I had the pleasure of being invited to the second annual European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) conference in Barcelona, where ground-breaking steps in diabetes technology are showcased. Last year Animas decided to bring a group of bloggers from around the world together and run a blogger's conference alongside the EASD. Here, the DOC exchange was born and this year, I was able to make it.
A group of around 15 bloggers from the UK, Germany, Italy, Norway, Australia and the US were given the opportunity to share experiences in an environment where Animas hoped to nurture our budding blogger-type minds. I had the pleasure of catching up once again with the wonderful Ilka and Flyn from Germany and the ever-Grumpy (but strangely loveable) Grumpy-Pumper. I finally met Annie of The Understudy Pancreas-ness, representing families thriving with type 1, and the troupe of sporty Italians timing their visit to the EASD with the walk/run for diabetes event at the finale of the conference. And last but certainly not least, were Martin Moe from Norway, the lovely Renza, representing the Australia massive, and blogger and open session leader, Kerri Sparling.
Day one offered us bloggers the opportunity to learn a little more about what makes a good post, good. We heard from Gareth Cartman of Clever Little Design about just how Google searches work and why some of our most beloved post titles may need a little tweaking to help us reach the widest possible audience. We learned how to start with an idea for a post title and use Google's search word tool to explore the many terms that could make that post more likely to rate higher in the Search Engine results and how to use long-tails (literally long blog titles) to make them more unique. Although no matter what anyone says I still think "Armageddon: Thought-train of a pre-holiday diabetic" is still a bitchin' title.
Later on day one we learned from Michael Kuhn,, Managing Director of Ergocomprendere, how the ergonomics of a blog are key to the experience of your readers, including how the colours we use can influence the mood of the reader and how the post is received. As it turns out, the mix of greens and pale blues I use is considered calming and trustworthy. This, of course, all being completely intentional, and none of it through ignorant accident...
All in all it was a fantastic educational experience of how to understand a little more about the people reading our blogs. It challenged the way I think about my own blog, the bizarre titles I sometimes come up with and how I use photos to drive home the message I want to convey. But as someone who loves to blog because of my relationship with this vast diabetes community I want to connect with, as opposed to loving blogging per se, the best part of the time away for me was undoubtedly the session 'Validating the Patient's Voice', led by Kerri Sparling on Day two.
|Grumpy, fighting the urge to smile despite valiant attempts|
Kerri's session was an opportunity to talk about what issues are burning away in our respective countries and communities, and establish a forum to share experiences and offer support for the challenges others face. Renza highlighted the support Diabetes Australia needs to secure funding for an education platform for diabetes and Grumpy Pumper's own Chris Aldred highlighted his interest over the lack of consistent information available for those newly diagnosed with type one, which began fruitful conversations on how we can identify what information people most need when they are diagnosed and how we can streamline the delivery of that information (more on this soon...).
As with all of these events it was the connection with others, the meeting of minds and the sharing of hope that made it what it is. Meeting others with type one or living with type on in some way never gets boring. It helps us remember that there are other people out there like us navigating this road. We are a community and a powerful one at that.
We are the diabetes community.