A Dusty Keyboard

I don’t remember how to do this.

Has it really been a year since I tried to look ahead? For months I’ve been battling ideas that seem great on paper, or even within the relatively safe space of a “test the waters” Facebook post or Twitter message, but an equally crippling inability to act upon them with any certainty. For months I’ve seen stories and issues arise that generate plenty of thoughts, but no formal sentences worth sharing. For months I’ve thought about this blog, what it’s done for me over the years, what I think it’s done for others over that same time, and how I don’t want this URL to become a distant memory of blogrolls across the diabetes online community.

I think there’s reason to be proud that I’m paying more attention to topics like transgender rights, race issues, domestic violence, and validation within various patient communities. It speaks to a maturation of sorts. But if I still believe at my core, I’m a diabetes advocate, why is it so hard for me to prove it to myself that I still have what it takes to contribute?

Why have I been thinking about writing this blog post for three weeks but only now have the strength (is it really strength?) to say something?

I’m not going to make any promises about posting frequency because, quite frankly, I can’t stomach the disappointment when (if?) I don’t live up to that timetable. But I’m here, right now, to say that I’m still around. I still want to contribute to the discourse, and I will try to be more visible.

So, the task for now is to dust off my keyboard and start a figurative cleaning of sorts. Not a fresh start, but comfortable return. Until then, here are a couple of links to bide the time. Continue reading

About Speaking at AADE15

The bow tie has landed. #AADE15

A post shared by Christopher Snider (@iam_spartacus) on

And just like that my 24 hours in New Orleans is complete.

If you want to get to the good stuff, here’s the link for my slides, data, and additional resources I provided after my presentation – http://snider.io/aade2015.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if I can call my presentation a success. I thought I was invited to speak about Twitter data and show off some cool graphics to a crowd that understood the basic mechanics of Twitter, but was looking for more insight into what the diabetes community has done and continues to do on Twitter. I completely underestimated the amount of time I should have spent covering the basics.

“How many of you are actively on Twitter?” For some reason I didn’t interpret the lack of hands in the air as a sign that I needed to slow down and focus on the simple stuff first:

What is Twitter? How do you sign up for Twitter? What the heck is that “#” symbol? What is an impression? How do you use Twitter? Why should I use Twitter? How do you Tweet? How do I follow you? Who should I follow? Why does this thing need my phone number? Help?!

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My Talk at AADE15

I’m presenting at the annual meeting for the American Association of Diabetes Educators (#AADE15) on Friday at 11 am. If you’re going to be in New Orleans, swing by Room R06-R09 and check out the awesome pictures I will use to distract the audience from seeing how nervous I will be.

I will share my entire slide deck for “The Social Network: Using Twitter to Understand Health Conversations and Visualize Data” along with relevant notes and data referenced Friday morning on Twitter and Facebook, and later here if you want to see what the fuss is about.

Part of my deliverables to the audience will include a #dsma how-to and a quick guide to common diabetes hashtags. My goal after my hour in the spotlight has concluded is to empower the educators in attendance to feel safe and confident in joining in the conversations that are taking place online. I don’t necessarily think that every medical professional needs to actively engage in tweetchats every week, although that would be cool; but I believe acknowledging, respecting, and following these conversations is a great way to better understand what people with diabetes think and feel.

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Looking Ahead

The last time I wrote something on this blog I admitted that my desire, or more accurately my drive to write had diminished. Obviously, based on the timestamps, that problem still persists. Over the weekend I realized that my lack of initiative here has negatively impacted my productivity where it matters most – my professional career. I never would have guessed that this silly little (sometimes about) diabetes blog would be responsible for generating and maintaining the creative juices that flow through most of my online persona. And that those creative juices are the fuel that power the rest of my professional work throughout the day. But here we are.

As my time, energy, and focus are required elsewhere, the urge to find something to post on this space has declined. For the longest time I felt obligated to maintain some kind of illusion that I was a reliable beacon for the diabetes community evidenced by a new post every weekday. Even if that meant sharing a cat picture and writing 12 words underneath it, you could count on me.

To an extent, this can no longer be the case.

I’m not leaving. But I can’t pretend to be the diabetes advocate I was last week, last month, or last year. I just can’t. This means that I have to be more judicious with my time, and that ultimately means this blog cannot function as it has in the past.

So, when I have something to say, I’ll say it – here. And when I say it, I’ll do my best to make it worth your time to read. But I won’t be here every day. And I’m going to be okay with that.

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Whatever It Takes

Have you ever had one of those nights when you’ll do whatever it takes to get your blood glucose above 60 to the point that sleeping through most of the night at 250 mg/dL is more desireable than what you’re feeling in the moment?

I had one of those last night. 2 juice boxes and 9 glucose tabs later, I didn’t care what I woke up at, so long as I woke up.

For the most part, I feel like I have this diabetes thing under control. I know what needs to be done to get by, and do well. I have a generally positive attitude about this stuff most of the time. But every now and then base instincts take over and the need to simply get by is satisfactory.

In moments like that, diabetes sucks. Big time.

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Not Doing Enough

I don’t have the courage to tell anyone I have this horrible disease.

Shared on My Diabetes Secret

Seeing stuff like this come through on My Diabetes Secret reminds me that we aren’t doing enough for the diabetes community. I don’t know exactly who “we” are, and I don’t know what can be done to help people like this, but I know the status quo is not sufficient.

How might we create a more accepting culture for people living with a chronic disease?

How might we empower people to feel they are in control of narrative surrounding their disease?

How might we better battle stigmas that create the shame that hides public disclosure of a chronic condition?

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Adult Coloring Books

This coloring book is designed for stress relief. And fun.

A post shared by Christopher Snider (@iam_spartacus) on

My wife (becuse it’s still fun to say that) purchased some high-level coloring books over the weekend to help with stress. I’ve always viewed coloring books as a great way to show how little I know about color combinations (despite some of my attempts to match a shirt to a tie).

But I can see how the amount of focus required for something like this could do wonders for attempts to block out the shenanigans of the world.

What I’d like to know is if there’s any benefit to diabetes management. Obviously the primary tools like insulin, exercise, and carb counting are essential. But since stress can raise blood glucose levels, is it logical to think a stress-relieving coloring book could have the opposite effect?

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