For a while, yours has been one of the blogs I have read and respected the most in the diabetes blogosphere. Not because it is an easy read (it’s not) but because you typically unearth valuable information that I like to be informed about…. until today.
I have found myself in disbelief as I read your post titled “It’s Official: I’m Not An Influential Blogger.” In it you have insulted so many people that I truly think you owe an apology to many people.
1) When you say the people invited to last week’s diabetes social media summit are “feel good” bloggers, you are disrespecting those who write about diabetes questioning the status quo (the Scott Strumello’s, Scott King’s and Chris Thomas’ of the world, among others) who were invited, attended and were outspoken in the same way they are in their blogs, publications and communities. And those who write “feel good” blogs serve a very important role to people who are seeking for encouragement living with this chronic disease. I am glad you recognized this last bit in your second post today.
2) Your comment designating a blog as less influential because it “only” has 38 followers is not only technically flawed (not all people that read a blog follow it via Google Reader) but diminishes the valuable contribution of those who don’t choose to blog for the numbers. The minute someone has touched even a single person’s life, in the eyes of that person the individual has become influential. It’s not all about thousands or millions of pageviews. You know this, so I don’t understand why you place so much emphasis on the traffic growth.
3) Even if inviting us to Indianapolis and paying for our food and lodging while we were there were to be considered an example of the “strategies used to control discourse” by companies (I should say we were treated with respect as individuals, patients and bloggers/community leaders), you are assuming that “wining and dining” the attendees to the diabetes social media summit is equivalent to doing the same with doctors (and you are also assuming that all doctors who get “wined and dined” act unethically too).
There is one big difference: all attendees were patients or caregivers. We all live with the challenges posed by device inaccuracies, product recalls and high test strip costs. It’s VERY hard to put that thought aside… and none of us (to my knowledge) were asked to do so.
4) Your assumptions on this comment:
“… my exclusion means that Roche will finance the production of materials that doctors will give to the newly diagnosed pointing them to blogs full of feel-good posts about living with diabetes, enthusiastic endorsements of products the blogger has gotten for free, and no pointers to the vital information that could keep them from developing diabetic complications.”
are severely flawed:
-To my knowledge Roche is not producing material where we will see all our sites listed. I must say I actually suggested to our host at the table during lunch on day 2 that it would be useful to have diabetes social media sites (not just the ones maintained by the attendees, just in case) included along with the documentation that comes with meters, so that newly diagnosed patients can become informed about some of the resources available online. Don’t you think this would actually be a good thing? To have your site and a whole bunch of other useful blogs and community sites made available to new patients, so they may realize they are not alone and they may get more information?
-You seem to assume only those sites (yours included) who were not represented at the summit have information that can help patients from developing diabetic complications. That is very presumptuous, considering several of the sites represented are written or maintained by people who have been writing about diabetes for decades, well before you or I even were diagnosed.
-Your insinuation that we will enthusiastically endorse products that we got for free is quite simply offensive.
I don’t count myself as neither a “feel good” nor a controversial person in diabetes social media, but rather as someone who seeks to build bridges among all involved. With today’s post you have burned many bridges that will take a while to mend.
Your blog will continue to be influential to some people (and that is a good thing), but… you want to know why I am upset about this, on a personal level?
-I actually brought up the gap we have in terms of diabetes social media reach (not just sites, but participants) towards people with type 2 diabetes. Because of this, in part, I mentioned your blog and your name aloud during the summit as someone that they should be listening to.
-And after the summit, I created a Google Group to connect the attendees. The first discussion I started in that group was titled “Other people you think should be added…” You want to know whose name I put on my list, along with a few “feel good” diabetics? Yours.