In 2013, I became more comfortable talking about my diabetes. As I opened up to others, I discovered how therapeutic it was, in addition to being educational. The more I interacted in the diabetes online community, the more I learned about other people’s experiences and feelings, which helped me understand my own. So when I heard about JDRF’s TypeOneNation.org, I was eager to explore it and see how I could continue to share with others and expand my personal diabetes social network.
When I first logged into the website, I noticed that there are 23,000+ members in this online community. That number reassured me that there were many others reaching out for support, just like me.
I wanted to learn more about how the website works, so I scrolled down the homepage to read about TypeOneNation. Quickly, I learned that TypeOneNation’s goal is to support, engage and educate people living with type one diabetes, as well as their families and friends. This online community is a place to get answers to questions, join the conversation and connect with others not only in the United States, but around the world.
TypeOneNation’s site was launched by JDRF on Word Diabetes Day in 2008. The community welcomes any user over the age of 13, and Novo Nordisk provides an educational grant that partially funds the site.
After reading about TypeOneNation’s purpose, I decided to do some more exploring around the site. I clicked on the “Groups” section and discovered a large variety of groups that deal with specific areas of interest for people with diabetes, such as Diabetes and Pregnancy, Exercise and Fitness, and even Artists with Diabetes. Within a few short minutes, I realized that there is much I could learn, as well as share, by joining the TypeOneNation community.
The sign-up process for TypeOneNation was simple, and within seconds I was looking at my own personal dashboard. From there, I could set up my personal profile, monitor my activity, and look at different discussions that might spark my interest. Before I knew it, I was absorbed in the site and enjoying it.
I was lucky enough to talk to Gina Capone, the community manager of TypeOneNation. When I asked about her involvement with the site, she said that her “emotional connection to every single member that I encounter on TypeOneNation has helped me to feel less alone, and [it is] my source of strength when I feel as though I just can’t deal with diabetes anymore… We all share a special bond and have an emotional connection to each other because of diabetes.” Gina’s own testament about TypeOneNation reaffirmed that I have a lot to gain from membership.
Gina also told me about TypeOneNation’s recent updates, which function to provide a more personalized experience for the members. First and foremost, she explained the new search function “at the top of every page” and how it can direct users to “pretty much anything you are looking for.” This makes it easier for members to find what they want by joining interest groups, joining the conversation or even starting a new discussion on a new topic. Now, users can view the most popular discussions on the dashboard and favorite them in order to stay updated.
In terms of a user’s personalization of their profile, Gina explained that those who have not logged on to the site for a while will notice a few changes. “Users can now login and see an updated profile section, extended features for which kind of device you use, what your interests beyond diabetes are, and of course a place to plug-in all of your favorite social networking sites if you want to make life-long friendships beyond TypeOneNation,” Gina said. And that’s not all: “the best part is that you can choose to hide the information or let only your friends see. These new features help us to identify what our members are interested in and get them to the right place on the site. We have more additions but, I don’t want to spoil all of the fun!” Gina’s enthusiasm for the site and its new improvements were palpable and assured me that I would have no trouble figuring out how to use TypeOneNation in a meaningful way.
Between my exploration of TypeOneNation and talking with Gina, I’ve become very excited to use TypeOneNation to its full potential. I’m looking forward to starting off 2014 by growing and learning even more as a person with diabetes. I’d highly recommend this site to anyone who wants to join an online diabetes community that is as informative and easy to use as TypeOneNation.