Social media is an emerging avenue of information and support for persons with diabetes and their caregivers as well as for diabetes educators and other healthcare providers.
“Diabetes educators are uniquely qualified to evaluate diabetes information and translate it into practical advice for the public and for their colleagues using social media,” said Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RD, CDE, chief executive officer of Sound Bites Nutrition Communications, Chicago.
Dobbins and AADE President-elect Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, FAADE, owner of Hope Warshaw Associates, LLC, Alexandria, Virginia, will present “Social Media: All ‘Hands-On’ Deck” from 9:15 am to 10:45 am Saturday in Great Hall B.
This hands-on workshop will enable participants to gather a few ins and outs for engagement on social media with a focus on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. The two will offer participants practical skills that will allow them to embrace these powerful social media platforms. The session title was purposefully chosen.
“We believe that in this world of rapid-fire communication and piqued interest in diabetes treatments and care, diabetes educators must be seen and heard on social media,” Warshaw said. “Otherwise, we won’t be counted as present and important.”
With increasing numbers of people with diabetes engaging online, it is critical for diabetes educators to take advantage of these communication mediums to raise their profiles; let their individual voices and collective voice be heard; advocate, educate and share; and promote the value of their work.
“By getting their voices out there, diabetes educators can promote more credible, practical and meaningful information to help empower persons with diabetes to live healthier and happier lives,” Dobbins said. “Social media is becoming an increasingly effective way to do this.”
For those ready to dive in or those who’ve taken their first baby steps in social media, this session builds on the program Dobbins offered Wednesday at AADE15, which addressed barriers to social media and inspired attendees to engage, educate and empower others through social media.
“We’ll kick off the program by discussing why Melissa and I engage in social media and why we believe many more diabetes educators should engage — whether it’s advocating for state or federal legislation, offering accurate and practical tips for diabetes self-management, or dialoguing with colleagues to stay ahead of the curve on diabetes news,” Warshaw said.
Along with a primer on several social media platforms, they will provide a few rules of engagement, as well as ethical and legal considerations.
In the “hands-on” workshop portion of the session, they will call on each participant to choose a social media platform to focus on and to develop a one- to two-month action plan for their involvement in that platform.
“I encourage people to find ways to make social media work for them and to set their own rules for engagement. In other words, I encourage them to realize the value of social media, such as learning and connecting with others, and to avoid the pressure of arbitrary rules, such as how much time to spend on social media,” Dobbins said. “By removing some of these barriers, diabetes educators can reap the benefits of social media, on their own terms, without adding unrealistic amounts of time to their already busy schedules.”