There has been some extraordinary activity this past week in the broader Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) world, which clearly displays the power of social media.
It began in the middle of the week when someone in a T1D Facebook group, of which I’m a member, posted a link to a publication on the web page for the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). This publication was published in preparation for the upcoming World Diabetes Day, to hopefully raise awareness within the general population about things to do with living with T1D.
Unfortunately, the wording used in this publication was poorly chosen and blatantly mis-leading when being read by anyone who does not already have a direct link to life with T1D. How or why this wording was chosen has now been relegated to history, and is not the point of my post today.
When news of this publication hit social media around the world, the T1D community erupted. The T1D Facebook group I’m a member of went ballistic. None of us could fathom why on earth that wording was used and allowed to be published on the web site.
Meanwhile, here in Australia another organisation, Diabetes Australia (DA), whose sole reason for existing is to support people in Australia who live with diabetes of all kinds upgraded their web site. The new web site is visually a vast improvement on the old, clunky one. But as we all browsed through the new web site with a clear focus on looking for references to T1D, we found a number of clear errors. These errors stretched from dangerously wrong information through to the fine balance of distinction between T1D and T2D. This is always a touchy point for those of us living with T1D.
Now I’m going to pass around some kudos or brownie points or elephant stamps, whichever represents “Job well done” in your country. Both organisations, being the IDF and DA, have responded to the Facebook uproar that arose from their respective errors. DA had at least one representative actively monitoring the chatter on Facebook and they were responding in real time. They took the constructive comments being made on Facebook to heart, reviewed the point of contention, then set about to correct the mistakes or adjust the wording.
IDF didn’t appear to be actively monitoring Facebook for any reaction, but they did respond when approached by many people on their Facebook page and have acknowledged that the chosen wording was possibly poorly thought out and they have made a subtle adjustment to it.
Now, I’m personally not overwhelmed by the change to the wording that IDF have made. It is an improvement, but quite subtle. But I AM very impressed that they have listened, taken the reaction to heart and have done something about it. And for the real-time monitoring and response from DA, I am flabbergasted to be honest. I’m of the pre-internet age, so “social media” is relatively new to me. So to see that we have been able to influence the thinking of a national organisation (DA) and a world organisation which sits next to WHO at the international table (IDF), is for me just amazing. It shows me that we truly do live in a new world, with a new order and a wonderful future.
Congratulations to IDF and DA. Thank-you for listening and for taking action. Let’s hope this leads to greater partnership between you and the people you represent, into the future.
People living with T1D must not be lost in the maelstrom surrounding the tsunami of T2D – different illnesses / similar symptoms.