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Of Cocktails and Community.

“So what you should do is see what people are searching for and then carefully tailor your posts to draw in those searches.  Pick the search engine terms that there isn’t a high competition for, giving you an advantage in Google’s search algorithm.”

The example he used was pretty simple:  “10 Best Cocktails for People with Diabetes”

In a discussion during the European Bloggers Summit in Barcelona (running alongside EASD), a search engine optimization expert gave a presentation about seeding blog posts with keywords in order to cast a greater net for readership.  The SEO strategist was helpful, and had wonderful advice for people who were churning out content to get it read, but my  body had a tangible reaction to this kind of advice.  I felt myself prickling with frustration because is this really what people are writing for?  Page views?

No freaking way.  Not in this community.

So the top ten best cocktails for people with diabetes?  Fucking sure.  Let’s do this, social media-style:

  1. The #DSMA:  Take 140 characters, a hashtag, and equal parts honesty and humor and mix them thoroughly in Twitter.  Tastes best on Wednesday nights at 9 pm EST.
  2. The Blogosphere:  Start with a URL or a Feedreader and slap it into the search bar on your mobile device, tablet, or computer, or Google “diabetes blogs” for a list of ingredients.  Mix reading these blogs throughout your day for a boost in diabetes empowerment and community.
  3. The Flaming YouTube:  Search through YouTube for diabetes, or “diabetes math,” or “breaking up with diabetes,” or “changing the song on my Animas Ping” and you’ll find a slew of video combinations to add to your playlist.  (Title the playlist “Cocktails for Diabetics” and you’ll probably get a lot of search returns, but you’ll also find people who want to be found.)
  4. The Instagrammed:  Take your phone, photograph any ol’ diabetes bit or piece in your house, and mix with Instagram to create a frothy, fun mix of Dexcom graphs, race bibs, brave new infusion set sites, Halloween-candy-casually-pretending-to-be-hypo-treatment, and friends who understand.
  5. Facebook Your Face:  Take your Facebook account and stir gently with groups, hashtags, and posts about diabetes.  It may take a while for this mixture to fully set, but once it does, you’ll have a shot of community you can take in one sitting, or something you can sip on and scroll through for hours.
  6. The Friends for Life Take one part people with diabetes, one part caregivers, one part educators, one part inspirational athletes, one part Disney World, one part green bracelets, and a billion parts love and throw into a salad shooter and spray that stuff everywhere because in-person diabetes meet-ups and conferences will break your heart and mend it within the course of a week.
  7. The Group Text:  No specific ingredients, but a drink best shared with many.  And at 3 am.
  8. The Call Me:  Best served when low, because a phone call to another PWD who understands is the best way to keep from over-treating.
  9. The Honest-Tea:  Equal parts empathy and honesty, this cocktail is a must for people with diabetes who are looking for confirmation that they aren’t alone.  It’s not about enabling, but empowering.  (Goes really well with a side of Communi-Tea.)
  10. The Hug:  Social media is great, but nothing is better than a hug between two people whose much-loved pancreases have taken an extended leave of absence.  There is no set ‘best time’ for this cocktail – serve immediately and enjoy.

The one in the middle looks like pee, to me.

People in the diabetes community don’t communicate with one another for page views or Google search prowess.  Of course, not everyone’s intentions are the same across the board, and there are people who immerse themselves in a community looking for things that aren’t as altruistic, but the majority of interaction in the DOC, from what I can see, is between people who need each other.  That’s why so many of us started doing this, and it’s why so many of us continue.

Because when Google redoes its algorithm and there’s a new system for search engine optimization, when there’s an upheaval in what’s considered the “it” platform for social media, the song remains the same for the DOC.  Diabetes, for many, isn’t just in your body but also resides full-time in your head, and managing emotions and support is as essential as insulin (and with a significantly lower copay).  It’s not about where the discussions are taking place; it’s about the discussions that are taking place.  So “drink” up!

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. 1. I love this.

    2. As a PR professional, I recommend that my clients who blog focus on quality over quantity and become a trusted source of information to build relationships before they worry about SEO. The people who need your content will find you in search.

    10/29/13; 10:44 am
    • Rachel – EXACTLY. That’s what we told the guy, that it’s awesome to have ways to expand the community, but the bottom line is that it is a community. :)

      10/29/13; 10:47 am
  2. If I did it for the page views, I would have given up writing a long time ago. Seriously, I thougt about SEO for about five minutes one day, and it felt… not right (for me anyway). But not concentrating on that gives me a lot more freedom to tell my story and say what’s on my mind.

    It’s not about reaching the masses as much as it’s about reaching the one person who needs you at the moment they need you. Thanks

    10/29/13; 11:12 am
  3. I think “social media for good” should be an official thing. Assuming it doesn’t already exist.

    Also, this post is great.

    10/29/13; 11:34 am
  4. As someone who is on a blogging hiatus due to other things in my life happening at warp speeds, reading this and thinking about the people who do it for the clicks reminded me of those websites that highlight every word and take you do a different spammy website.

    Also, as we discussed, the doc is the twist to the diabetes cocktail.

    10/29/13; 11:36 am
  5. Antics like that work well if you are trying to get attention on a corporate blogsite, but I doubt the guy understood anything at all about living with a chronic illness.

    10/29/13; 5:08 pm
  6. I. Love. This. And the diabetes community as I know it too of course :)

    10/29/13; 5:15 pm
  7. Harry #

    Came here to brag about my non-sugary Old Fashioned recipe. Left with a different type of satisfaction. :)

    10/29/13; 9:02 pm
  8. Molly #

    All that is well and good. But my 2014 mission involves making gin and diet coke a recognized cocktail.

    10/29/13; 9:54 pm
  9. Lee #

    Funny piece! Write on, looking forward to reading more from you! I found this in the D-Community, not by a keyword search…Hahahahaha!

    10/30/13; 1:54 pm
  10. Love this!

    10/30/13; 6:01 pm
  11. You had me at cocktails.

    10/31/13; 8:21 am
  12. Did I ever tell you about the time at FFL when I had mojitos three nights in a row and clocked in at exactly 100 (straight arrow) right before I went to bed three nights in a row?

    11/5/13; 1:08 am
  13. Geri Mazur #

    I love the composition of this article. Really makes sense!

    Especially this line, “It’s not about where the discussions are taking place; it’s about the discussions that are taking place. So “drink” up!”

    11/25/13; 2:28 am

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