Guest Post: Going Beyond 140 Characters.
Hi, I’m Matt from Melbourne.
Long time blog reader, short time blog writer.
Before attending Australia’s first Diabetes Social Media Summit (#OzDSMS), organised by Renza and Kim at Diabetes Australia – Victoria I thought I had two things stopping me from writing a diabetes blog. The first factor being the lack of time, the second factor being the lack of a slightly humourous blog title. Some might argue that I still have neither of these things in my favour, but following the event, I decided to launch my blog – Insulin Pumps Need Tetris – anyway.
This was a group of people that I had largely met via Twitter, brought together by the fact that we share diabetes and a passion for improving lives for people diabetes. These people have made me feel more inclined to tweet about my diabetes, and #OzDSMS made me realise that I can be a part of our great Australian Diabetes Online Community in a way that went beyond 140 characters. That is, by joining what is a growing blogosphere in Australia.
I have quite often been guilty at lamenting that people do not “understand” type 1, that the media misrepresents type 1 ALL THE TIME and that product companies often do not engage with people living with type 1 nearly enough, resulting in products that just miss the mark. Writing a blog allows me to go a step beyond lamenting these issues and doing something a bit more constructive.
So, why “Insulin pumps need Tetris”? Soon after getting my insulin pump earlier this year, a close friend soon asked me how I was going with my newly acquired gadget. My response?
“I have no idea why I didn’t get a pump sooner. The only thing that would make my insulin pump any cooler would be if it had Tetris on it. Insulin pumps need Tetris."
(You can read more about that here.)
In some ways, diabetes intersecting with the online world is not new to Australia. We have had the benefit of the Type 1 Diabetes Network* - Reality Check forum for a long time that provides people with a chance to discuss diabetes with friendly faces/usernames; anonymously if they wish. But in another way, the Australian Diabetes Online Community is in its infancy here. Until recent years, the blog scene has been fairly sparse and until even more recently, the twitter scene has been fairly disconnected. But this is changing - big time.
The Australian Diabetes Online Community is going gangbusters. Take my story as a case study – started on Reality Check, started reading blogs (happy to note that SUM was one of the first I stumbled across), created a twitter account, found a whole diabetes community on twitter, started tweeting about diabetes (apologies for all the other sports tweets if you follow me!), met people from social media in real life... to talk about social media, coordinate social media activities for the Type 1 Diabetes Network and now created a blog of my own.
This is all because I now feel comfortable to put my thoughts about diabetes on paper (iPad technically) due to the supportive environment that the DOC and the OzDOC provides.
We are quite lucky in Australia. We have the National Diabetes Services Scheme, considerable health professional expertise, insulin pumps are increasingly accessible and there are numerous organisations supporting people with diabetes. But there are things that need attention and for the first time, social media is allowing us to influence and drive the agenda in a whole new way.
For example, Renza’s blog post on issues regarding driving and diabetes guidelines in Australia has resulting in mainstream media attention and political interest.
All of this was not even in the realm of possibility when I was first diagnosed in 1996. I am hoping that my blog can, in a small way, complement the work of my friends and colleagues in across the Australian Diabetes Online Community, and abroad.
Note 1: My sincere thanks go to Kerri for allowing me to provide a guest post on her super awesome blog. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Kerri during her time in my home state of Melbourne, and look forward to her return visit at some point (although I’m sure she’s not looking forward to the flight!). [Editor's note: Thank YOU, Matty, and I'm actually looking forward to coming to Australia again!]
Note 2: I am a committee member of the Type 1 Diabetes Network but these thoughts are my own!
* * *
Thank you so much, Matt, for introducing yourself, and for everything you do for the global diabetes community. Oh, and thanks to Melbourne for having such fantastic coffee! And lastly, I wish Cat Tetris actually existed.