Diabetes UK moves into social media

10 June 2009

Leading health charity Diabetes UK has been branching out into all the main social media websites in recent months and has seen a huge uptake in their use among people with diabetes.

As well as a new method of finding and communicating to untapped supporters for the charity, the sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Bebo, YouTube and the virtual world of Second Life offer people with diabetes a new, easily-accessible method of sharing experiences and sourcing advice about managing their complex condition.

"Social media sites are not only a new place to promote fundraising and awareness-raising events, and share news stories, information or developments in diabetes care," said Diabetes UK Digital Media Manager Amanda Neylon,.

"Our presence on the social networking sites has also helped us to reach new audiences and engage in dialogue with our supporters. We are actively listening to what people tell and ask us, providing answers to their questions and acting on feedback.

"More than ever, people from different regions can share experiences and ideas online and we have dedicated moderators making sure our online communities are a safe and friendly place for all", said Amanda.

Dispelling the myth that social media is purely for the young, the charity's Facebook page recently saw Granddad James Walsh become its 6000th fan, after wanting to find out more about his 11-year-old granddaughter's condition. The charity's Facebook web page regularly sees 100 new fans join each week.

Diabetes UK's Myspace (www.myspace.com/diabetesukmylife) and Bebo (www.bebo.com/mylifediabetesuk) sites are aimed more at young people living with diabetes, tying in with the charity's My life sites, and a team of young people regularly blogging about their lives.

The charity's Twitter news feed (www.twitter.com/diabetesuk) is gaining on average around five new followers a day, its Flickr shared photo pages (www.flickr.com/photos/diabetesukcharity) are filling up and there are over 40 videos from Diabetes UK, its members, supporters, fundraisers, and other stakeholders on its YouTube page - www.youtube.com/user/diabetesukcharity.

The charity is inviting users to take a video tour of its virtual headquarters in Second Life before signing up and creating a virtual self or 'avatar'. To take the tour visit www.diabetes.org.uk/SecondLifex/secondlife.htm

Diabetes UK supporting members now also have their own online community where they can share stories, photos, read blogs, comment on the charity's work, get the latest research news and more.

Find out about the charity's blogs and visit the diabetes forum site it supports: www.diabetessupport.co.uk 

To find out more about Diabetes UK's presence on Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr as well as its virtual headquarters in Second Life visit www.diabetes.org.uk/onlinecommunities

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