Reflecting on 5 years in the diabetes online community
Today we’re recognizing the 5th anniversary of this blog and the start of our social media program here at Medtronic Diabetes! It’s been an amazing experience for the entire team and we all want to thank you for being a special of this community. While today so many of you find us through other channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, this blog was what started it all. We’ve learned a lot as a company over the last 5 years…and I have, too, personally.
Launching this blog was one of the first projects I worked on when joining Medtronic in January of 2011. I took the job with quite a bit of experience in healthcare, communications and social media but without any personal connection to type 1 diabetes. However, it didn’t take long to develop that connection – thanks to each of YOU. Today I’m inspired by some very close friends and many coworkers who live with diabetes. And what we do at Medtronic is very personal to me, as I know it impacts people I care about very much. And that includes all of you – who have taught me so much through hundreds of thousands of comments, tweets, posts, and emails. For that, I’m extremely grateful.
As we look back on the last 5 years together, here are a few things I learned (beyond the basics of bolus vs. basal).
1. Diabetes Does not Discriminate and Everyone’s Journey is Different
Diabetes doesn’t discriminate based on geography, income, gender, social status or a lot of the other things that typically bring people together. And two people with diabetes living in the same house can still have two very different diabetes journeys. We’re always trying to share information that’s meaningful to you and continuously test new topics: from advice to those who are newly diagnosed, to tips for parents, and answers to top questions like how to sleep with an insulin pump. We also always make sure you’re updated on Medtronic initiatives from new partnerships, clinical trials, and the latest diabetes tech.
2. People with Diabetes and Their Care Partners are Resilient…And Inspiring.
You are a constant source of encouragement to me and my team and we learn so much from you. From vibrant discussions on our Facebook page, to Instagram photos of new pumps arriving on your doorstep, we’re honored to have conversations with you every single day. From people like Cindy who have lived with it for over three decades, to parents of multiple children with diabetes like my dear friend Meri, and healthcare providers like Dr. Francine Kaufman who volunteer in their free time in places like Haiti, I hope that you know how much each of your stories have touched my heart.
3. The Diabetes Online Community (DOC) is Changing
Like any living thing, the DOC is ever-changing. And it’s grown significantly in five years, which is a testament to your ability to reach and support others. The most inspiring part of this change is seeing new people coming in with new ways to help and advocate for others – from inspirational campaigns like Beyond Type 1 or #DiabetesDoesntStopMe to patient engagement in legislative issues such as the CGM Medicare Access Act and the MasterLab conference. I love Karen’s blog on how she found her voice and became a diabetes advocate in a way that was right for her.
Of course a growing community also brings differing points of view. Not everyone agrees, which can be confusing or discouraging to some. We hope to serve as a beacon of light and help to educate, clarify misconceptions, and help people to live a life with greater freedom and better health. It’s important to us that all people with diabetes are uplifted and that in the midst of diversity, we’re all able to find a way to unify around what’s most important.
4. There’s still so much to learn and do
As the global diabetes population expands, so is our business focus. The progress toward an artificial pancreas that I’ve witnessed in just the last five years is incredibly exciting. We’re continuing to lead that charge and develop tools and services like MiniMed Connect that make it easier and more convenient for people to manage their diabetes. This work primarily benefits people living with type 1 or advanced type 2 diabetes (those who need intensive insulin therapy). But we’ve also recently begun a concerted effort to better help the growing number of people with type 2 diabetes. For our team, that means getting to know a whole new group of people and finding the best way we can use social media to engage, support and learn from those tackling the daily challenges of type 2. What exactly that looks like we’ll see in time. But I am excited by the opportunity to continue to be inspired by this amazing community.
Now, let’s hear from you. What have we done well? How could we improve? We’d love to hear your feedback so we can make sure the blog meets your needs in the next year, and five years! And be sure to comment with your favorite blog post of all-time with your chance to win a prize.