Tuesday, September 1, 2015

On A Break . . .

In my eyes, Diabetes Social Media (and Social Media in general) is similar to a romantic relationship.  At the start, when it’s shiny and new, I’m completely enamored.  It makes me smile, it’s always on my mind, and when other life things need attention I can’t wait to finish them up so I can get back to my new love.  I’m happily infatuated and everything seems so perfect . . . .

But then the newness starts to wear off, and maybe things start looking a little less perfect.  Flaws start to pop up and reality sets in.  The very things that once seemed so great can start to become a bit annoying.  Conflicts pop up and the shiny begins to dull.  I feel the need for a break . . .

And that is exactly what happened this summer.  I began to grow a bit tired of Diabetes Social Media, finding flaws that maybe aren’t there and finding myself not quite as smitten as I used to be.  And I unofficially took a break.

DOCburnoutDay-640x461So Diabetes Social Media Burnout Blog Day could not have come at a better time!  Thank you, Diabetes Daily, for coming up with this and really getting me to ponder my Diabetes Social Media relationship.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the little white print in the image to the right.  “Do you take breaks?  Have you been the target of an attack?  Felt bullied?  Exhausted?  Unappreciated?  How do you heal, endure, recharge, or reconnect to find your own happy balance within this powerful and tremendous community?  Share your tips on your blog, and in the comments section on DiabetesDaily.com’s burnout blog on September 1, 2015.  #DOCburnout2015

My summer DSocMed break has been really nice.  I’ve had some time to think about what bothers me and what I love and how to balance all of that.  But the break has also been lonely.  I’ve kept up with some DOC friends but it hasn’t been the same as when I’m blogging and tweeting and reading and commenting.  I feel very out of the loop and I feel like I’ve been a bad friend and supporter.  So I am, hopefully, back from my little DOC break and I’d like to think I’m  a little wiser.  I’ve figured out the following:
  • Personal stories and support is the most important part for me.  This is what first drew me into the DOC.  The connections, the me-too, the knowing I’m not alone and that we all struggle together.  When I’m too overwhelmed to read the hundreds of posts in my feed, the personal stories of bloggers who need support is where I should spend my time.
  • Not every advocacy issues will speak to my heart.  And I need to understand that is okay.  Over the years, advocacy has gone from nearly non-existent in the DOC to a hot topic.  That is a great thing.  But I also find it exhausting at times.  “You need to do this.”  “You should care about that.”  “Why isn’t the DOC doing such and such?”  I feel a mix of guilt, resentment and, ironically, an urge toward inaction.  (I suppose I don’t like to feel bossed around.)  So I’ve decided that the great thing about the DOC being a vast pool of members with many varied issues is that I can put my energy into the ones that speak to my heart and that I’m good at.  I love my volunteer efforts with JDRF Advocacy.  I love providing support as the moderator of DiabetesSisters Virtual PODSSpare A Rose continues to be a must in my book.  When issues and initiatives speak to me, I will work hard to support them.  And when they don’t, that’s okay.
  • It’s all about that one person I reach.  I find myself bristling at terms such as “DOC superstars”.  Does anyone in the DOC feel like this term applies to them?  Does anyone believe they lead the DOC?  In my mind, that’s not what our community is about.  I see us as all equal.  Living our lives with diabetes, doing the best we can, and reaching out to help and to be helped.  It’s not the number of comments and RTs that matters.  It’s the one comment or tweet from someone who says “thank you for this, it helped me”.  I’ll never feel unappreciated if just one person has been reached.
  • Haters gonna hate.  (Do people even use that saying anymore?  Or does it just make me sound old?)  I have never felt bullied or been the target of an attack.  But I am quite sensitive and criticism that isn’t constructive hurts me deeply.  And the truth is, this year was the first Diabetes Blog Week that didn’t find me crying over something critical I stumbled upon.  But I realize I need to learn to let these things roll off me.  I know I can’t please everyone, even though I try really really really hard to do so during DBlog Week.  It’s terrible that I let the criticisms deeper into my heart than the compliments.  That’s totally on me, and it’s going to be something I work on from now on.  I’ll pay attention to constructive criticism, because that is very helpful.  The rest, I will learn to let go.
In the end, the break has done my DSocMed relationship some good.  I see that I am still in love, even if things are a little less shiny and perfect.  And a lot of the time, it isn’t you, it’s me.  But this is definitely a love that is built to last.


  1. I love this post so much. It is SO MUCH better than what I wrote. For me, you are a clear voice of reason in a sometimes chaotic community. Thanks for this.

  2. What a perfect analogy! I also love your list, especially the points about your personal stories and support being the most important and how it's all about reaching that one person.

  3. Great analogy. You're someone I look to for that support, and I always like reading what you have to say. In the end, the relationship may change but you can find new and interesting ways to engage and capture what brought you together in the first place.

  4. Love the Friends reference Karen, and great to hear that your time away from the DOC was constructive. I also can't believe that you receive criticism for Diabetes Blog Week (if I read that correctly) - you are such an amazing person for doing this and I can't thank you enough for it. It was one of the best things about joining the DOC and I have made so many connections because of it. So thank you!

  5. Karen, I was so burned out I did not write a blog about burn out on September 1.. OK, I was not burned out on social media just burned out. I too love the friends reference. I have tired to figure out who in Friends I am most like. Certainly not Joey or Chandler. I hate to call myself Phebe or Monica, and well, I doubt I am Rachel. So that leaves Ross, the bumbling older brother. Yeah, I can rock Ross. Maybe.... Ross Rick Rocker,, seems fitting somehow.




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