Angela Mallon writes:
At present the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) is one of the world’s most vibrant and influential online communities for people living with a life-long health condition. In the USA, hundreds of diabetes bloggers provide information, support and advocate for improved healthcare solutions for those living with this condition.
Four months ago, Australia was one of the first countries outside the USA to develop its own Diabetes Online Community OzDOC.
OzDOC has a rapidly growing membership of people throughout Australia and the world joining in its own weekly ‘tweetchat’ on Tuesday evenings at 8.30 pm (AEDT).
Following the establishment of #OzDOC, other chats have started, including GBDOC (UK),CanDOC (Canada), #ESDOC (Spain), ITADOC (Italy) and (DEDOC (Germany).
Keynote speaker at the Australian social media summit was Kerri Sparling from the USA. Kerry is one of the first bloggers to enter the ‘diabetes blogosphere’ with her Six Until Me blog which started in 2005. Kerri is a regular speaker at social media and diabetes conferences and is a freelance writer and social media consultant.
In her presentation, Kerri talked about how after her diagnosis as a six year old, she found a support network when she attended camps for children with diabetes.
As an adult, however, she felt isolated and missed the opportunity to connect with people who were experiencing similar hopes, problems and fears that she had while living with diabetes.
She turned to blogging to share her story and hopefully hear from others:
“The first week, my mum and my husband were reading. But the next week there were more readers and more readers after that. Sharing stories, offering insight and providing support is what bloggers and their readers get – it’s a mutually beneficial activity!”
Kerri highlighted the importance of supporting others within the community, “each and every voice is important, but together it’s certainly more powerful,” she says.
Other important topics covered at the Summit included the importance of collaboration with healthcare professionals, industry policy makers and healthcare professionals. Diabetes is a self-managed condition and the person living with diabetes needs to be acknowledged as the expert.