Patient Community Advocate at Symplur

Today marks my first official day as Patient Community Advocate at Symplur. This means I get to look at all kinds of data collected by Symplur’s extensive tools and figure out ways to bring the patient communities into these data-based conversations. This means I get to venture out into the scary world of freelancing with a mighty first step. This means I get to take on new projects that could help impact and shape the future of online disease communities. This means I have a chance to truly contribute to something – to one day look back and say “I built that”.

It also means I get to write blog posts using data provided by their reporting tool, Symplur Signals, like this one about World Diabetes Day and the #wddchat14 hashtag. And I get to create fun animated gifs like this one

Created by me, via (linked)

Created by me, via (linked)

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The path to refining and redefining the person and patient advocate I want to be is ever-present. There will always be something I want to change, improve, or tweak – but the challenge now is figuring out how to focus my efforts. With that in mind, I’m considering this the next step in simplifying who I am – online, at least.

Going to keep it simple in 2015.

A photo posted by Christopher Snider (@iam_spartacus) on

It’s not exactly a crowd-pleaser, but it’s the most basic representation of what I’m about. Between this and the unified starting point, my hope is that 2015 will start off in the right direction. Or, I’m too concerned with my “image” and need to stop obsessing about these things.

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Slowly Fading

Maybe it’s because of the holidays. Maybe it’s because we are focusing more on side projects. Maybe it’s because Facebook and Twitter are becoming the standard for communication. Maybe I just need to be better about finding new content. But the Diabetes group in my Feedly Reader feels abandoned.

The number of blogs without a recent update becomes too much to count with fingers and toes, and I can’t help but wonder what is happening to the diabetes online community?

The truth, of course, is that we are stronger than ever. Connections are forged, found, and maintained on a variety of platforms and we are accomplishing great things together. Seeing what happens online conversations moving offline is great, it’s one of the universal efforts of the members of the diabetes community I look to and up to. And I know it’s unrealistic to have every medium hosting diabetes conversation maintain its relevance over the years. I just wish there was more.

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How Might We

It’s not the same as Mike Lawson‘s Monday Mantras…

It's #Monday! This is the #mantra I'll be focusing on this week. What's yours?

A photo posted by mrmikelawson (@mrmikelawson) on

But the number of ‘How might we’ prompts in my notebook has been steadily growing over the past few days. And I think these are worth sharing.

My notebook is collecting #howmightwe prompts.

A photo posted by Christopher Snider (@iam_spartacus) on

While the solution may not be eminent, or evident, or even feasible, these questions start the creative (and hopefully collaborative) process for me. And that’s exactly what I need right now.

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Just Talking about the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit

This week is all about the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit. After completing its fourth year of gathering a wide range of perspectives to talk about the future of diabetes care, Amy Tenderich, editor in chief of DiabetesMine sets the stage for the rest of the podcast. Also featured are three recipients of scholarships to attend the summit – Neal Ulrich, Rosy Karna, and Cooper Galvin – their takeaways from the day-long summit, and their perspective on including the patient in health care conversations. Enjoy.

Special thanks to all of my guests:

  • Neal Ulrich – nmulrich at stanford dot edu
  • Rosy Karna – rkarna at stanford dot edu
  • Cooper Galvin – coopgalv at stanford dot edu

For more information about the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit, visit, check out the presentations from the summit on Slideshare, and see the DiabetesMine Patient Voices 2014 video.

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I recently purchased In this age of digital everything, it felt like a necessary investment. And while it pains me to type this, there is the matter of my brand – whatever that is – to maintain. Now I can create things like and have it redirect here. Or I can create and have it redirect to my podcast, Just Talking.

Now I can do things like focus my online efforts to better represent the kind of (digital) person I am, and want to be. This newsletter may help with that, too.

It’s strange to think about what these decisions may mean in the grand scheme of things. But I suppose there’s plenty of time to figure all of this out.

If you’re reading this, then you’re likely aware of everything .com and that newsletter have to offer. But for newcomers to my little slice of the Internet, I feel good about the (digital) introduction I’m providing. It’s professional, or something.

Have a nice weekend.

The Informed Bubble

I saw a Facebook post from a parent celebrating the delivery of their child’s insulin pump and asking if Lantus would still be required once the transition to an insulin pump was complete. Of my many reactions to this, chief among them was confusion. Wasn’t it common knowledge that insulin pumps deliver basal and bolus? Isn’t this something that should be explained by a medical professional prior to filling out the paperwork and going down that path? If you’re sharing these sentiments on Facebook, shouldn’t you have learned this through DOC osmosis (DOCmosis?)? Wouldn’t you want to do as much research as possible before making a significant emotional and financial commitment to your child’s diabetes care?

But maybe that fact isn’t common knowledge. Maybe their endocrinologist didn’t take the time to explain the intricacies of pumping insulin. Maybe this is your chance to ask questions before things get real. Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

Maybe I’m part of a hyper-connected portion of the diabetes community that seeks this information, that lives on the cutting edge of technology and discussion. Maybe I’m the anomaly, and the people who could use a little extra care and exposition shouldn’t be treated with the condescension that initially flashed through my brain.

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