Sunday evening I moderated a Twitter chat for Johnson & Johnson around diabetes stigmas. Prior to the in-person event, they had asked a number of people in the diabetes community to share stigmas they have experienced or encountered. From there, the objective was to share stigmas with the broader online community and hopefully learn how to deal with the blame, shame, and anger.
Along with stigmas, I think complications is the only other topic that has to be carefully approached in a public forum. It’s easy to lash out at the uninformed, especially on a platform like Twitter, so there was particular care taken with the questions and prompts I posted throughout the night. The objective was to have people open up without feeling exploited or embarrassed.
As I mentioned in the reply below, this wasn’t a conversation for just people who were told “you did this to yourself” or “you don’t look diabetic”. This was a conversation for anyone impacted or connected to diabetes. The only way to break these stigmas is if we work together.
I was impressed by the candor and variety of responses throughout the night. Especially before the Game of Thrones finale.
And this one, which continues to get retweeted, is my favorite response from the night.
I should stress that it isn’t our collective responsibility to correct every stigma shared on social media or every piece of misinformation in the wild – that would be exhausting. But maybe if we decided to call out one stigma a week. Maybe that could start something larger than just one blog post or one tweet. This community is capable of great things. I’ve seen what we can do. Hopefully one day we can add “stigma squashing” to our resume.