What is DSMA?

Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (DSMA) is involved with and promotes social media in all its forms to empower people affected by diabetes and to connect them with each other to foster support and education. In the Beginning: The Online Community Through platforms such as facebook, YouTube, podcasts, blogs, and online communities such as Diabetesdaily, TuDiabetes anddLife, people participate in the informal network known as the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). The virtual community is one of the first and largest to champion social media for chronic disease awareness, support, and education.

The DOC provides places online for people affected by diabetes to communicate with others who understand the mental, physical, and emotional challenges of this chronic condition. The community also helps people find ways to embrace their condition and spread diabetes awareness. Diabetes/Patient bloggers are the foundation of the DOC. They share their personal experiences of living with diabetes, including health insurance issues, depression, motivation, mishaps, relationships, and much more. Diabetes/Patient bloggers make us laugh, cry, smile, and think, “I remember when that happened to me,” and “It’s good to know I’m not alone.”

You need not be a blogger (nor a person living with diabetes or PWD), however, to participate in the DOC and DSMA. A computer with internet access or a smart phone is the only requirement. DSMA was founded to enhance the DOC and to involve more people with the online community, in its current form and as it evolves.

Where You’ll Find DSMA

This free social media platform allows posts of 140 characters or fewer. It’s a place to connect with people and to share news, encouragement, support, and often, smiles. On July 21, 2010, Diabetes Social Media Advocacy held its first chat on Twitter. Guided by the tagline “Simple questions, thought-provoking responses—strengthening the diabetes community one Tweet at a time,” the DSMA Twitter chat brings people together online for a fast-paced, one-hour moderated chat each week.

The online chat takes place Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. United States EST and is identified on Twitter with the hashtag #dsma. People with diabetes (PWDs), family members, and caregivers post their responses to a list of questions and reTweet and comment on the responses. The topics vary, including food and eating, the media’s portrayal of diabetes, the Food and Drug Administration, medical devices, insurance issues, public policy, and so much more.

You can participate in the weekly chat in real time or simply watch it scroll by. Some people, fondly known as lurkers, choose to read the Tweets while the chat is in progress without posting their own, and that’s fine.

You also can read transcripts of the chat at your leisure—find the archives on the DSMA homepage.

To join in: It’s easy! Sign up for a free account at Twitter. Follow @diabetessocmed. And include the #dsma hashtag in your tweets. Any day, any time you can search for conversations that relate to DSMA by typing #dsma into the Twitter search box. To view the #dsma feed in real-time on Wednesdays: Click on the TweetChat page (you also can access this page through DSMA’s homepage). To suggest DSMA chat topics and questions: Click here to complete the “contact me” form. To see a preview of the weekly DSMA chat topic, visit YouTube.



Each month, DSMA inspires bloggers and invites deeper conversation through tis Blog Carnival. DSMA suggests a blog topic. Diabetes bloggers from around the world write blogs based on the topic and link their blog to the Carnival round-up. See the archives and find out this month’s topic here.


Thursday evenings at 9 p.m. United States Eastern Time, visit BlogTalkRadio to hear DSMA founder Cherise Shockley, LADA, co-hosts Scott K. Johnson, PWD type 1, and George Simmons, PWD type 1, present DSMA Live a  radio show on BlogTalkRadio. Each week, the program features a guest and invites calls from the audience. Listeners have heard from PWDs type 1, LADA, type 2, and parents and spouses/partners of PWDs. Find previews of the show and the archives here.


Blue Fridays

Every Friday and on World Diabetes Day (November 14)  wear blue  to show your support for people affected by diabetes. Blue shirts, blue hats, blue shoes, blue nails, blue hair—how blue can you go?!

What’s Next for DSMA

  •  People You Should Know: Quick interview-style profiles of people around the diabetes community
  •  Q&As: Monthly questions and answers with health and diabetes coach Ginger Vieira, an author and competitive power lifter who lives with type 1.
  •  DSMA Salutes: Recognition program for people who make a difference in the diabetes community.
  •  Webinars: Stay tuned for informative presentations from DSMA participants and DOC experts.


There are no limits! Share your ideas for DSMA, online and offline, by submitting your suggestions and comments using this form(edit)


DSMA is provided by Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation (DCAF).

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