Last week I had my annual eye exam and started to write about it. Fortunately the appointment went well and as I started to write, I started to wonder why anyone else would have any interest in the appointment. Sure, you all like me and want to know I’m doing well. But a whole blogpost worth of doing well? Maybe not that. There is a certain self-absorption that is present in most blogs and mine is no exception. At the same time I am uncomfortable with too much personal trivia and you won’t see me posting blood glucose numbers on Facebook or Twitter. (The one exception is “Twinsies” when my Dexcom G4 and Freestyle meter have matching numbers.)
This got me thinking about now that I have blogged for over a year, why do I blog? Have I achieved any of the aims that I professed in my first post? What have I gained from it? Have I added anything to the Diabetes Online Community (DOC)? Am I enjoying myself and what do I think about the future of Test Guess and Go?
Why do I blog? The main reason I blog is that I enjoy writing and creating graphics, some silly and others more serious. It’s something to do. I’m at a stage in life where I no longer work and am not satisfied with having something like golf be the center of my life. I am certainly not an artist or a great writer, but I like having a creative outlet in my life. Sometimes I think that it is pitiful that I spend so much time writing about diabetes, but there is no doubt that it is something I know a lot about and spend a lot of time dealing with.
Is it to become rich? That’s a joke, although there are a handful of diabetes bloggers who have used their blogs as stepping stones into careers as diabetes advocates and social media consultants. Although their lives are purposeful and rewarding, I don’t think that anyone has yet financed a mansion on Diabetes Easy Street through books and consulting fees. I’m not being paid to blog and except for an occasional book or CGM case, I have received no concrete rewards. I have not been approached with bribes of cash or chocolate-covered donuts to sway my opinions on any issue.
Is it to become famous? I admit that one of my aims in starting a blog was to increase my presence in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). I hoped to become a little fish in what is a big pond for those of us with diabetes and a little pond when it comes to the whole wide world. The measure of my new-found fame is that now when I Google myself, I find images and links. Previously I did not. To put this search engine fame into perspective, my dog shows up in “Abby the Black Lab” Google searches and prominently sports her flowered hat and DSMA crown in the image section.
Is it for diabetes advocacy? Advocacy is a hot topic in the DOC and it easily becomes a burdensome topic. One of my favorite discussions of this burden is a January 2014 blogpost by Scott from Rolling in the D. If I summarize his thoughts correctly, he was writing (and maybe whining) about the expectation that just because he was a diabetes blogger that he was required to become an Advocate with a capital-A. At the same time he understands that through his sharing his diabetes story, he has probably turned into an advocate. That’s true for me also. I refuse to feel guilty that my main goal in blogging is not and never has been to be an advocate. I am a good follower/supporter and feel proud of my participation in DOC projects such as Spare a Rose. I have also initiated some projects such as my Type 1/Type Conversations with Kate Cornell of Sweet Success: My Life with Type 2 Diabetes. But I don’t want to be weighed down by expectations of what I should be doing just because I write a blog. Nor do I want to feel bad if I feel that I’m not living up to what others in the DOC are doing.
Do I pay attention to stats? You betcha. Do they make sense? Sometimes, but not always. Some posts that I work really hard on get fewer views than others which are flippantly churned out when I just want something to publish. Stats provide encouragement because they show that I have gained new readers in the last year. It’s hard work to write a blog and readership is a compliment. One of my biggest achievements is that I have finally written some posts with more views than those of Abby the Black Lab.
Where do I fit into the DOC? I am one of hundreds of bloggers in the DOC. I am old enough to be the mother of most Type 1 bloggers and I am happy that you have accepted me as a friend. I believe that my co-bloggers and I are good writers and I am proud of what has been published on Test Guess and Go. Some of our posts have been highly praised and commented on. At the same time I am careful not to become jealous of more-established bloggers who get tons of views and repeatedly get invited to represent us at conferences. One reason is that they have earned their place and secondly, I don’t want the responsibility that goes along with being “big-time”. I will continue to be a happy little fish and work hard to support all of the other fish, big and small, in the DOC.
Am I fulfilling any of my goals? Yes, I think that Test Guess and Go has become known as a blog where people of about my age have a place to talk about how diabetes has affected our lives. Sue from New York has described both her experiences as a Type 1 approaching Medicare age and her life as a parent of a Type 1. Sue from Pennsylvania has written extensively about her Type 1 husband and advocated for Medicare to begin providing coverage for CGMS. I’ve shared stories of diabetes then and now and have not been shy about expressing my opinions on any issue.
What has been the main benefit of being a blogger? With no doubt, the answer is friendship and relationships. My blog contributors, Sue from NY and Sue from PA have become good friends who understand and walk-the-walk of Type 1 diabetes. Building on my Twitter and Facebook relationships, I’ve continued to meet and get to know many people living with all types of diabetes in the USA and around the world. No one wants diabetes in their life, but the people I’ve met in the DOC are incredible!
What is the future of Test Guess and Go? It is here today and will be here tomorrow. Beyond that the future is an unknown. I would like to hear from more seniors who are approaching Medicare age or are already there. If you are interested in writing a guest-post or becoming a regular contributor, please contact me. I hope that our readership will continue to grow. I hope that I can continue to find things to write about. I hope that my Windows desktop computer continues to work so that I still have access to my beloved Adobe CS5 design programs. As always, I hope that diabetes will be cured and that the theme of this blog can be changed to Golf, Hiking, and Dog-walking for Old Ladies.