The Impact of the Diabetes Online Community

Posted by sean on Wed, 05/28/2014 - 14:18 in
"I honestly believe that the next best medicine besides insulin is belonging to a community."

Check out Sean Busby’s story about the support and inspiration he has received from the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). Do you have a story about how the DOC has helped you? 

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2004, I was just starting to step into the social media world. Sure I had a website as an athlete back then and also a MySpace account, but that was it. I never knew how much social media would come into play with my life, especially as a person living with type 1 diabetes.

After my diagnosis and when back on the snowboarding tour, I found little time to socialize about the disease. I have also since lived in small ski town communities distant from any major city and most diabetes support groups. One of the primary reasons I formed Riding On Insulin was so I could dedicate specific time to being around others with the same disease.

First Discovering the Diabetes Online Community

Sean-Busby-Diabetes-Online-CommunityAs I ventured further into the social media front, I came across a growing movement known as the DOC, or Diabetes Online Community. I quickly became a member of my very first DOC group, TuDiabetes, and was able to connect with others who had the same disease - right from the comfort of my small ski town. What I found was an engaged and supportive community. I was even blown away by seeing support for loved ones of the disease. Unlike my typical Facebook friends, the DOC discussed many issues from the hard and bad days to the good ones with managing a chronic disease. I have found the DOC to be a real community.

A Sense of Reality within the Diabetes Online Community

Recently, a friend was speaking about how when we sign onto social media sites, we usually see just the positive views of our friends. We see cool things or happy moments happening in their lives, but it’s good to remember that we’re not usually privy to the moments of hardship. We don’t see the mortgage bill or the dog vomiting all over the new rug (true story). This “false view” can force us to put pressure on our own life, with constant happy, positive reminders of how we should always feel.

When I am planning for an expedition, it’s fun to post a status update on Facebook about the upcoming trip, however, I never speak of the hours and hours of grueling travel research I do personally. I like to engage my time with the DOC scanning forums or websites that engage people with type 1 diabetes in an open discussion. What I usually find are some common tricks and tips on new ways to better manage various diabetes scenarios or a new friend to share an adventure with. Engaging with the DOC presents so many opportunities to be a part of in the type 1 diabetes community while I continue to live in a small town.

My Personal Involvement in the Diabetes Online Community

Social media has grown leaps and bounds since 2004, and I continue to find myself further involved with the DOC. I often get requests via Facebook from parents about their child with diabetes or by other people with the disease. I honestly believe that the next best medicine besides insulin is belonging to a community.

I have been part of two main communities in my life now: 1.) snowboarding 2.) DOC. I consider the DOC to be family and a place where I can address issues with burnout, lab results and other concerns that I may not share publicly on a Facebook status. The DOC provides 24-hour support by connecting you with others that understand you and know what you are going through. There are even common hashtags that specifically address diabetes, such as #bgnow, #t1d and of course #diabetes. It’s an exciting time with social media and I encourage all of you to find your own personal DOC and to connect and share with others.

Here are just a few great resources (in addition to Podder Talk!) that may help get you started in the DOC:

  • Diabetes-specific Facebook groups (There are also tons of private groups for parents to join.)

Imagine if I had never read the stories of success on JDRF’s website when I was first diagnosed, I would have surely given up professional snowboarding. I quickly learned that if a two-year-old or a 15-year-old could live with type 1 diabetes then so could I and anyone else.

I am so thankful for everything the DOC has provided me. I definitely have gotten so much more out of it than I could ever give!

Click here to request a free demo of the Omnipod insulin pump.