Roche Social Media Summit Overview

When I heard about the Roche Social Media Summitlast year I was curious about the purpose. What could a pharmaceutical company possibly want with bunch of people in the diabetes online community? I was admittedly suspicious about an underlying sales pitch.

Surprisingly, throughout our time with Roche, while we did talk about their various projects within social media and collaborations with other organizations to help local communities around the world, there was not one mention of any specific Accu-chek or Roche products. Not even the Multiclix – the best lancet device ever made!
I think the easiest way to write about the Summit is to give you an overview in this post and then follow-up with some things that I specifically took away from the sessions in later posts. We all know you aren’t interested in reading a novel from me now!

After the official welcoming committee greeted our last member to arrive

we headed into one of the hotel restaurants for lunch.
Knowing that we are never short on words, the organizers thankfully gave us plenty of time to reconnect with our friends that we had met before and finally meet in person those that we had only known in the virtual world.
Scott Johnson and Christeltable talk
I tend to remember obscure facts pretty easily so it was funny to look at people and think about the posts that they had written recently or the random facts I remember about their lives (that would be totally creeper-ish in any other circumstance).
Cherise and Kelly K
After lunch, we got down to business, starting with introductions. We were told to keep them under 140 characters (gotta love Twitter!). I know that sometimes I am guilty myself of thinking about the diabetes online community as a bunch of bloggers, but we are so much bigger than that. There were podcasts, books, multiple foundations, online communities, and weekly social media conversation moderators all represented in the room as well.
Have you ever been talking to your doctor and notice him making notes in your chart and suddenly you want more than anything to know what he is writing down about you (I think there was even a Seinfeld episode about it)? Well, at least at the beginning of the afternoon that’s kinda how I felt. There was a long table in the back with Roche representatives just watching and observing our dialogues on the selected topics and with the invited guests. After a while I forget they were there, but I would still love to at some point see their notes (am I the crazy one in the back that claps at just about anything?)!
Following the introductions, Roche began a discussion to get our opinions on meter accuracy and meter regulations. It is no secret that accuracy is a hot button issue in the diabetes community. The standards that meter companies have to adhere to are ridiculous and at the very times when we need our meters most (when we are high or low) are when they are the most inaccurate.


If you could choose improved accuracy at one end of the spectrum – highs or lows – which would you pick?
truefact or fictionhmm...
Let me tell you, the room was all over the map on this one! What a hard judgment call to make! During this discussion I actually tweeted that it was like being asked if you would rather die by lethal injection or the firing squad. Lows can hurt you quickly, but those highs are doing the long-term damage. I want a meter than is going to help me be the most effective at helping me prevent both.
the edited original
After a short break…
we were joined by two different organizations to talk to them about our involvement in social media, hear about theirs, and begin the dialogue about collaboration between the two. If you were following the tweets from the day (try searching on twitter for #vaboard or #dsummit for a good recap), you know that this is really where people started to get fired up.
I had a professor in graduate school tell the class at one point something I will never forget and something that I think is difficult to remember in the heat of the moment. There are so many things in our lives that we will disagree with and that we will want to fight about, but he urged us to really pick the ‘hill’ that we were willing to die on. Not to mix metaphors, but know I can’t get into the ring on every battle and I think that if I did, I run the risk of getting so beaten down that I would quickly become less effective in every fight.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of the diabetes online community that we don’t recognize enough at this point is that fact that we have so many voices, so many perspectives, and so many issues that we are naturally passionate about that maybe we all don’t have to lead the charge into every battle. I think that if we are all yelling at once (literally or figuratively), no one can hear anything.
After a delicious dinner, we were invited to a lounge/game room that Roche had set up for us. Of all the ‘toys’ in the room, the photobooth definitely got the most use. How many pictures did you end up with Cherise?! 🙂

How many Diabetes Daily bloggers can you fit in a photobooth at the same time?!

It was a fun night that lasted until ‘last call’ which meant that for many of us, the flight out the next morning came far too early!
That may be why George and I could not figure out how to get to the rental car return until our second trip around the airport and why we were extra thankful to be assigned to the exit row on both flights (which would only have been made better if Allison could have joined us too!). By the way, can anyone tell me why, when wearing the exact same pump in the exact same way, I managed to set off the metal detector walking through security but George didn’t? I suspect secret ninja skills!
Hearing the changes made at Roche after last year’s summit, I am interested to see what this year will bring. And I am so thankful to stand together with such a great and diverse community to watch it happen!


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