Close encounters of the online kind.

Okay, so my offline life with diabetes doesn’t offer much interaction right now.

On the other hand, my online diabetes life is chock full of interaction.

In fact, it keeps me on my toes all the time.

I never connected with the Diabetes Community at all before finding the DOC back in 2011. Never even heard of such a thing. Now, there are many people who sort of live inside of my computer or mobile device, whom I read and trust and admire. And yes, interact with.

I write this blog for a variety of reasons. I write to add my voice to the conversation. I write to advocate so others can add their voices to the conversation. I write to inform, when I can. And often, I write just for me. Because I like to write. Because, when I’m gone, I hope to have left a sliver of what my life was like here in the 2000-teens, with Type 1 Diabetes as a constant companion.

So sometimes, I’ll write something just for my own sake, recounting things that make me happy, even if it doesn’t necessarily move the diabetes needle further toward a cure. Occasionally, in those moments when I worry that my mind will go at some point (Mr. Glass Half Empty), I take comfort in the knowledge that at least I’ll be able to go back and see who my friends were, even if I can’t remember all their names by then. I’ll just have to remember the web address. That’s what Favorites are for, I guess.

I can’t tell you how much fun I have moderating the DSMA Twitter chats every so often. Even when my brain is fried from a long, hard day at my job, in the middle of a cold, dark winter, when my day starts at 4:30 a.m. and DSMA finishes late on the east coast and I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open, I get such a kick from the thrill of a newbie’s reaction to being part of the conversation, or a timely wisecrack from a DSMA veteran (who’s also a part-time DSMA moderator).

It’s weird though. I consider most of the people I interact with online as my friends, even though I don’t know many of them all that much. When they are wronged, when people call them out online, when people try to shame or stigmatize their disease, what they’ve done or how they live their lives, I’m ready to defend them right away. Why? Because someone is trying to hurt my friends. You don’t mess with my friends.

Also, because they’ve been there for me more times than I can count.

We all engage in the ways that work best for us… or are most convenient for us. But together, all of us are part of a greater community (see what I did there?). Being part of a greater community carries with it a certain amount of responsibility. Not all of us have an equal amount of responsibility at the same time, all the time. It comes and goes, depending on a number of factors.

We also have varying amounts of opportunity, depending on a number of factors. I think of opportunity differently. When I have an opportunity to do something, I feel almost compelled to seize on it. Of course, not all opportunities are the same either. What I’m saying is, we’re faced with questions of whether to engage or not engage all the time.

It’s not about repaying a debt to the ether that I’ve somehow concocted in my mind. Again, it’s about being part of a community, being a building block of a group that makes greater things happen, not just by myself, but by holding up my part of the foundation of The House That Makes Life Better for everyone living with and affected by diabetes.

I may have more of an impact online than offline most times. That may have a lot, or very little, to do with me. But I’m happy to engage in any way I can, so all my friends living with and affected by diabetes can walk an easier path toward the future.

How is your online life different from your offline life with diabetes? Do you engage more either way? Do you like engaging more online or offline? Do you seize opportunities, online or offline, when they arise? What makes you say yes or no to these opportunities?

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  • Karen  On July 15, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Mmmmm, lots to think about here!!!! I think I like both ways for different reasons. Online is great because someone is always around, 24/7, and you can connect from anywhere. Also, I think I feel a bit more free to discuss things that are hard for me to talk about, because the computer screen gives a bit of a buffer. But offline is so great too – there is nothing like the feeling of being in the same room with someone who really gets it and connecting face to face!!! I love them both, and I extra love when online friends become offline friends!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Kate Cornell  On July 15, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    The DOC is so lucky to have people like you. I admire your willingness to step up when needed. My diabetes life is definitely more rich online than offline. This is where I come for what I need whether it’s a hug, a “me too” or just a laugh. We PWD are funny folk!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Katy  On July 15, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I like online better, because I can more easily find my type of people. In real life, diabetes people seem to mostly be the not my kind of people. What it boils down to for me is not type one and type two, but type EARNEST DRAMA WITH RELIGIOUS OVERTONES and type SURFACE MEH WITH UNDERLYING ANXIETY or type EAT IT ALL AND BOLUS and type FOOD HYPERAWARE. The DOC is full of all kinds!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Scott E  On July 15, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    How is it different? My online life with diabetes and my offline life with diabetes are MILES apart. Offline, people see me do diabetes-things, like check my blood sugar or pump insulin (I assume they see it — how could they miss it?). On occasion – which I would classify as infrequent – an actual discussion about diabetes comes up, but it’s usually somewhat superficial. Rarely does a deep discussion take surface.

    Online, it depends entirely on the forum. In diabetes-themed places, the talk is everywhere. Sometimes (perhaps too often) I make assumptions that people understand things like CGM and dawn-phenomenon, when in reality they are not part of the first-few-years education. But even there I keep it separate. Diabetes rarely makes an appearance on my Facebook page, and my posts/comments in non-D places don’t even link back to my D-blog.

    It’s almost like I live a double-life. That, in and of itself, is awkward and uncomfortable – but I tend to think it would be more awkward and uncomfortable if I were to merge those two identities into one.


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