What do you get when you combine about 30 wild and crazy diabetes personalities from around the internet and a big pharma giant like Roche (ACCU-CHEK meters, Spirit insulin pump, and the beloved Multi-Clix)?
You get a day that will be remembered as the first ever in the diabetes space, a lot of fun pictures and stories (it’s in the fridge. Really?!). I’m still sort of stuck on the fact that we made history. And I am sure that this is just a small step, the first of many to come.
I can’t find the words to explain just how neat this was for all of us. But on the other hand I know that I was very skeptical about Roche’s motives for all of this. What do they want from us? What are they up to? Are their motives honorable? Or are they after the elusive secret to social media (is there such a thing)?
While they have created quite a buzz in the blogosphere for the past few days, I think that was just incidental to what they are working towards. It felt to me more like they recognize the voice that we (yes, I’m talking about you) collectively have. They want to get involved, but they also recognize companies have hurt themselves irreparably by doing it wrong. They want to understand what makes us tick, and they want to understand how to participate with us in a respectful and meaningful way.
Roche did not meddle in our discussions and did not push any propaganda on us. They seemed to have their “listen and learn” hats on. That impressed me. It would have been very easy for them to try to brainwash us and serve us special kool-aid, but they didn’t. I give them a lot of credit for that.
This “social media” space is scary for big companies, maybe because it makes them very vulnerable. It also has a lot of raw potential that we enjoy. These companies are trying to figure out how to leverage that potential without all of the vulnerability that comes along with it. That’s a tough thing to figure out.