Over the past few days I’ve had multiple, unique conversations about the impact of social media and shared interests that all came back to the same point: I am not alone. Many people go about their business living their life in an isolated bubble, thinking that they are unique snowflakes with their own story to tell. But the truth is we don’t live in bubbles independent of our peers. Our lives are impacted and influenced by the people we meet and the stories we share. It’s through these shared experiences that we learn the truth – that we are not alone.
And this doesn’t just apply to people with diabetes. On the most recent episode of my podcast, my guest Karen Chu talked about how video games and “geek camp” helped her understand that there were people just like her interested in video games, comics and other geeky things. Considering the culture we live in today and the amount of over-share we are desensitized to, this may seem silly. But it’s important to understand the basic steps of this low-level enlightenment:
- Accepted solitude.
- Social discovery.
- World domination.
Or something like that.
In an upcoming conversation with Type 1 Rider founder Tony Cervati, he described his feelings upon discovering his football and track coaches were living with type 1 diabetes. Up until that point he had no diabetes community to interact with. Sure, two coaches is nothing compared to the power of #dsma, but when you are first expanding your social circles it has to start with that first contact.
This is why things like the You Can Do This Project is so important. Reaching an audience that has yet to realize that they are not alone is the ultimate goal here. If you’re reading this then you’ve already gone through that enlightenment phase and you’re experiencing the various degrees of awesome the diabetes community has to offer. But there’s more to be done. Given the prevalence of diabetes in this country, there’s plenty of work to do.
I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on television, but I believe the diabetes community has made a tremendous impact on my health. At this point I’m just trying to pay it forward.