What does this award represent for you?
The IDF Europe Social Media Award recognizes our efforts at the European level. #dedoc° started out as the German chapter of the Diabetes Online Community. It initiated the development of a strong community of diabetes bloggers and advocates in Germany, and is now often considered as a role model for advancing the patient voice in other countries. Although most of our online activities, like the TweetChat and the OpenBlog, are only available in German, our #docday° regularly attracts participants from all over Europe and from as far away as Australia. The #DOC knows no boundaries.
What is, according to you, the role of social media within the daily management of diabetes?
Diabetes is 24/7. And no one with type 1 diabetes I know is always in control of everything. Some days are ok, some even better, but many are not. To me personally, to stay motivated to self-manage and take care of myself every single day 24/7 and without ever getting time off may very well be the hardest part of living with diabetes. And most of the time, people with diabetes have to deal with that all by themselves.
Social media cannot change the reality of living with diabetes, but it can change the communication around it. It can help us get in touch with our T1D peers anytime, anywhere, and find someone to talk to about almost anything – be it medical, emotional, technical or just random. And what is best: Social media is 24/7 – just like T1D.
How can the role of social media be improved and strengthened?
Social media and peer-to-peer support should be recognized and acknowledged as important means of communication alongside the more traditional ways of providing self-help and support to people with diabetes. It should not be perceived as competing with medical expertise and professional training, but as complementing and reinforcing them.
What are the upcoming steps for your online community?
The #dedoc° OpenBlog collects each and every blog post of almost every German diabetes blog. These are re-published through the #dedoc° platform and its social media channels, while directing all traffic back to its origin, providing increased visibility to any participating blog. The #dedoc° OpenBlog thus serves as the go-to place for overview and insights into the patient voice in Germany.
Encouraged by this award, #dedoc° will soon launch a new, multi-lingual platform to reach out to diabetes bloggers across Europe. Following the great success of the German OpenBlog, the same approach will be made available to bloggers writing in English, French and Spanish, with more languages to follow in the future.
Which charity will benefit from the your prize donation? Why did you choose this one?
The prize will be donated to Blue Diabetes, a Foundation dedicated to providing seed support to people with diabetes– technically and financially – who wish to start their own (online) projects in line with the spirit of the #DOC.
Blue Diabetes itself is new to the #DOC, but the people behind it have been around for years, and have supported #dedoc° from its very beginning, i.e. by setting up our first website and helping us run our first campaigns – without ever asking for money. Without them, #dedoc° would not be where it is today, and I feel it is about time to give back.
Blue Diabetes will use these funds to support great ideas to become a reality. It will provide seed support and technical expertise to people with diabetes, their ideas and projects in their early stages – in just the same way they have supported me and #dedoc°.