Whatever Zynga! That's the last suggestion I'll send you!

Written by Chelcie Rice
Internet access should be free. 
 
Why? Because I really dig social media.  I really, really do.  I spend a lot of time on it.  I barely use my phone to make calls!  I’m pretty sure that if it weren’t for social media I would still be using my Sony Ericsson phone with the blue monochrome screen.  What’s really hard to believe is how short a time it took for me to seriously get into social media.
 
I got into social media back in the days of Myspace of course.  I think the year was 2004.  I started out like everyone else, trolling for friends. It was like I was trout fishing online. I’d send out the request and every day watch my number of friends grow.  Then I’d pop over to my new friends page and post the typical “Thanks for the add!” in their comments section.  As I got craftier I’d post a pre made graphic that said it for me thus causing thousands of web browsers to come to a screeching halt as they attempted to load that overly mega pixilated, obnoxious, javascripted graphic.  That’s a true friend for ya’.
 
As Myspace grew it went beyond just music and eventually got into comedy.  Comedians were using Myspace as their websites and making contacts with club owners and comedy festivals.  But most of all it helped comedians build their own fan bases.  Dane Cook pretty much revolutionized that by having millions of friends/fans.  What set him apart is he interacted with his fans and his fans brought their friends into the world of Dane Cook. I even got acquainted with Phil Southerland on Myspace after meeting him at a fundraiser show for Team Type 1.  Thus began my comedy and diabetes connection. I played around with other sites like Friendster and Tagged (brrr). Most were disasters and many of the sites aren’t even around anymore.  Then someone told me about Facebook.  
 
I didn’t pay much attention to Facebook at that time because it was mostly colleges students and I was almost 40.  So yeah. Anyway Myspace was still hot but soon a change was coming.  ADULTS WERE ALLOWED ON FACEBOOK!!!  Light the beacons!!!!  Everyone made the shift to Facebook.  With a click of my mouse I could locate everybody from Myspace on Facebook and I abandoned my page as well!!  Now my Myspace page has been torn down and last I looked at it they built a dry cleaners on my page. But wait…I can’t post obnoxious graphics that say “Thanks for the add” anymore. What the heck does “Like” mean?! I then found solace in Mafia Wars and Farmville.  I suggested  to Zynga they combine the two and then you could whack your neighbors corn crop and steal his Easter chicks. I still haven’t heard back. But what really made Facebook great was the amount of people with diabetes I was able to connect with.  
 
Remember bulletin boards sites back in the 90’s?  Well Facebook pretty much took the place of those with groups and fan pages.  I was able to meet either a PWD (Person With Diabetes) diabetic caregivers or even healthcare providers.  Imagine a bunch of people like me that had the same issues as I did with diabetes.  Finally I could talk about my personal issues and realize I wasn’t alone.  I truly enjoyed learning about the changes in diabetic studies and treatment.  I was diagnosed in the late 80s so suffice it to say a lot has changed since then.  I’ve leaned about proper diet choices to exercise options.  Many things I had no access to way back then.
 
Community.  
 
That’s what I found in social media.  A place for me to learn and grow.  Yeah Farmville gave me virtual gardening skills and Mafia Wars taught me how to be more assertive in the business world, but I’ve come to love my diabetes community.  I’ve gotten more help and encouragement than I could ever ask for.  And these were regular people as well as magazine editors.  I encourage every PWD to dig a little deeper in social media and hopefully you’ll find your own community of ears to bend, virtual shoulders to cry on or someone to get healthy with.  
 
And stop sending me Candy Crush requests!!! Why? Because I do not “LIKE” it!