Many people living with Type 1 diabetes follow or join diabetes online communities on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) or even become diabetes ambassadors (aka “type 1 advocates”). Type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, friends and family of people with diabetes… there’s a community for everyone. What can you expect from these communities? What are the benefits? Let’s hear from Marielle, Julien, Gisèle, Clément and others…
For Marielle, social networks are perfect for “connecting with others who are in the same boat. After all, our non-diabetic friends and family can’t always understand everything.” For Julien, “this is the first time I’ve been able to talk about diabetes with people who live with it on a daily basis. It feels amazing!”
Social networks are a great place to meet and benefit from the experience of others, in particular for people with diabetes who do not personally know other people living with the disease. As Juliette notes, “it’s not every day you bump into another T1D on the street.” For Clément, these communities are a refuge: “It’s not always easy for friends and family to understand the stress caused by diabetes. I find it immensely reassuring to know there are people out there who understand and can help.” For others, the communities become a source of great meaning. Nathalie, for example, declares: “I find it much easier to accept my condition thanks to my discussions with others.”
Parents of children with Type 1 diabetes also find much-needed support. Anaïs follows diabetes online communities for her daughter: “For me, Type 1 diabetes is a philosophy of life that can only be understood by others with the same condition. Online groups help you feel part of a community built around sharing, listening, and mutual support.”
Share tips and tricks
Online communities are also helpful for managing daily life with diabetes. Clément explains: “I always find great ideas in the groups, including recipes such as low-carb bread. There are tips and tricks for everyone, and if you incorporate a few into your daily routine then life with the disease becomes a whole lot easier to manage.” Marion likes to keep abreast of “practical everyday information” such as recipe ideas, tips for playing certain sports, and the latest on diabetes management devices.
Diabetes ambassadors tackle questions surrounding daily life with diabetes. Gisèle (@labelleetlediabete) joyfully shares her daily life with Type 1 diabetes on her blog, her Facebook page and her Instagram page.
She discusses the various diabetes management devices, shares tips on how to play sports while living with T1D, and posts “diabetes memes” to entertain her followers…
A word of caution: although diabetes online communities mean well, the advice you find in these groups is not always reliable. For questions related to the monitoring or treatment of your Type 1 diabetes, be sure to consult your doctor and/or other healthcare provider.
In conclusion, social networks allow people with diabetes to identify and share with their peers, and thus feel better about their condition and build confidence in their daily lives.