Mike Kendall diabetes every day ups and downs, T1 resources

LIVINGLIVING

OUR FRIENDS ELECTRIC

Digital tips and advice from social

media pros on staying safe online

Here are a few thoughts on how to get

the most out of using online resources

to help you manage your diabetes. The

vast majority of people who you 'meet' in

the diabetes online community are lovely,

friendly, helpful types. Living with diabetes

can be a very lonely, frustrating experience

and it can really help to compare notes

with people who instinctively 'get it', but

you must always bear in mind that you

don't actually know anything about any of

these people. Whether they have any of

the expertise and experience they claim

to have. Always, always, always treat

everything you read online with a pinch

of salt. And it is safest to always check

with your doctor, nurse or healthcare

professional before making any changes

to your diabetes management.

'Your Diabetes May Vary' is a

fundamental principle of the online

diabetes community. Just because

something works well for one person does

not mean that it will work the same way for

you. Be particularly careful if people start

confidently throwing numbers around

for doses and corrections without first

knowing a lot of detail about your current

diabetes management and explaining

their reasoning very clearly.

What to share

How much you want to share is entirely up

to you, there is much to be gained from

simply reading and observing many of

the links on this website. However, many

people get the biggest benefits when they

begin to interact with others online, asking

questions and sharing their own stories

and experiences. These interactions are

about your health and could involve some

very intimate information, so it is probably

best to be slightly cautious. Only share

things that you would be happy to tell a

stranger you had only just met at a party.

Anonymity

Many social media channels allow you

a degree of anonymity by choosing a

username and/or profile picture which

does not identify you. Do be aware though

that even relatively anonymous accounts

can build up a picture of a person,

especially where details are shared

across several channels. Additionally, you

should be aware that even private groups

and forums which require a log-in to be

viewed are still relatively public. It is usually

best to behave as if everything you post

online could eventually be attributed to

you personally.

Bullying

It is unfortunate to need a section covering

this but bullying (and other unpleasant

behaviours) is a subject that cannot be

ignored. Some people, for whatever

reason, do seem to actively seek out

conflict and argument online and choose

to use the relative anonymity of SoMe

(social media) to behave in a way they

would never do in real life. The situation

is made more complicated because

online we do not have the benefit of body

language and facial expression to help

interpret the tone of voice of a message.

A hurried reply might come across as

abrupt or aggressive and something

meant to be read with a knowing smile

and twinkle in the eye might be read as

spiteful and sarcastic.

Additionally, you should always make

sure that any contribution you make is

polite, helpful and supportive, even if the

people you are connecting with seem to

MIKE KENDALL

everydayupsanddowns (blog)

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