When most of us think of the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), we tend to concentrate on blogs, Twitter and Facebook. But there’s a whole world of other great online diabetes channels out there. I've been excited to share with DiabetesMine readers some DOC faves on other platforms, starting with Instagram most recently, and today... YouTube!
Did you know: YouTube is the third most popular search engine? It’s now the first place most people turn to watch a music video (or cat video), but more importantly to look for "how-to" videos to learn how to master things -- like how to insert a Dexcom sensor on your arm all by yourself, or find the humor in diabetes. YouTube is also an extremely effective tool for sharing lifestyle tips and stories. Just by searching for "Diabetes" on YouTube, a whole plethora of D-related videos can be found online!
Here are six diabetes YouTube channels you should be watching if you aren’t already.
Diabetic Danica was one of the first YouTubers with diabetes (YWDs?) I ever encountered. I found her channel in my early T1D days about 6 years ago when she did a whole series on diabetes misconceptions. Danica, who is a registered nurse, has produced a lot of videos over the years talking about a range of things from drinking alcohol with diabetes and having your period with diabetes to product reviews and various "life updates." One of Danica’s recent fun videos was a Snapchat Q&A in which she shared a video Q&A answering questions from viewers.
Los Angeles-based Chef Robert Lewis has lived with type 2 diabetes for nearly 20 years. After he decided to take control of his diabetes, he decided to show how to make good food that's both delicious and healthy. Just browsing Robert’s videos makes me sooo hungry! His surprisingly little-known YouTube channel features recipes, video podcasts and a bunch of Robert’s other adventures. I like seeing how someone’s profession and passion can intersect to create projects like Happy Diabetic TV.
The family of six behind The Dale Tribe YouTube channel lives in the mountains of Colorado. Their youngest daughter, Aspen, lives with type 1 diabetes and the family is training a diabetic alert dog named Phoenix. I love how laid-back and quirky this family is. Even though the parents Amy and Jon are the primary drivers of the videos, the whole family gets involved.
One of their most recent videos features an incident with their daughter Shae who passed out. Of course their first response was to check her blood sugar just in case she was being hit with T1D too. A lot of their videos prominently feature diabetes topics, triumphs, mishaps and frustrations related to how daughter Aspen’s diabetes is behaving (or not).
Michelle is a PhD student living in Toronto. She vlogs about traveling with diabetes, tips and tricks, her diabetes doctor appointments and some serious topics like her experience with DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis), fears of staying alone overnight and bad diabetes days. In a recent video, she talked about a little getaway for her birthday and being excited to run into another insulin pumper (!)
Aside from her really well done videos, Michelle is great at building community with other PWDs (people with diabetes) on YouTube, actively responding to feedback on her videos as well as interacting with fellow YouTubers; her name has been mentioned by many of the other D-YouTubers I've encountered in my research over time.
DIabetic Dad is a vlogging dad who's lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 30 years in the UK. He has a soothing voice that’s super easy to listen to. He’s tackled a number of topics in his videos, but mental health has been a main theme. He’s talked about grief and diabetes, social anxiety, getting psychological help and more. Humor is also a theme; he touches on hurtful diabetes jokes but also using type 1 diabetes to your advantage with humor, and the positives in his life with diabetes.
If you haven't heard of the pro basketball player turned diabetes advocate, then you should be tuning in to the YouTube Channel of Rob Howe. This Texas thirty-something has been living with type 1 since age 16 in 2005. He started the Diabetics Doing Things website in 2017, which is all about sharing stories of "regulator people doing regular things" from around the Diabetes Community.
He describes this as a "podcast," with audio versions on iTunes and Android, but with a fun and energetic personality Rob's video platform makes him look like a professional YouTuber, IMHO. Before starting all of this, Rob has a notable athlete who played college basketball in Colorado and then became the first T1D member of the Washington Generals exhibition basketball team (like the Globetrotters).
Of course, we can't mention about diabetes on YouTube without giving props to those who came before, including our T1 DOC friends Bill Woods as 1HappyDiabetic and Mr. Mike Lawson who had an online video presence over a decade ago! They may not be YouTubing these days, but they certainly set the stage those many years ago.
Keeping up a YouTube channel with high-quality videos is time-consuming and many people have started and soon after abandoned their efforts. It takes time, dedication and a great personality to do what these folks do. So kudos to them!
Which DOC YouTubers do you all watch?