If you have anything to do with diabetes and glanced at Twitter this week, it’s unlikely that you could have missed the juggernaut that was #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes.
Wednesday 22 April was designated the day that the Diabetes Online Community would come together and share what we wish people knew about diabetes. We kicked it off with great force here in Australia and it took off like a runaway train from there! Late on our Wednesday night, I watched the US wake up and Twitter explode with the #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes hashtag. I had to force myself to turn off my devices and go to sleep because I could quite easily have stayed up all night following.
I was amazed at the diversity of the things people were sharing. I found myself laughing out loud and wiping away tears at some of the things I read, and a lot of the time, nodding in agreement.
Critics of these sorts of activities say that they are a waste of time – that we are preaching to the converted and that it is a self-indulgent pity party. I say that’s rubbish!
Firstly, even if the majority of people who read the tweets are others with diabetes, why is that a bad thing? Building our community – coming together, supporting each other, listening to others’ stories – is how and why we become stronger. I had several people reply to my tweets telling me that they felt the same way. I did the same thing several times.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with fist pumping and patting ourselves on the back for living with diabetes. Or saying it is tough. Diabetes does suck sometimes; it is difficult to live with; it is a shit. Acknowledging that doesn’t make us weak or pathetic. It doesn’t mean that we have given up or that we think that we have it worse than anyone else in the world. It is just saying how we feel.
I didn’t read all the #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes tweets (there are over six and a half thousand of them!) but I did read a lot of them. I read tweets from people I know well and those I’ve never come across. I connected with new people and retweeted and retweeted and retweeted until I thought I was going to be sent to Twitter purgatory for a while and told to settle down!
Well done to Kelly Kunik who kicked this off last week. I don’t know that Kelly has had much sleep over the last few days. She seemed to be tweeting and retweeting pretty much around the clock! Kelly is a bit of a force of nature. I caught up with her and another DOC friend, Stacey, when I was in NY and the three of us spoke so much we forgot to eat. Seriously. We remembered to drink coffee, but somehow we didn’t remember to order lunch! Hope you’re getting some rest now, Kelly!
I couldn’t even begin to say what my favourite tweets were. Perhaps the ones that focussed on advocacy issues and dispelling myths. But every single one did resonate in some way – even if the experience was not the same as mine. I feel that I have a better insight into how diabetes affects people’s lives. I hope – and am sure – that others have walked away feeling the same way.
(To see the reach of the #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes hashtag, click on this link. At the time this blog was published, it was up to almost 14,000,000 impressions.)
We added another SHAG print to our collection the other night after attending an exhibition opening at the fabulous Outré Gallery. We now have two huge artist proofs that are based on the fabulous Peter Seller’s film The Party. Dance your way into the weekend with the soundtrack here!