When I looked around the room at Lilly's blogger summit I saw some very familiar faces looking back at me. In alphabetical order they were:
Leighann Calentine - D-Mom
Kelly Close - diaTribe
Bennet Dunalp - Your Diabetes May Vary
Mike Hoskins - Diabetes Mine
Scott Johnson - Scott’s Diabetes
Kelly Kunik - Diabetesaliciousness
Tony Rose - Blogging Diabetes
Cherise Shockley - Diabetic Iz Me, Diabetes Social Media Advocacy
George Simmons - Ninjabetic
Lorraine Sisto - This is Caleb
Kerri Sparling - Six Until Me
Kim Vlasnik - Texting My Pancreas
In the first few minutes it was just so amazing to see avatars sort of come to life in front of my eyes but after a while I began wondering who messed up when they invited me. This was a thoughtful group of diabetes advocates and as they spoke it was clear that they had insightful and valuable thoughts to add to the conversation. I began to feel a bit of pressure, I desperately didn't want to bring the level of discourse down when I put in my two cents. When I finally spoke all of my trepidation disappeared because I saw Bennet nodding along with what I was saying. Bennet may now wish that he didn't nod becasue I don't think I shut up for the rest of the day.
As the day progressed I was struck by how valuable it was to have so many different viewpoints responding to the same question. The people in the room continually gave thorough and informed responses to question after question. They made suggestions, gave advice and lent support all of which was so spot on that it could have been regarded as perfect. When all of the participants points were combined at any given moment the information was so complete that I kept thinking that combining our blogs would be the best way to help our readers. Together we were a world book encyclopedia of diabetes information (I guess I should have said Wikipedia). This feeling really is the core of what makes this community so valuable. The people in the room that day aside, we all have so much diabetes life experience and when we share it everyone benefits. It's unlike anything that I've ever experienced or expect to see again in my life.
By the end of the day I no longer felt like someone invited me by mistake. I realized that I misinterpreted the feeling I had as the day began. What I felt was respect, a bit of awe and a great deal of pride. Pride in the work that these and so many others do everyday for our community... Pride in the knowledge that I was a part of it.
A lot of good will come from our meeting, more perhpas then can be properly quantified right now.