Santa Clara, California, is a very sunny place, even in March. But I didn't mind so much spending the whole of last Saturday indoors at the convention center there since TCOYD conferences are always super-informative with a fun, casual vibe.

I was privileged to be taking part in the new Type 1 Track, in a session about the Diabetes Online Community, moderated by Kelly Close of diaTribe, and including other DOC celebs Kerri Sparling of Sixuntilme and Mike Lawson of TuDiabetes (who's also a correspondent for the 'Mine).tcoyd

Super D-blogger Scott Johnson was also present, sitting at the back of the room getting hugged and fussed over by a lot of fans; shoulda been on the panel -- that man has a way of sharing his stories like nobody else!

Anyhow, I'm finding these "social-media-for-patients" sessions increasingly challenging these days, since you never know who's in the room; the level of familiarity with the online world runs the gamut from addicts (shout-out to those who said they've been reading the 'Mine for years!) to complete newbies.

Instead of "how-to," we decided to start out by telling little stories about how our online connections have helped us with our diabetes IRL (that's internet for In Real Life for any newbies out there ;) )

Innovation 2015

That was going pretty well, until something classic happened: a woman with salt-and-pepper hair walked in little late, strolled right up to the front of the room, and unabashedly asked us: "So what IS Twitter?"

Errr... our responses about '140 characters' and 'hashtags' drew blank stares, so I piped up with this brilliant explanation:

"Um, it's like a service where you can publish one sentence at a time."

And then of course the quick qualifier: "I know that sounds like the stupidest, most useless thing on the planet -- but actually it's not!"

{Tweeting in my head: Great. Social media explained. Guess we can go home now. #NOT}

My hands-down favorite story about getting help from the DOC was Mike Lawson's Blind Date Rescue, which is totally worth sharing, IMHO (that's In My Humble Opinion, new friends):

So Mike goes on this blind date, and decides he's not necessarily up for the 'Diabetes 101' talk right away, so to avoid the explanations, he injects his insulin in the car before entering the restaurant. But, uh-oh! Blind Date is late, and the restaurant's really busy, so not a server in sight to bring him something carby as his blood sugar starts to drop and he starts to sweat and shake. So what does he do? He tweets, of course! WTF? (that stands for... well, just look it up).

Anyhow he tweets something along the lines of: At a restaurant. Low #bgnow + blind date = (insert curse word).

And within minutes, guess what came back, from internet friend @iamsquee? Two words: Sugar packets?

"There it was. The solution to my problem was just 6 inches from my elbow!" Mike exclaims. "But somebody across the country had to point it out, and using the internet they could -- instantly!"

Thank you, Twitter, with your silly capability to broadcast us sentence by sentence.

We all talked about how Twitter helps us share links to great posts and articles, find like-minded PWDs all over the world, and just say "good morning" to folks who understand the joy of waking up to a 100 #bgnow.

I was also thrilled to get my hands on the new 4th edition of Dr. Steve Edelman's TCOYD book, in which I wrote a chapter! ... about using the internet, naturally!  My chapter's titled, "Diabetes in the Internet Age: How Getting Networked Can book_tcoyd_4Change Your Life."

The book has gained some serious weight since the last edition, now chock-full of 33 chapters on every possible aspect of diabetes from recognizable experts like Bill Polonsky, Sheri Colberg, Janis Roszler, John Walsh and many more. But don't let that turn you off. It's not meant to be read through cover-to-cover, Steve tells me, but rather "used as a reference book," meaning each chapter stands on its own and you're meant to pick and choose the chapters on topics that interest you at the moment.

I was really proud to see my chapter in print. And hopefully I did a decent job of explaining what we all do online in the diabetes advocacy world, why it matters, and how to get started in case you are new.

All in all, TCOYD was a great day! Read more about these conferences, which take place across the country, here. And also how "Everything I Need to Know I Learned at TCOYD." This time, I even got to meet Max Szadek of the wonderful and colorful New-York based advocacy organization Divabetic:

Trolling on Twitter later that night, I found myself grinning as I ran into all kinds of useful links. And a few really fun ones, like the DiabeTees site, where these styles made me LOL (that's Laugh Out Loud, folks!):

Bolusing Tshirt

DKA Tshirt

Stupid Pancreas Shirt

Cure diabetes 1979 shirt

 
Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.

Disclaimer

This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.