Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in Blog, Diabetes mellitus | 4 comments

In the Beginning


Kerri Sparling

Feeling alone in your life journey–with illness as your companion—can make the burden of chronic disease seem unbearable.  As Kerri Sparling writes, “For much of my life, I was the only diabetic I knew…. Where were all the people who were living with this disease, like I have been since I was a little girl?  Was I the only diabetic out there who felt alone?”

August 1991, the World Wide Web, part of the Internet, became available to the general public.  Blogging started in January 1994, when a college student, Justin Hall created  By December 2004 Merriam-Webster pronounced the term “blog” the “Word of the Year.”


Scott Johnson

In early 2004, Scott Johnson started his blog describing life with diabetes and Kerri began blogging in early 2005.  At the time, Kerri wrote, “The purpose of this is to make contact with other diabetics. It’s one of those diseases (or maybe they’re all this way, I’m not sure) where even if you have the mechanics of it completely mastered, the psychological battle is just as daunting…. There is so much involved in the daily maintenance of diabetes that a support network isn’t just nice, it’s necessary.”

Skip forward 10 years and what has evolved is the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), an informal network utilizing social media platforms on Facebook, YouTube, online chat rooms and forums like Diabetesdaily TuDiabetes, a part of Diabetes Hands Foundation and dLife.  But its true underpinnings– what sustains, strengthens and reinforces its existence–are the diabetes patient bloggers.


Cherise Shockley

With the start of Twitter in 2007, a new opportunity to connect emerged.   And another person with diabetes, Cherise Shockley started a weekly chat called Diabetes Social Media Advocacy on July 21, 2010. #DSMA meets every Wednesday at  9 pm EST.

The chat is for anyone with diabetes, Type 1, Type 2, gestational and LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults).  Cherise herself has LADA, diagnosed at age 23.  It is also for family, friends, caregivers and anyone who is interested in life with diabetes.

This community is actively engaged in making a difference.  In a recent chat (July 2, 2014), participants discussed their advocacy interests. Here are a few tweets to show the breadth of their interests and work.








Diabetes Online Community Impact

How does DOC impact these individuals’ lives? Reaching out immediately to share feelings with people who understand is a huge benefit.


Participants offered of support and encouragement in response to this tweet. Other tweets confirmed the importance of the DOC.



Finding others with diabetes who understand the experience empowers.





“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
~Helen Keller

As Keller so rightly stated, bringing people together affirms, empowers, supports.



Opportunities to Connect Abound

The community continues to push forward to reach more people by whatever means they can. For example, Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation which runs #DSMA has started a BlogTalkRadio series. One is for for parents of children of diabetes and parents with diabetes, not only in America, but around the world every other Monday at 9:00 pm EST. DSMA en Vivo occurs on Tuesdays 8pm CST and Thursday evenings at 9pm EST Cherise, Scott K. Johnson, and George Simmons, PWD type 1, present DSMA Live.

Your Thoughts?

What do you think? Do you have an online community that is making a difference for you? Share with us!