THROWBACK THURSDAY: WHEN I BLOGGED FOR “BIG RED”

I’ve realized over the past week since I launched this blog that my statement about coming back to diabetes blogging may only make sense to some folks. And even of few of those who remember where I blogged before may have some questions. And so, in light of Throwback Thursday, I’d like to share this little story:

Once upon a time (2008-2011), I worked for a very large, very well-known national diabetes organization. SUMone nicknamed this group “Big Red” and I’ll just stick with that. While I was there, organizations were just starting to venture (well, tip-toe, really) into social media and I was lucky enough to lead the charge for Big Red.

First there was Facebook, then there was Twitter. We could not ignore the blogosphere and at last, after about 18 months of preparation, we finally launched a national blog. And I wrote it. Not as a faceless corporate logo, but as myself. I’m still proud of that – being able to manage a corporate blog from the first person perspective as someone living with type 1 diabetes.

Of course, there were a lot of people who asked “If you have type 1 diabetes, why would you work at [Big Red]? Don’t they mostly focus on type 2 diabetes?” I knew it was a valid question, but it included the underlying assumption that they focused on type 2 which is not entirely true. My approach echoed the idealistic “be the change you want to see in the world,” but I was okay with that. I got their blog to show the face of someone with type 1, so that was something, right?

It was. It was great. But somewhere between here and here, I hit a major wall of burnout that spanned from my professional life to my own diabetes management. This, combined with other elements of the job that I will not write about, inspired me to find another job. And I did – with the United Nations Foundation. And that was super cool, too. (I even blogged a little for them, too!)

And so, yes, I was a blogger. And yes, it was for a corporate blog, but it wasn’t all PR propaganda. Most of it was completely sincere and I loved working on it. But when it was time for me to move on to other things, I couldn’t even begin to think about diabetes blogging again. It took a full three years for me to come back to this. In the past week, I’ve been welcomed back by some old faces as well as some new ones and for that I am grateful.