Scott Johnson, person with type 1 diabetes, diabetes advocate
Owner and creator of scottsdiabetes.com
Point of view
Advocating diabetes through social media.
Scott K Johnson, diabetes advocate and blogger talked with us about his passion to help the diabetes community through social media
What would you say is working well with your social media outreach and what’s the most enjoyable part for you?
It’s exciting to see so many people getting involved. People feel comfortable and safe sharing their stories. Every person that shares their story is actively changing how others view their diabetes and now there are wonderful examples online of people living great lives with diabetes.
I started writing my blog late in 2004 and the fact I am still active in the community is exciting. There are a lot of channels with social media and it’s important to invest in the channels where you feel you get value. I get a lot out of it—what I’m doing helps me and others. That attitude is contagious in the diabetes community– for anybody that is in some way or another interactive in the social media community (patients, bloggers and industry).
I was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 5. At that age you can’t cope emotionally what the diagnoses is or what it means. I still consider myself a person that is growing and maturing. The exercise of writing out how I am feeling (that exercise) is powerful for me. Even if I was just writing in journal that would even be helpful. Now sharing this adds another layer of enjoyment for me.
Your blog is very positive and honest. I like that approach.
I always want to find some positive angle in my blog. Sometimes the positive part is just about being real.
With diabetes you almost get this feeling like diabetes perfection is possible but it’s not about perfection. I like people to feel empowered and not alone in what they are feeling.
What topics would you like addressed through social media in the near future?
The demographics of diabetes in the world – the majority of people have type 2 diabetes but the social media community is type 1. It would be great to have more people type 2 diabetes involved. So many people don’t realize that social media is out there.
What’s the best approach to do this—get people with type 2 diabetes involved in social media?
This is the million dollar question!
What do you think is the most important topic right now in the world of diabetes?
I recently had an opportunity to talk with Jeff Hitchcock from Children with Diabetes. The FDA is slowing down when it comes to approving new diabetes technology. The United States is a second class country as far as new technology and type 1 diabetes. It should be our responsibility to work with those in political office to put pressure on the FDA to get approvals and our voices heard.
What trends do you see currently in the diabetes landscape that are working to help people stay on track with and better health and lifestyle choices?
Social media is incredible powerful. There are so many types of people to help – emotional, fitness, diet. Although…. because it’s social media you need to be careful and discerning about the information you and advice you get.
I think there needs to be an easy way to record and make sense of all the information and numbers and non-quantifiable effects for diabetes. A helpful way to keep track of everything that doesn’t add a lot of burden to your day and how does that tool make value out of what you are putting into it. There are millions of tools avail but I haven’t seen one that can do that.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Just that I think we have a lot of resources to help people with online but we need to help them offline too.
Interviewed by Sherri Isaak, MS, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, Fit4D Director of Content Development