Diabetes may be something that you discuss only with your doctor, close friends and family. These people may or may not understand what it is like to live with diabetes. People with diabetes need to be able to share and reflect with others who understand what they are going through. Not everyone has this type of support.
Here are a few social media sites that you may find useful as a starting point.
DSMA promotes all forms of social media to empower people affected by diabetes, and enhance the diabetes online community. The site offers weekly live chat as well as BlogTalkRadio.
TuDiabetes has forums available for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, insulin pump users, and those new to diabetes. Another section is dedicated to nutrition, and contains a number of recipes.
Social media can help. It can be a way to connect with others who have the same medical condition. They can understand challenges you face in living with diabetes.
Social media can connect people of different backgrounds, ages and lifestyles who otherwise might not meet. In this setting, people living with diabetes (or their family members) can come together. This virtual community can provide the day-to-day support needed to manage diabetes well. Participants give emotional support and strategies for coping. People post about personal experiences and challenges, and share successes.
This can empower others in similar situations.
Peers can also give advice on incorporating strategies for managing diabetes into daily living. Supporters share experiences with nutrition, medication and physical activity. Those struggling to make dietary changes, or to include physical activity in their day, may find new ideas or success stories.
A social media network can also be anonymous and safe. It is easier to ask questions or express emotions you may not feel comfortable talking about in person.
What types of social media sites are available?
Social media sites should be used to connect with people in similar situations for support. This is not a place to go for medical advice. Most sites have no restrictions on who can post content, so it is important not to believe everything you read. Always discuss any medical advice you may read about with your doctor.
For some people, getting involved on social media sites can be intimidating. Those who are not certain about using social media may want to start out as a ‘lurker’ - someone who observes but does not post content. You can explore and get a feel for different social media sites before deciding whether you want to get involved. Others may benefit from hearing about your opinions and experiences. Worried about privacy? Use a site that allows anonymous posts or create an account that cannot be traced to you. It is best to use caution if you want to post something personal or private. If or when you feel confident to post, dive in!