A Balance I’ve Never Thought About

I’ve been very lucky to have a handful of great diabetes daily members close to where I live.  We’ve had a handful of very informal social visits over the past year or so, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know more great people, with great stories, great lessons, and great wisdom.  I walk away from each and every meeting with something new to think about, and I love it!

One of the more recent meetings we did something a little different.  We had a couple of laptop computers, some wireless internet, and some remote PWD’s who wanted in on the fun.  We quickly burned over an hour trying to iron out all of the technical kinks, but were able to get folks online and chatting.  It was pretty dang cool.

What is neat about this is that it opens doors for many people who don’t have anyone nearby, or who face other challenges in getting out to meet other folks living with diabetes.  I think it is a really neat way to tap into that “next level” of connection, and it adds a lot of value for us to visit with people facing the same things.

But there was something about it that caught me off guard.  It seemed to drain the intimacy out of our meeting, and for some people that is exactly what they come for.  Computers and technology can sometimes do that, and I’ve witnessed it in many different ways.  I think I can understand both sides.

The hard thing for me is that I value BOTH aspects of this.  Living with diabetes is so damn isolating that I can really appreciate the positive effect this new communication might offer.  But I also see the other side of it, and very much value the intimacy and comfort that an in-person meeting brings.

balance2Living with diabetes is already an exercise in balance.  Everything in our lives is about balance.  Who the heck would have thought that balance would budge into a social gathering?!

Why should we need to pick and choose?  Can’t we have it both ways?

So many questions.  I’d love to hear what you all think, and if you’ve ever experienced something like this, either diabetes related or otherwise.

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16 thoughts on “A Balance I’ve Never Thought About

  1. I’m brand new to diabetes, therefore I’ve never participated in any sort of meet and great. But I was thinking that if DD members had eachother on say yahoo’s messenger, and they all had headphones with mic’s, they could do an online conference chat and talk with eachother. Better than typing, posting, waiting for comments, etc. And not everyone has or is comfortable with web cams. Just a thought.

  2. Late to the party, as usual! Scott, you didn’t tell me you were a big time blogger! What an honor. : ) (Alright, I knew)
    In regard to meet ups, I like it all. You know I love technology. I loved being in Malaysia for a day. Our clumsy first attempt to connect raises some questions as to how far we, as the TC Meet Up group, can spread ourselves. Eventually there are limits to whom (how many) we can connect with, for how long and how far. From a time commitment standpoint, have we made meaningful connections or just climbed a mountain because it is there?
    I have been T1 for 3 short yrs. I need to hear adult T1’s talk about what is important to them. Whatever they say about their lives, their outlooks, is interesting to me. So the personal, face to face of T1’s seems good. I’ve enjoyed my entry to the TC meet ups for that reason. I like the monthly format for the personal meet ups. Any longer, with our busy schedules, we might see someone twice a year. I’ve missed it. I like the monthly. That’s my public vote.
    As far as video-conferencing, if it is worth doing it is worth doing right. I think a commitment would have to be made to get the kinks out by trial runs, etc. I don’t have the time or savvy to head that up, but would be willing to lend my computer, limited knowledge and cheerleading to the endeavor. No one is asking but I would be willing to be a part of a VideoChat Meet and Greet of T1’s, T2’s, Family of D’s open forum. I would keep it special, for three or four times a year. It would be a separate entity. Maybe we could get corperate sponsers!!! Now I’m really out of my league! That’s my public vote.
    Hope all is well with you and yours!

  3. The intimacy of an in-person, face-to-face meeting cannot be matched completely through technology, though it can bring people who are miles apart much closer together…and it’s great for that!
    It’s interesting to see people who are out together (at a restaurant or in some public place) using technology to connect to others who are not present, and it is not at all uncommon anymore. Sometimes I feel like butting in and saying to them, “Hey, what about that person across the table from you?”
    In those situations, I prefer being in the moment with the person right there in front of me to using the same technology I do when I am alone. I guess I’m a bit old school that way!

  4. lol me again!!martain im sorry you did that,as i thought it was clear that we were only having a meeting to discuss what we need to do.there was no tech stuff!.
    i really wish there was no sides to this.
    lol talking about d is the main thing,but for myself i dont have that many d stories!!when we have repeated the same stories twice do we pack up and go are separate ways?
    trying to talk to hannah ben and loyd was great!i think also there is a fear of the unknown here.we are letting things or i guess what ifs get in the way.we must move foreward with our thinking or we would not have pumps or still be on n and r.the table we sit at has room for all.if we cant remember what the meet ups do for us and arent willing to share that feeling with others and reach out to them as we have reached out to each other ,have we done the right thing?if i have to knowingly shut another d out i may not be able to look in the mirror.your alone you have no other ds and than a group of d s says sorry your on your own!twilight zone!!!

  5. Scott, How far outside the Cities do you expand. I am not sure that this may work for everyone, but for some that have no connection to others, this could be what gives them the courage to continue.
    I agree that there are two sides and for some one side may be enough while for others, there is the hope for something more – that moment that didn’t seem like much at the time, but later reinforces the positive feeling and keeps the battle successful.
    I am encouraged just to see many of the younger generations who are more tech-minded reaching out to each other.
    Good luck.

  6. The technical stuff, needed to figure out how to do it, took the majority of the time the first time, I think that caught all of us by surprise. That part will smooth out.
    All of you have a limited time, so what time you have to spend with us off site people is greatly appreciated,

  7. Hi. With Scott I’m a member of the Twin-Cities meet-up group, and have loved each meeting I attended, including the first international one, when I met Hannah (and her brother, Ben) and Lloyd via computer. However, we spoke little of diabetes in that meet up.
    By the next meeting, I’d been very sick for two weeks with an ear infection, and knowing it was going to be another computer meet-up, I sat in the parking lot and ended up pulling away because I didn’t have the positive, can-do, “Hi. I’m Martin” persona that the electronic meet-ups call for. I come for the company of people who walk the diabetes path of my life, and it’s not always positive or easy.
    I appreciate Hannah’s suggestion, for every other meet-up as an electronic, world-wide meeting would still give us the inbetween meetings as the face to face, which is my primary reason for coming.
    While those on-line are also diabetic, the chat seems to gravitate more toward the personal and social, less about diabetes. I’m lucky enough to have a wide and diverse society of friends. What was missing from my life that I found in the meet-ups is the company of others who can share their feelings and thoughts about life as a diabetic. After twenty years as a Type 1, the meet-up was the first time I’d ever met another Type 1. Even if it’s only every other month, it’s still be a great support for me, something missing from my diabetes care for two decades.
    Thanks for the exchange, Scott et alii.

  8. Scott… I feel very honoured to be able to join the meetups via online means… as it feels like its a real life meetup for me eventhough i’m halfway around the world and do not know of any support groups available here…
    I really appreciate groups like the TC group opening up their meetups to the online community… but i do understand that sometimes… virtual meets can suck out the “intimacy” of the in person meetings… and i definitely do not want that to happen at all… i guess as you said… we need a balance of both…
    I do agree with George… having a small online meet is the best as that’s where everyone gets a chance to talk and no one gets left out… which i’ve been personally doing with some folks on DD… to me its as good as a RL meetup… of course… i will never discount the benefit of big online group meets as well which Tok Box and Skype has faithfully served us well there
    So perhaps just a suggestion… instead of 1x a month meetup… why not make it 2x a month? one of them without the technical dial-ins from the rest of the world… that way… you can maintain the group intimacy that was enjoyed previously… and at the same time… sharing the group’s value via the online meetup to the world…
    OR… maintain the 1x a month as before for RL meets… but also have another virtual meetup via tok box or skype 1x a month too?
    just a suggestion…after all… its one of the best things in the world i’ve found… talking to fellow Ds that knows exactly what we’re talking about :o)

  9. I have had amazing meet-ups online via TokBox that really felt like a face to face meet up I guess since it was face to face! LOL Netcams are amazing in the way. But nothing is better than the real thing.
    My take is that both are great. Heck any connection to others is great.
    I prefer smaller numbers both online and irl. What makes people get close is how much they can share, are comfortable to share, and get to hear back from another. There are some people that I have never met in real life that I feel closer to than some I have met face to face!
    But I will always take a meet up anyway I can. They change my perspective on life.

  10. Call me crazy, but that has to be my favorite thing about being a diabetic. Many people never learn balance, and that is the key to living a fulfilled life – balance! Being diabetic has taught me balance, and it applies to EVERY situation.

  11. Scott, thanks for honestly bringing up this issue. I think you have to respect the way it feels. You’re a big name blogger, but you’re also just a guy finding his way. I think it’s important to have a balance with your ‘public’ face, the one that may be part of a large dial-in meetup, and a more ‘private’ one that is comfortable with the intimacy of a small gathering.
    I second anonymous and Lee Ann above that a wide variety of meetups are a good idea. Some can be open to techie dial-ins, and others can be more lounge around the restaurant and chat. You can cater to those that need the connection and to your own needs as well.

  12. thanks scott!and thats where the rub comes in!!as calpumper states above”its better than nothing” for some folks.
    and karen says”On-line stuff does lack some of the intimacy, but also brings together people who might not be able to have contact otherwise. “.
    do we shun these others because we feel uncomfortable or some of the closeness is gone?i dont feel we should for the reasons stated above.living most of my life in “the small towns time forget”i dont have to imagine not being able to connect with other d s!though our meet ups dont give me a reason to be concerned it is why i am.if we limit ourselfs to the world that we can only see or touch are we ignoring the tools available?
    i find it a struggle to shut ds out that want/need to connect in some way.i dont feel its any different than say a phone call with another d.
    those of us that are blessed with a abundance of ds close by are lucky.i am very high on the “connecting”with other ds because i may not be able to ever see these people that i see every day.
    it only takes away from a group if we let it.cant we let people into our lives?
    sorry for the ramble but im saddened by these conflicts that should be joyious occassions
    as lee ane said”The solution, of course, is to have a lot of different meet-ups so you get the best of everything! ;)”

  13. Interesting.
    I don’t know many people in my area that have T1. I know they exist but “finding” them is too stalker like. 😉
    IRL, for me, is the best. Just seeing people that know what it’s like is comforting. It’s a bonus to be able to listen to them. Great to be able to talk to them.
    So for now, if it is via the interweb, so be it. Better than nothing.

  14. Interesting idea to have a real-life and virtual meet-up at the same time. I think each and every meet-up, whether virtual or “real”, is different and valuable. On-line stuff does lack some of the intimacy, but also brings together people who might not be able to have contact otherwise. Real-life meet-ups are so cool – being in the same room as others who live with the same disease.
    I say, bring it all on!!!

  15. It never even occurred to me to combine IRL gatherings with the online social networking in that fashion – it is a super neat option! I do love meeting in person, but since I’ve never even done any kind of video chat that I can recall, I can only kind of imagine how that affects a meet-up. The dynamics of a meet-up can vary so much even without adding the remote participant variable though. Like, it’s awesome to have a big meet-up and see a lot of people, but when that happens, I either don’t get to talk to anyone to any great extent or I end up talking to a few people without having exchanged more than “hello-goodbye” with others. Conversely, I always wish more had showed up when there’s a small meet-up, but I love that I can actually talk to everyone.
    The solution, of course, is to have a lot of different meet-ups so you get the best of everything! 😉