Since its founding in 2008, DiabetesSisters has relied on the use of technology to reach its community. Today, over 25,000 women engage via website visits and social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Each avenue of social media is instrumental in sharing our mission of supporting and educating women living with all kinds of diabetes. It has become a core component of the organization.
Via Facebook, we share resources and information to better educate women on diabetes and its relationship to food and nutrition, exercise, menstruation and menopause, mental health, relationships and communication, and even complications. We dedicate time to sharing information from industry partners regarding medications, treatment options, and even providing necessary information when insulin pump companies cease to exist, leaving patients with anxiety and uncertainty. We also share information with our volunteer corps – PODS Leaders – who lead peer support meetups throughout the country. By using social media, we can provide information quickly and reach a large audience. We also engage with our community by posing questions, creating polls, and encouraging healthy conversations between women living with diabetes.
We utilize Twitter for interaction with others who share the same diabetes interests. Each year, we participate in the World Diabetes Day Twitter chat, promoting our work, posing questions around the world, and interacting with others. We utilize hashtags to reach audiences with specific interests such as #peersupport, #menopause, #mentalhealth and #exercise.
More recently, we have engaged in using Instagram to share images of women thriving with diabetes, as well as providing education with photographs. This provides our community to engage a yet another innovative way. Through this method, we share upcoming dates for our peer support meetings in various parts of the country.
Social media has allowed DiabetesSisters to grow and adapt to the ever-changing needs of our community. It also provides as much, or as little, involvement from those who seek us online. Women can “lurk” to gather information, or they can become more heavily involved, posing questions and participating in conversations.