Social Media with the Eyes of the Diabetes Blogger: Interview

In the first part of my series (I ask medical professionals and e-patients about how they use social media presented through practical examples and suggestions), a rheumatologist told us how he uses social media day by day. Now here is Kerri Morrone Sparling, one of the most famous diabetes bloggers in the world, with her own examples and habits. Kerri has been a major voice in the global diabetes community for years and she has amazing views on how social media can help diabetic patients. Enjoy!

  • What social media channels do you use in your work and for what purposes?

I use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and my own blog to connect with other patients who are living with diabetes. I use these channels daily, and even though it seems like a big commitment, there is so much empowerment to interacting with kindred spirits. My blog reaches a wide audience, and discussions about “real life diabetes” take place every day. There’s so much of an emotional health benefit to knowing you aren’t alone, and that there are others out there who “get it.”

  • What does your doctor think about social media? Does he use it?

My doctors know what I do, in the diabetes advocacy space, and they think it’s cool. My medical team understands that the 15 minutes I see them for every few months isn’t enough to sustain the physical and emotion health needs of some patients, and they encourage me to connect with my fellow patients. They love the ides of patients sharing their tricks for hiding their diabetes devices into their day-to-day lives. However, while my medical team has an overall social media presence, they do not have individualized representation.

  • What social media sites do you think point towards the future of healthcare?

I think that Twitter, and micro-blogging in general, is a powerful resource for patients, providers, and all health care professionals. Committing to blogging, or to running a specific community, can be a lot of work, but there’s something very satisfyingly simple about bite-sized bits of information that can be requested, received, and shared on micro-blogging platforms. Everyone’s lives are becoming busier and busier, so the simpler the sharing becomes, the more people can, and will, share.

The diabetes online community is huge – from social networks like TuDiabetes to Twitter chats like #dsma to the hundreds of individual diabetes blogs … diabetes is well-represented in the social space. Sometimes this condition is so well-represented that it can be a little overwhelming for someone new to exploring the community – there’s so much that you don’t know where to jump in! I love the Webcina diabetes selections because it’s a whittled-down list of some of the best social sites for diabetes, and it gives you solid sites to help introduce someone to the community.