When many of us consider the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), we probably first think of the connections we’ve made through blogs or on Twitter and Facebook. But there’s a whole wealth of online communities around diabetes that you may not be aware of. As a self-described social media enthusiast and a PWD, I’m excited to share with DiabetesMine readers how the DOC extends to other platforms -- specifically Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr.
Let’s start today by checking out some diabetes personalities on the Internet’s favorite photo-based social network: Instagram. Searching #diabetes on Instagram can be infuriating since it returns photos of doughnuts, cakes, cookies and other sweet treats. But there are also a lot of great people working the diabetes hashtags (we just featured Laura Pavlakovich of You're Just My Type for example).
Here are six other favorites that I find incredibly shareworthy:
I’ve been following Heather Donsky on Instagram for about a year and I love her balance of advocacy, personality, actual doctor knowledge and completely stunning photos. A research fellow at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Heather is all about showing off technology for diabetes management, but she often rocks it old-school as well, frequently posting pictures of her doings with an insulin pen. My recent favorite post of hers was about wedding cake tasting.
This diabetes Instagrammer is an aspiring actress and proud T1D who rocks a decorated OmniPod. Although proud, her Instafeed is not all diabetes, which I love. She uses Instagram videos a lot too, so when you follow her, you feel like you really get to know her. Note that her professional bio states, "After almost 17 years as a T1D, Brown has overcome so much with her diabetes especially regaining the ability to walk after fighting diabetic nerve damage in her legs and feet almost nine years ago.... For some productions, the thought of having an actress with such a visible device for treatment has been a bit unnerving. But in the past few years, Brown has seen a change in which production companies are writing her character in as a diabetic who is strong and determined OR they allow the pump to be worn and shown without feeling the need to address it because it does not take away from Brown's ability to deliver the character." You go, Girl!
A Minnesotan living in Germany, Leah’s Instagram profile calls for “Positive Vibes only” and she frequents the #happydiabeticchallenge hashtag. Her Medtronic insulin pump and CGM are frequently the stars of her photos, and she often asks her followers to chime in about their own experiences. She also mixes in some stylish diabetes gear with a lot of inspirational messages. Leah’s definitely an uplifting part of any diabetes Instafeed, to be sure! (Tip: she also maintains a Wordpress blog by the same name.)
With a name like that you’d think the lady behind the photos was Carol, but instead it’s Emily. Carol is the name that Emily gave to her type 1 diabetes. Emily’s feed cracks me up sometimes because it’s so relatable. She's had T1D for 19 years, since age 7. And suffice it to say that she's really good at making faces, sharing her food & beverage choices, and revealing places on her body where she wears her "Carol tools."
Dan’elle is navigating diabetes in her own way. A Medtronic Ambassador, she’s currently managing with Fred Jr., her insulin pump, after bidding farewell to her previous pump, Fred Sr. (She's actually using the new Medtronic 670G hybrid closed-loop system.) Her diabetes life is also stylish and quite organized, from her color-coordinated diabetes bag to her DIY Diabetes Bedroom Kit.
This account should Insta-resonate with parents of CWDs (children with diabetes), as it chronicles life with a toddler named Juniper who has type 1 diabetes and an adorable diabetic alert dog named Moxie. They show the highs and lows with a hefty dose of cute and reality, including one of Juniper’s sisters getting tested with TrialNet. My favorite picture though is Juniper and moxie at Disney with matching Minnie Mouse Ears.
So, D-Friends: What are your favorite diabetes-related Instagram feeds to follow?