August 20, 2012

Because Betes Will Not Stop Us

Jeff Neitzel, author of the blog, “Betespora, Because Betes Will Not Stop Us,” is an avid social media user and supports many social media online initiatives. So being that Calling All Types is all about supporting online efforts to better manage diabetes and health in general, we thought that Jeff would be a good person to chat with about his social media experience. In this interview Jeff also talks about clinical research and understanding what clinical trials are all about. So, as part of reading this blog, we’re also asking people to chime in on what they would want to learn more about when it comes to clinical research. Leave us a comment here and we’ll compile a list of all your comments for next week’s blog article.

1) For people who are new to the Diabetes Online Community, can you tell us a little bit about the DOC, and the programs, Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (@DiabetesSocMed), Diabetes Daily (@diabetesdaily), and TuDiabetes (@DiabetesHF)

From my perspective, the Diabetes Online Community (aka the DOC) is one way that we, people who are touched by Diabetes, can rejoice in the fact that we are not alone in the Diabetes game of life.  To me, the DOC is most visible via Twitter.

Diabetes Social Media Advocacy - -

Diabetes Social Media Advocacy organizes the weekly DSMA Twitter chats.  I try to participate in the DSMA chats every week.

TuDiabetes is organized by the Diabetes Hands Foundation.  TuDiabetes is an online community that feels a little bit like Facebook to the best of my recollection.  I am no longer a member though.  So, I can't really say more about it.  TuDiabetes was my first step into the DOC though, an excellent first step at that.

I've still never participated as a member of Diabetes Daily, but it's been on my TO DO list. In any case, it's a resource I like to keep on hand because of the useful content there.

2) When did you decide to start a blog and what do you hope people will learn from reading your blog? What has been the most rewarding part of having a blog?

Originally... Sometime back in 2008 or 2009. I ended up ditching it for lack of time though.

However, I re-started my original blog ( last year (2011) for fun.  Finally, I moved its Diabetes-related content to earlier this year (2012).

The most rewarding part of having a blog (specifically one for Diabetes) is the simple knowing that I've got a place where I can think aloud if/when I need to do so.  Now, if others read and get something useful out of it to help them with their personal D-Quests, all the better.

At the end of the day, I hope my blog can be a venue where I can participate in important Diabetes-related work that needs to be done.  I figure it's my job to do it since I live it.

3) The title of your blog is, "Betespora, Because Betes Will Not Stop Us." What does Betespora mean? Can you share some tips you do to make sure Diabetes does not stop you?

Betespora is a little wordplay that digs into what Diabetes means to me...  Betes comes from "Diabetes" and "Livabetes" (regardless of its type), and Spora comes from "Diaspora" (as in the movement of people, ideas, and culture as connectors) to make Betespora.  From point A to B to C and beyond…

Betespora is about the perpetual nature of we, the Betes people, and our ability to rock the boat for the betterment of us all.  The notion of "boat rocking" is a good thing in my mind, but none of us can rock D boat alone.  It takes a team of committed boat rockers to shake off old ideas whose time has passed.  What is life without a little boat rocking and wordplay!?.  Because I will not let my Type 1 Betes stop me from living my life!

NOTE: I am not a medical professional, and this is not medical advice.

The tip or tips I have come from an attitude perspective.  Fitting for me perhaps since I can easily get depressed about things.  Apparently, I'm not the only D-Peep out there who has had dark days either.

So, a positive attitude counts for a lot in my day-to-day life here.  From this, I find the ability to see a fun and lighthearted way to think about Diabetes stuff.  It's a choice I've made to give myself a bit more D-Power than I might have otherwise.

Regardless, it sure helps me survive and thrive despite Diabetes.  Being able to poke some fun at this mad Diabetes life stuff now and again, alone or among friends when appropriate, has proven a valuable coping tool for me here.

4) Have you ever participated in a clinical trial for Diabetes? If so, don't tell us the name of the trial, but if you could talk about your experience that would be great. If not, why and would you be open to participating in a clinical trial?

No, I've not participated in a clinical trial related to Diabetes.  That said, I'd certainly be open to participating in one.  The why is simple in my mind.

I mean, I live with Diabetes every single second of every single minute of every single day.  I qualify by virtue of Diabetes I figure.  So, others benefitting from this fact seems a no-brainer to me.

Granted, I don't know anything about clinical trials or how to learn more about them in the general sense. So, I think I'd need to go to clinical trial school or something.

5) Can you talk about some of the connections you've made with other people with Diabetes through social media outlets and for someone who is new to using social media to learn about Diabetes, where would you suggest they start?

Well, I've been doing this social media (via Twitter mostly) stuff for about 3 years now.  The neat thing is... When I started, I had no idea it would prove to be so valuable in the human connection with other D-Peeps sense. No idea at all. For me at least, this has proven to be life changing in so many ways. The "positive attitude" thing I mention above sprang from this source indirectly. So, that counts as a win in my book.

Besides that, the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) has really developed into a point of D-Power in my mind. This is by virtue of the connections. Now, most of my connections with fellow D-Peeps in the DOC are entirely virtual. I've never met most of them in real life (IRL), but that doesn't diminish the power of this community in the slightest I believe.

I've been lucky enough to meet a handful of D-Peeps from the DOC IRL though.  I consider many people from the DOC, whether I've met them IRL or not, to be true friends. We are a massive family of Humans touched by Diabetes in one way or another. This is truly awesome in my mind (and in reality as well).

Somehow, I feel like nothing can stop us.

My suggestions for a social media newbie would be to just jump in. Social media, like life, is a process. Putting one foot in front of the other is a good way to start. I think the easiest way is for a new person to start is to get a Twitter account and test the waters. DSMA Twitter chats are on Wednesday nights at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. Follow and check out the #DSMA hashtag.

The decision to participate is always yours and your feedback is always wanted. At Calling All Types, we believe finding the right online resources to better manage your diabetes should be a whole lot easier! So sign up and be a part of our growing online health movement. Once you’ve joined, stay connected with us through Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and YouTube.

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