I spent yesterday at a Bite PR blogging conference with icon presenters the likes of Doc Searls, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, Tom Foremski of Silicon Valley Watcher, and Mark Jen, the guy who got fired from Google recently for blogging about their stuff.
I came away more convinced than ever that: 1) we are just experiencing the tip of the iceberg here -- blogs have reinvented publishing forever; 2) traditional media still "doesn't get it," but will soon be forced to acknowledge the blogosphere; and 3) blogs are the TAILOR MADE for the diabetes community.
Diabetes is such a unique disease: chronic, yet largely controllable by the patient (with a lot of work and perseverance). The biggest issue most of us face with the challenge of our 24/7 self-care is ISOLATION. With blogs, we can reach out to each other in a way that even Message Boards and Forums don't offer: forums are completely uncontrolled, while blogs are guided by one or more authors and graded by the quality of their content. As SV Watcher notes, there is a huge proliferation of blogs at the moment (more than 50 million!), but "the ones that count are very few in number and they have become regular meeting places for discussions."
Unfortunately, the top diabetes publications are among the traditional media that have not caught on yet. With my background as a PR practitioner, I tipped off the editors about the emerging Diabetes Blogging Community several weeks ago —- Kim Douglass and Andrew Keegan of Diabetes Forecast, Daniel Trecroci of Diabetes Health, and others from Diabetes Digest, Diabetes Self-Management, and Diabetes Care.
Of all those contacted, only Paula Ford-Martin, now with the newest media group DLife, showed any real interest. She replied to my email saying: "I am planning on adding a blog section to our recommended links. I used to blog myself when I was editor and content producer (aka guide) at About Diabetes, so the medium is near and dear to my heart. ;-)"
At least the DLife people seem to understand that we live in a new era of two-way communication —- meaning the old model of simply pushing information at your customers/audience in an authoritative voice is crumbling. Now it's about engaging in dialogues with the people served. And you can be sure that your customers are also conversing with each other about your offerings, so better to join the discussion than ignore it!