The essential aspect of blogs that separates them from standard diabetes education is the patient commentary on prescribed diabetes management tools.
“Quirky things happen,” says Tenderich. “You want to know what other people with diabetes have experienced, not just the doctor’s opinion.”
However, diabetes blogs should never completely replace medical counsel from a doctor or a diabetes educator; they supplement treatment by providing extra insights, guidance, and moral support.
“We also know that there are sites where people encourage very negative behaviors, like insulin omission to control one’s weight. This is downright scary,” says Polonsky. But he adds, “From the blogs I’ve seen so far, I am very encouraged that these will help people with diabetes to connect, to feel less alone and more hopeful, and to feel encouraged about how to live well with this tough disease. It is a wonderful development.”
In addition to responsibly writing accurate information and keeping tabs on the kind of advice shared, new bloggers should also be aware of their online presence versus their real-life information. Diabetes is by its nature a personal disease, but using a pseudonym and vague references or nicknames for locations can help deter unwanted attention and avoid conflicts.
When posting a comment to a blog, people are encouraged to share personal thoughts, but identifying details should be shared with caution. Most blogs do not require commenters to post an e-mail address or Web site, while others require such information but do not publish e-mail addresses. For instance, bloggers who use certain blog hosting services, such as Blogger, have the option of allowing anonymous or unregistered readers to post comments, an option that does not require the commenter to share his e-mail address. Some bloggers, however, do not like anonymous comments and require readers to register with the hosting service to post comments. (Registering is usually free.) Other blogs may not offer these features, and readers have to include their e-mail address in their comment. However, writing or commenting on a blog does not require you to use your real name, and people who are concerned about revealing their real-life identity are encouraged to create a pseudonym.
As more people add their voices to the mix, new discoveries about personal health are made. Joining an active community of bloggers who share information about treatment, research, emotions, and experiences is an excellent method to achieve the needed motivation to handle life with diabetes.