, this is the third annual community coming-together for a "check in day" letting bloggers know we read their stuff, and we care.
"For a single day, everyone is encouraged to leave a comment on every diabetes blog post you read," Chris writes. "The motivation behind this is not for pageviews or notoriety, but community. So often it feels like we’re standing on our little social media platforms shouting into the void, wondering if anyone is paying attention."
There's no specific day set to mark this tradition. Rather, it occurs whenever our community collectively decides it's time, and that time has come now with the recent talk about "old-school blogging" and "getting back to the basics" of actively connecting with each other.
It's a perfect time for us here at the 'Mine, as 2015 marks our 10th anniversary as a publication. And what's more, today actually marks my personal 31st "diaversary" of diagnosis with T1D, back in 1984 at age five.
OK, for the record: I don't know the exact date or even month. My family believes it was March, since it was after my 5th birthday on Feb. 1 and before we took a family vacation to California in late May. And we know it was still cold in southeast Michigan (where I'm from), as is often the case in early Spring. So several years ago, when I received a new insulin pump replacement on March 10, that became my self-designated diaversary. It just so happens it's Chuck Norris birthday, so that's even more awesome.
As I've mentioned before, I didn't have a lot D-community spirit back when first finding the DOC in late 2005. I was newly married then and was experiencing some not-so-fun neuropathy in my feet and toes, so I went online to find real stories of people also living with this complication. The info my doctor had offered wasn't anything practically useful, because I'd long known that maintaining better blood sugars was a good idea to help thwart any complications (duh!).
I longed to connect with real people, so I took to a Web-search and eventually stumbled upon a fellow 20-something named Kerri who had a blog called Six Until Me. It was real, honest, from the heart. And that sucked me in, bringing other D-bloggers onto my radar soon after -- including Scott Johnson, who was the first guy I came across in the DOC and was sharing his D-experiences online, too.
I also ran into DiabetesMine, which Amy began back in early 2005. She was one of the first few I came across, and being a guy passionate about news, finding the 'Mine was a blessing; it combined the worlds of journalism and diabetes, and that was pretty freakin' cool for me. I bean reading the blogs intensely, lurking at first and later starting my own personal blog in 2007. I eventually joined the 'Mine in 2012. Now as you can imagine, D-blogs and this DOC have been a pretty big part of my life for the past decade.
The same is clearly true for Amy , who started this site after her diagnosis with LADA in 2003. "There are no words for my appreciation for this community," she says. "I love the notion of #dblogcheck day because when you post day after day after day, you do sometimes wonder who's out there listening. It's so awesome to hear back from readers in comments!"
And Rachel Kerstetter, who's recently joined the 'Mine team helping on social media, also says the online diabetes community has meant a world of difference to her. "A few weeks after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I was feeling really overwhelmed and alone. I'd really never met anyone with type 1 diabetes and I wanted so badly to connect with at least one person who knew what I was dealing with." She turned to Twitter and began discovering the DOC and the many folks who now blog about life with diabetes. She eventually felt comfortable enough to start her own blog, ProbablyRachel.
What Community Has Given Us
We all agree that being involved online brings a rich, valuable experience to living with diabetes -- even if that's sometimes hard to quantify. Big moments for me personally, when it comes to the DOC, include:
- Finding the inspiration and motivation to re-direct my journalism career into the diabetes world, to help "connect the dots" and share stories relating to diabetes
- A realization that I was struggling with mental health issues, and that it was OK to talk about that and face the challenges publicly instead of keeping it hidden. Thanks for helping me find sanity and balance, D-friends!
- Discovering camaraderie, and knowing that if I need to vent, commiserate or co-celebrate any diabetes moments in my life, there are people who can share in that emotion and experience. That has opened my heart and mind to issues and perceptions beyond my own little corner, and I appreciate hearing all of the many different views out there. And quite often, that helps shape how I think and approach my own life with D.
So, Friends, we bring this back to you:
How long have you been living with diabetes, and how did you first find the DOC?