Scott Hanselman

Twittering my Diabetes

May 18, 2007 Comment on this post [27] Posted in Diabetes
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UPDATE: This event is now over and the complete transcript of the Diabetic Day's Twittering's are now available.

Twitter is a new thing on the 'net lately. You can send text messages of up to 140 characters into the cloud, and folks who are your "friends" or "followers" (read: digital stalkers) can receive those updates. You can send your updates to twitter via their Web Interface, via their Mobile Browser interface at, but the really compelling way is via their 5-digit SMS code "40404." Here's a Twitter SMS Cheatsheet. For example, to "subscribe" to me, you'd SMS/text "follow shanselman" to code 40404. To stop, you'd SMS/text "leave shanselman."

Personally I find it a little silly to need to be THAT connected to folks, but I've found twitter to be useful in temporary situations, like conferences when you WANT to let folks know what's going on and what you're doing. It was very useful at Mix to meet up with folks I wanted to talk to, so from a just-in-time networking point of view, it was brilliant. I didn't update after Mix, though, until RailsConf2007.

I've been trying to raise money for Diabetes Research as I'm a Type I diabetic. Driving home today, I had an even better idea on how I could use Twitter.

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 18th, I'm going to "twitter" my Diabetes for one day. By this, I mean, every time I take a manual shot, update my pump, prick my finger, have a high blood sugar, have a low blood sugar, eat, calibrate my continuous meter, or do ANYTHING related to diabetes, I'll send an update to Twitter.

My hope is that this will give folks who don't think about diabetes a little insight into how often I, and 20 million others, either do, or should, be thinking about their diabetes. I'd also like you to imagine if a small child had this disease, and how a parent of a small child deals with it.

Please spread the word by , and I encourage you and yours to subscribe to my Twitter account just for 1 day. If you don't want to make an account, just visit throughout Tomorrow and watch the updates. I hope it'll give you some insight into diabetes, and maybe open some eyes.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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May 18, 2007 6:56
Clever idea -- you might also want to make it a recurring thing -- like an annual monthly day to raise awareness.
May 18, 2007 7:36
Are you sure this is what you want to do? Making more people consciously thinking about Diabetes? Worring about it? Are you familier with NLP (suggestion in practicular), the law of attraction?

It seems to me that most of your downtime(NLP) you are spending worrying about it. every intelligent person knows that the world reflects exactly as we see it. By changing your belief and way of thinking, you change your world. You should know that, specially because you indirectly speak about it.

May 18, 2007 7:45
I'm trying to raise awareness, frankly. This disease sucks. I've been dealing with it for 12 years, every day. I thought it'd be a useful data point(s) to give the non-diabetic an idea of what it's like to spend a day - any random day, not an unusual day - as a diabetic.
May 18, 2007 8:27
Let me take a different approach. Since I live in Israel, I can "Raise awareness" as well. However, why would I want more people in the world to worry about it? How good would it do? The way I see it is the same way to tell your child not to worry because there is NOTHING in the CLOSET. Guess what they do? they WORRY about something in the CLOSET, specially when you are turning off the light right after you said it (this is a basic NLP suggestion).

What actually you are doing is installing a fear motivation in these people, some actually become so afraid they either get diabeties (law of attraction, NLP) or help you out with money raising. Although a Fear Motivation is one of the 9 motivations by Napoleon Hill, it is a bad one to install on people.
May 18, 2007 9:08
Moshe - I guess we'll have to disagree. Whether it's Israel/Palestine, Darfur, Diabetes, or Trans-Fats, I believe that it's more empowering to understand something.

Ignorance may be bliss, but rarely do the ignorant solve problems.
May 18, 2007 9:19
Hey Moshe,

Is Scott really motivating with fear? Or might it be empathy?

I suppose one's perspective could be influenced by capacity for each.
May 18, 2007 9:34
Mark, Empathy is not a motivation.

Scot, wouldn't you say ignorant people are not aware of their eco-system, no? It is not about ignorant, isn't it? it is about how you effect your eco-system, both internally and externally.

May 18, 2007 11:28

It is a purely voluntary action to follow what Scott is planning to do. If you believe it spreads fear then don't "twitter" it.

If someone wants to find out how much of an impact it makes on the life of someone with Diabetes then this is one way they can find out. It is by no means the only way but it does provide an insight into what happens over the course of a day.

May 18, 2007 13:28
I hadn't read this blog entry, and when I fired up twitter this morning I was rather "what the frack". It's all rather interesting to see. Even if I am feeling guilty because I'm sipping one of my morning mochas.

May 18, 2007 15:17
Good stuff Scott,

I had joined the RailsConf twitter page and saw your posts. Good idea, it should be interesting. :-)
May 18, 2007 16:13
Brilliant!! Simply brilliant! Thanks Scott.
May 18, 2007 17:08
If you like twitter then check out
But be warned it is very addictive!

May 18, 2007 17:39
I was confused at first because May 18 is Friday, not Thursday, so it took me a minute to figure out that I hadn't missed it yet.
May 18, 2007 18:21
Great Idea.
My wife has Type I we're working on getting her a pump.
I had no idea you had to check it this often.
May 18, 2007 20:06
Hi Scott,

What a cool way to raise awareness! I was wondering, and this question is for anyone and everyone, what do you know about Byetta? I just started the shots this week (first time ever for shots), so it has been an interesting week. I am insulin resistant, so my doctor thought Byetta would be worth a try.

I wish you lots of luck!

May 18, 2007 20:22
I definately don't think the intent is to use a Fear Motivation. I actually think this is an interesting idea. It will definately be interesting to see how it works to inform people. To me it would be really no different then if Scott would update his blog every time he does something related to his diabetes.
May 18, 2007 20:35

Great idea. I'll be following your updates today. Joanna and I are planning on sponsoring Team Hanselman.

May 18, 2007 21:29
Good idea Scott -

I did a similar thing last year - just kept track of everytime I did something d-related for one day and wrote up a single blog post about it. Came out with something like 46 times in 24 hours - and that was on a really good day. If you follow the link to my blog you can see it under "24 hours of being me" in the previous posts....

Good luck!
May 18, 2007 21:47
This is awesome, Scott! Ironically enough I was writing about something similar on my blog a couple of days ago:

Great minds think alike, I guess! :)

Wanted to invite you to join, a Social Network for Diabetics I started earlier this year. It'd be amazing to have you in it as a member.
May 18, 2007 22:09
Thanks. We can point a newly diagnosed Type I, 34 year old man to your sight to help teach him how to manage his disease.
Keep up the diabetes posts, Scott. You can't believe how much it helps us teach.
Bob, RN
May 19, 2007 0:10

It's important to understand possible causes and effects of diabetes and what being Type I means versus Type II . You can't worry yourself into having diabetes. The fact that Scott is showing a typical day in is life isn't going to cause people to worry anymore than they normally would. But it might show some people that you can live with either type of diabetes and it isn't a death sentence.
May 19, 2007 0:56
Scott - Awesome idea. It really gives me an idea of the daily concerns you have. Fascinating stuff.
May 19, 2007 0:57
When you say you are tracking everything d-related, are you including:

- Every time you have to say "no" to an offer of candy, or dessert, or beer/liquor, or anything else loaded with sugar that people regularly try to foist upon you.

- Every time you wonder if you're sweating because of a hyper/hypo, or just because it's hot.

- Every time you have to leave an event early, or decline an invitation because it conflicts with your regularly scheduled mealtime.

..and all those other "little things" that happen throughout the course of a day, that most people take for granted.

And I would say to Moshe that worrying about it every minute of every day is A NECESSITY, because you are now acting as your own pancreas, and you never get a break from diabetes. There is no "mind over matter" philosophy that will change that.
May 19, 2007 9:24
Thanks everyone for the kind words. I hope it's been a useful day. I've still got a few hours before bed, but the general feedback has largely been very helpful. I'll have some followup summary and information soon.
May 19, 2007 20:53
Saw you featured on the public timeline. A brilliant use of Twitter, IMO. Really glad I checked out the timeline while hanging out here in Kuwait. Coming back to your blog caught me up on the Checkfree acquisition, as well, so it was doubly helpful.
May 21, 2007 12:56
I'd say "Mission Accomplished". I had no idea how vigilant you had to be as a diabetic throughout your day. Thanks for sharing.
May 22, 2007 4:51
I am having such a difficult time with Twitter. Granted, the UI is easy enough to understand, but the site is so slow. At first, I simply thought it was my connection, but as the night progress, I became more and more frustrated with the constant refreshing to bypass the 500 errors that kept popping up. Is this common due to the high volume of their site? I'd assume the SMS interface is a lot less congested.

Interesting approach by the way utilizing twitter this way. I often wonder why Twitter and not utilize the Blog? Want to separate the two?

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.