There is a very interesting article being circulated online, written by ‘NPR‘. The article entitled:
Social Media Help Diabetes Patients (And Drugmakers) Connect
begins by stating how the diabetes community is connected but quickly turns to the fact that pharma companies are getting involved with many of the bloggers and that involvement needs to be regulated, or guidelines better set by the FDA, according to advocate groups.
People living with diabetes have created a vibrant online community. Big drug companies are certainly taking notice — and some advocacy groups feel that the Food and Drug Administration should as well.
But there is a disconnect here which I believe the writer misses altogether. In as much as there are people out there claiming various ‘cures’ and ‘potions’ that will rid you of your diabetes (that should be vetted), taking all bloggers and stating that there should be a regulating body over them is a dangerous and slippery slope to be navigating.
My guess is that there are far more writers inspiring and connecting people than there are those specifically ‘on contract’ with a specific agenda. Those who blog in this community who write about subjects where they receive any sort of compensation are also very quick to also add that they receive that compensation from a particular company.
Bloggers are writers. Writers speak from experience to lend a voice of experience. In life; in diabetes; as a parent; as a person with diabetes; and yes to even state that they tried a product and it was great (or sucked for that matter).
The article quotes Jason Bonner who states:
“There’s no proof in diabetes that social networking is helpful,” says Jason Bronner, a doctor at the University of California San Diego Medical Center. He’s leading a study that will help determine whether social networking can actually help patients manage diabetes.
Now there are two different positions here—-social networking being helpful and social networking actually helping patients manage their diabetes. It might have helped if the writer wrote a longer article to clarify the difference and what might or might not need the influence of a federally governing body.
If it is all the same to the NPR writer, I may not consider a particular writer helping to better manage my children’s diabetes but I would be lost if I did not have some writers to clarify my sanity from time to time. Bloggers are bloggers…..I can differentiate the ones I want to be part of my life as credible and so can mostly everyone else.
I just think we need to be very careful trying to censor, or federally control, a world of writers that are crucial to those who live with diabetes every day, or are caretakers to the same.
This is a large community that is very intelligent and informative. To be honest, should someone write or say something that is bogus, untrue, or off the mark……believe me the diabetes community would be there before anyone else to correct and clarify any point made that was off-base. But I find it dangerous for someone to say to all writers, “You must stay within these parameters”.
How one differentiates between me reading about life and again about cinnamon curing diabetes……I am not too sure. But I think most of us know or would be quickly informed by others in the diabetes online community.
Perhaps the advocacy groups (the writer does not mention which ones) that thinks the FDA should be more involved may want to start with an easy one; why not start with asking the media to ‘get it right’ when it discusses diabetes.
I love the diabetes community. I also respect all of the great things the diabetes community accomplishes with the written word on blogs, FB, print media, or otherwise. DO we really want the FDA to set guidelines? Really?
I also do not believe anyone should just come out there and say what they want about a product or medicine……but what I know is this community will speak up very quickly when a line is crossed, but remember this; there are many lines. It would be dangerous and harmful to think any one agency could set one hard and fast rule across the board to govern; would anyone really want that?
I don’t, do you?
I am a diabetesdad.
Disclaimer: I am a blogger; and love that I am.