In the past couple of days it has become clear that there are significant and serious concerns about the GBDOC, relating to questions about the financial and business affairs of the founder of the formalised community. This comes on top of unease about the crowdfunding appeal for the third PWD conference in August and unhappiness with some comments used by him on social media.
The gentleman concerned still has the opportunity to respond if he wishes to do so, and if he does, we should all look at what he says with an open mind. I am not alone in knowing little of the detail surrounding this situation, but it is clear that a large number of users of the online community have lost faith in its founder and de facto leader, and he has as yet failed to respond to concerns widely raised.
I write as a very committed participant in the community over the past four years or so, but I am well aware of others whose use of social media for peer support long predates mine, and indeed the existence of the GBDOC. I have no authority other than relative seniority of age and length of association, but I have been party to, indeed have instituted, much discussion on Twitter over the past 24 hours about the future of GBDOC.
I have been encouraged but not at all surprised by the depth of feeling and good sense that has been so apparent. It is clear that I am far from alone in my love for the community, and I am keen to play my part.
May I above all suggest that we be very wary of quick decisions and hasty judgements?
The community clearly has a life of its own regardless of any “owner” or social media account and of course hashtags belong to everyone and no one. As such the online community will flourish and prosper, but like any community it needs some sense of direction and a degree of centralisation or else it will fragment.
I hope that we can allow the tweetchats to happen more or less normally for the next two weeks. I understand that Ros (@Type1Adventures) and Bri (@type1Bri) had agreed to host the next two weeks and that should go ahead as planned. Ros and Bri are active, supportive stalwarts of the GBDOC who have both done great things for pwd in their local areas as well as online. I cannot think of better hosts.
They have both said that they will host under their own accounts using the #GBDOC hashtag, and having acknowledged the issues at the start of the hour, I think we should all chat as normal, if interested in the topics.
We could then, perhaps, have a separate chat about what to do next. The hashtag has been much discussed already, as has the idea of shared/rolling hosting, charity involvement etc. A poll might be worthwhile, but surely not until we've all had time to think.
The GBDOC is very precious to me, as I have said many times. It need not be complicated, controversial or divisive. It has flourished (unlike, for example, its French counterpart) because a lot of us talked about stuff other than diabetes and as a result became above all a group of friends. I have made some wonderful friends through this community – we just happen to have a medical condition in common. I hope it will stay that way.
Thank you all for your thoughts on this matter; please respond with your honest and considered thoughts if you wish to do so, but take your time.