Last night’s OzDoc tweetchat was a beautiful tribute to someone who has been part of the OzDOC community pretty much since it started four years ago. Tony, better known as @EatYourMeter, passed away last week, and Kim from OzDOC knew that we would all like to remember him together in our weekly chat.
I didn’t know Tony all that well. Our interactions took place mostly on Tuesday evenings between 8.30 and 9.30. He always provided a compassionate and thoughtful voice to the discussion. Tony lived with type 2 diabetes, and I learnt so much from him because he frequently reminded us that our type 1 perspective (which is, for the most part, the voice of the online community) did not necessarily mirror his experience.
A couple of times he gently pulled me up on some dismissive comment I made about ‘just eating something and giving insulin to deal with it’, with a reminder that not everyone has the ability to do that – not everyone uses insulin! He was never aggressive about it – there was no SoMe outrage in his approach – just a friendly nod to remembering that we all are navigating this diabetes road in different ways.
Tony was very good at noticing what people were interested in and sharing information that he thought they might like. Early on, he picked up on my word nerd tendencies, particularly my love of collective nouns and every now and then, he would tweet me an obscure collective noun reference that would inevitably delight.
Last night, as a group, we remembered Tony. Kim led us through a gorgeous chat where we shared memories of our on- and offline encounters with Tony.
OzDOC started four years ago after three of us – Kim, me and Simon (@STroyCrow) – decided that it would be a good idea to have an Australian-focused chat because we felt that there were particular issues that were of interest and importance to Aussies with diabetes. That was the idea, anyway.
And we were right. But what has happened is much more than that. The group grew to more than just a group of strangers on Twitter coming together for an hour a week. Friendships were formed and many of these friendships moved outside the world of Twitter.
Simon and I have stepped away from coordination roles, but Kim has taken the group from strength-to-strength and her work has meant that a tight-knit, supportive and respectful network has formed. The term used to describe this is #dlove and #dlove is thrown around generously.
Last night, we said good bye to one of our own. I, for one, am so glad to have known Tony, and am terribly sad that he will no longer be a voice in the OzDOC community. But I know that while we all feel this loss, we will not forget Tony or his compassion. He will always be part of the OzDOC world.