Last week, I was fortunate to attend AADE’s Advocacy Training and Public Policy Forum in Washington, DC. A group of diabetes educators spent Monday learning about how to advocate and what AADE is advocating for and then Tuesday on Capitol Hill visiting Senate and Congressional offices. If that sounds intimidating to you, don’t worry. When I first went two years ago, it was intimidating to me. But, the training is excellent and I was paired up with another educator so it was really quite easy. If you have any interest in doing this next year, contact your CB leadership and let them know. Maybe you will be there with us next year!
During the training day, there was a wonderful presentation by Manny Hernandez and Bennet Dunlap who are diabetes advocates and are both very active in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). They talked about the value of social media in diabetes advocacy and how powerful tweeting can be. They are both extremely passionate in our fight against diabetes and for those with diabetes and are innovative in their use of social media to do it. They use twitter regularly, Manny at @AskManny and @DiabetesHF and Bennet at @BadShoe and @StripSafely. It was amazing to hear how something can be tweeted, spread to many others, and how quickly hundreds or thousands of people can be working together to make a change at the touch of a screen!
I got a Twitter account (@karen_kemmis) a couple of years ago, but I really didn’t know how to use it. I guess the biggest reason I didn’t learn was that I didn’t know why I would tweet. Did anyone really want to know what I had for breakfast (in 140 characters or less)? Or what I was doing that day? What I hear about Twitter is from the media where professional athletes and movie stars tweet when they shouldn’t and saying things they regret later. I had no idea how positive tweeting could be! The other problem was that I really didn’t know how to tweet. Do you have the same issues?
Here are some answers. If you are an AADE member, you can log on to MY AADE NETWORK and go to the Advocacy Forum to access a few helpful documents (Twitter "How-to" Guide and Twitter Helpful Hints). There is also great information in the Advocacy Action Center webpage for anyone interested in getting involved with AADE's advocacy efforts using social media.
Once you get set up on Twitter, look for connections, starting with @AADEdiabetes. See what people are tweeting about and join in. Did you see something interesting that you want to share with others? Can you learn from peers? Do you want to feel connected with those who are passionate about the same things as you are?
You can really help to make positive changes as you join with others in the DOC. Connect with your government officials, agencies, AADE, other educators, and people with diabetes (PWD). Join me, Manny, Bennet, other educators, and AADE as we tweet to change diabetes.