Category Archives: Social Media

Join us for #WDDChat16!

So, it’s November and all. You know what that means:

24 hour #WDDChat16 Twitter Chat November 14!
Let me be the first to remind you that Monday marks another World Diabetes Day, and among all the other happenings around the world, much of the world will be checking in to the diabetes talk on Twitter. Some people, like me, multiple times.

If you’re a seasoned veteran of the #DSMA chats, terrific. Consider this your friendly reminder. Just remember to use the #WDDChat16 hashtag for this special event. We’ll see you Monday.

If you’re not familiar with the Twitter discussion, or if it’s been a while and you don’t remember, here’s the deal: each hour of the chat will have a different topic, and will be moderated by a different host. I will be your moderator from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. (EST in the USA). The topic: My Diabetes House. My Twitter handle: @StephenSType1

Each hour’s chat will include several questions asked by the moderator, and participants are encouraged to reply. And chat with other participants while they’re at it. For a list of the WDD hosts and topics, CLICK HERE.

If you’re new, don’t be discouraged. The #WDDChat16 chat will be a fun atmosphere that welcomes everyone living with and affected by diabetes, regardless of your type of diabetes, regardless of how long diabetes has been a part of your life. It really is the fastest hour of the week when the chat happens at its regular time on Wednesday nights from 9:00-10:00 (EST). On World Diabetes Day, the lively conversation will continue for 24 straight hours.

The moderators on Monday include some of my favorite People With Diabetes. If you don’t already, I encourage you to get to know them too. People like Christel Marchand Aprigliano, Anna Norton, Chelcie Rice, Kerri Morrone Sparling, Kelly Kunik, Chris Clement, and others. Over the years, I’ve seen participants from every continent except Antarctica.

Don’t have a Twitter account? No problem. Go to and create yours in about 15 seconds.

To join the chats, follow the #WDDChat16 hashtag on Twitter, or use one of the several hashtag feed web sites that will link with your Twitter account. That way, everything in the chat just keeps flowing, and you also have a space on the same page to Tweet away yourself. I like to use this one:

Then just jump in and enjoy the conversation!

If you’re still not sure how this all works, CLICK HERE and send me an e-mail. I will help you get going or answer your questions.

This is truly one of my favorite things about November each year, and like other years (this is my 5th!), I hope you will join me during the 24 hour (including 8:00-9:00 a.m.) World Diabetes Day Twitter Chat sponsored by Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation.

Special thanks to Cherise Shockley for coordinating the chat every year, and for her tireless efforts to bring our community together, one conversation at a time.

Talking about Cousin Spammy on DSMA tonight.

I’m not sure I can define diabetes spam exactly… but like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once proclaimed regarding pornography, I know it when I see it.

We’re going to be talking diabetes spam on the DSMA Twitter Chat tonight. What does it look like to you? How does it make you feel? How do you handle it? And many more aspects of what spam does to our already overworked eyeballs.
From ridiculous snake oil cures to workout ads that promise to “reduce diabetes” (ummmm… it’s still DIABETES), we’ll be riffing on what really bugs you regarding quack dietary supplements and what your co-worker heard on the TV last night. We’ll talk about what everyone is doing about the stupid e-mails they’re getting, and maybe a little about what we’d like to do about all these snake oil remedies and the people who tout them.

Diabetes spam is kind of like the stoner cousin at the family get-together. Eating all the non-carby good stuff you brought while leaving your aunt Ginny’s undercooked brussels sprouts for you on the buffet. Eyeing your significant other with a little too much gusto. Borrowing a fiver while promising to get it back to you next week, and finishing up with “We gotta hang out more often, cuz!”. Yeah, right. I’m not a kid anymore, cuuuzzz.

So catch up with me on Twitter tonight (all the details are below) and we’ll compare notes, laugh a little, and generally dis’ about cousin Spammy. He’s got it coming… let’s serve it up beginning at 9:00 eastern time in the USA.
Living with diabetes? Living with someone living with diabetes? Join us for talk, support, encouragement, empowerment, and more during the DSMA Twitter Chat every Wednesday night at 9:00 Eastern time (USA). Follow the @DiabetesSocMed Twitter handle and/or the #DSMA hashtag and join the conversation!
I also find this link via tChat helpful.

The DSMA Twitter Chat is sponsored by the Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation, Cherise Shockley, Founder and CEO.

All about podcasts (not mine).

As the headline implies, this post is about podcasts, but not my own. I was actually thrilled and honored to be part of two of them. And the other one hasn’t happened yet, but I am very excited about the idea. Here goes:

Have you heard of the Everybody Talks podcast? From TuDiabetes, the podcast delves into many of the facets of life with diabetes, with really interesting people. I was so happy to join Corinna Cornejo to introduce and recap Emily Coles’ conversation with diabetes nurse, CDE, advocate, and researcher Jane K. Dickinson. Jane has been researching the many words that affect people living with diabetes, and their effects on our psyche and the management of our diabetes. It’s a fascinating discussion, and I encourage you to take some time to listen to it. If you’re a healthcare professional of any kind, you will find this talk a treasure trove of useful information that will help you communicate with diabetes patients better than ever before.
CLICK HERE to listen.
I really feel like I hit the big time this week, when I was interviewed by Christopher Snider for his Just Talking podcast. The first half of that conversation might be a little difficult to listen to… as the interview went on, my BGs were going lower and lower until I finally had to take a break and treat a 59. I can hear myself really straining for every word there for a bit.

Anyway, it was a terrific hour spent with someone I admire and respect a great deal. We talked about this blog, how I found the Diabetes Online Community, how the idea to give away medals to athletes with diabetes came about, and also my podcast, Diabetes By The Numbers. It’s available right now via iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and at
Or CLICK HERE to listen to the full interview.
Finally, a quick note about a great idea. This is my way of trying to help spread the word about Diabetes Podcast Week, which is coming up in February! Stacey Simms of the Diabetes Connections podcast came up with the idea, and we’ll all be producing podcasts to air during the week of February 1. Even better, each podcaster will be leading the charge in encouraging everyone to join the Partnership for Diabetes Change in supporting the annual Spare A Rose, Save A Child campaign.

I am very much looking forward to participating with the rest of my fellow diabetes podcasters (am I really allowed to say that after 9 episodes?) on this worthy endeavor. Mark your calendars for February 1!
While I’m at it, let me just throw out a reminder that if you have something diabetes-related you’d like to talk about; or, if you know of a good diabetes story that should be told, send me an e-mail by clicking on the E-mail Stephen link in the upper left corner of this page. Talk to you soon!

What does that mean, anyway?

After my interview with Rick Phillips for TuDiabetes Tuesday, I took some time to reflect on what we discussed. There were a lot of acronyms in there: CGM, DSMA, and a couple of others I can’t remember right now.

You can probably relate to this when I tell you: Before I found the Diabetes Online Community, I had absolutely no idea what those things meant. Or even that they existed.

Those of us that have been communicating about diabetes for some time, even people like me with just a high school education and a few years’ experience writing about diabetes, tend to shorten our words an awful lot sometimes. On one hand, that’s just the nature of communication these days. Why write out “been there, done that” on your phone when you can just tap out “BTDT”?

On the other: If you’re new, and all this is new to you, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. I wonder sometimes if we lose people with our thorough knowledge and discussion of the A1cs and BGs. I don’t think so, at least not all the time. But sometimes I worry that while I’m trying to make a point about IOB, or CDEs very quickly, I make it so quick that it’s easy to lose someone on the outside of the conversation, knowledge-wise. I don’t ever want to do that.

So if you ever see something I write, or hear something I say, and it doesn’t make sense to you, I hope you’ll ask me for an explanation. You deserve that.

And if you don’t want to ask me for an explanation, guess what? TuDiabetes is an amazing source of information. They even have this Diabetes Terminology Glossary that explains just about everything you’ll ever want to know about the acronyms that power our diabetes discussions.

I admit it: I’m a diabetes acronym-dropper. But don’t let it rattle you. And in the words of Bennet Dunlap, LYMI.
CGM: Continuous Glucose Monitor

DSMA: Diabetes Social Media Advocay (the #DSMA Twitter chat is every Wednesday at 9:00 ET)

DOC: Diabetes Online Community

A1c: According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), “The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test. The A1C test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research.”

BG: Blood Glucose

IOB: Insulin On Board (the insulin still active in the body at any given time)

CDE: Certified Diabetes Educator

LYMI: Love Ya, Mean It.

Diabetes Social Media Burnout?

Welcome to Tuesday. September 1st. Oh, and it’s my brother’s birthday. Happy Birthday Chuck!

Thanks to the people at Diabetes Daily, today is also Diabetes Social Media Burnout Blog Day. According to Diabetes Daily:

“… let’s talk about ways in which we can address and take care of our burnout! Let’s talk about ways in which we can step back for a bit and re-fuel or ways in which we can handle the situations where we feel like we’re being attacked or even where we might find ourselves attacking others for differences in opinion.”
Okay… there are a few things I should get straight with you right from the outset:

First, maybe I’m late to the party, or maybe I just like this all too much, but I haven’t really felt social media burnout to the extent suggested by this topic. I’ve been connected to the internet since the early 1990s, but never in a big way until I found the Diabetes Online Community (the DOC) four years ago. Also, I never owned a mobile phone until about four years ago, and I’ve only owned a smart phone for the past few months. So that probably has a lot to do with it.

Second, and I hope I’m not jinxing myself, but I haven’t ever really been attacked on the internet. I’ve encountered a few uncomfortable situations here and there, discussions where someone felt a certain way on a subject, and were ready to go toe to toe with me if I disagreed with them. But those moments were few, and by and large, unless that person was advocating for something dangerous or unquestionably wrong, I just let them vent. Didn’t cost me a thing to do so.

Third, my influence on the internet, and within the diabetes community, isn’t that big to begin with. If someone wants to attack me, they’ll have to hit a pretty small target. I’m a fierce target… but when it comes right down to it, nobody is going to feel a lot of pride trying to knock down someone like me. I’m not a big enough fish for most trolls.
That’s not to say I haven’t ever experienced social media burnout. Usually, it’s around the time when I am busier than usual already. What I try to do is think of my social media interactions as fun. If it’s not fun, if it seems like too much of a chore, then I back off a bit.

Also, when I get a vacation (which is rare these days, but still), I usually disconnect totally from social media for the week or so I’m away. Once I do that, I’m really ready to engage with others again. Also, it seems like something big always happens during those rare times when I’m not as active on social media. More impetus to jump back into the conversation.
As for being attacked? It’s only happened twice that I know of, but I’ve experienced situations where someone accused me of somehow being a shill for a large company, or being part of a select group of bloggers within the DOC that always gets to go to big events while others stay home. Here’s how I deal with something like that:

Look… I know who I am, and what I stand for. I’m not afraid to change my stance on something if I feel that my stance needs to be changed. When someone has something critical to say, I try to listen first and consider whether there is merit to what someone is unhappy about. I allow for the possibility that I may be wrong. That’s a difficult thing to do, and I do it. And sometimes, I’ve changed my point of view. Also, it should be noted, I’ve paid my own way to nearly everything I’ve attended.

I also know the difference between disappointment and bitterness.

I didn’t get to go to MasterLab this year, or Friends for Life (never been to Friends for Life, actually). I am really bummed about that; I’m incredibly disappointed that I didn’t get to make it this year, and it still affects me when I think about it.

Now, if I were to take to the internet and complain about the people who were there, accusing them of being part of an exclusive clique of bloggers who always get to go to big diabetes events and hang out with each other all the time, blah, blah, blah (we’ve heard this before, right?)… well, that’s just bitterness. Bitterness comes from someplace different from disappointment. Those people who went to MasterLab this year? It’s not their fault I didn’t get to go. I get a lot more emotional mileage from being happy that they are there, as opposed to criticizing them for my not being there.

Bitterness can come from disappointment. But disappointment is never an excuse for bitterness. When the only argument you have is to say, in effect, “I’m better than you because look how bad you are”, that’s bitterness. I’m not going to give you my time. You have to own your bitterness all by yourself.

Also, I will add this: When you attack people in the diabetes community, you are attacking my friends. People who have laughed with me, who have befriended me, people who have commiserated with me through my failures, and celebrated with me through my successes. You don’t mess with my friends.

If it weren’t for this community, I wouldn’t be where I am today, physically, emotionally, or just about any other way you can think of.
Finally, and I hope this doesn’t sound overly simplistic, but I try to think of the information superhighway just the way I think of an actual superhighway. Along the road, there are places to eat, places to lay your head at night, places to gather socially with one another, places to share experiences, places to ask questions and seek advice.

Along the superhighway, there are good, helpful, strong individuals who live in communities that protect one another and support and encourage one another. And there are terrible, awful people, who thrive on the misery of others, and try to pump up their own sense of self-worth at the expense of someone else. Unfortunately, there is nothing to bar the access of those people from the information superhighway. The best we can do is protect ourselves, and each other.

Well, those are a lot of words, and maybe not a lot of advice. But if I were giving advice on dealing with social media burnout? I’d say: Participate as long as it’s fun and/or meaningful to you. Encourage and support others. Learn the difference between disappointment and bitterness. And…

Do not let a bitter person steal your voice.