Farewell, #OzDOC.

When I first dipped my toes into Twitter three years ago, the Oz Diabetes Online Community was one of the first places where I found peer support online.

I very much looked forward to Tuesday night Twitter chats, where participants would come together and answer structured questions about diabetes in a very supportive and engaging environment.

Inbetween chats, it was not uncommon to put a random diabetes question out there with the hashtag OzDOC and have it answered. OzDOC gave me the opportunity to network with other people with diabetes here in Australia, something I did not have in my own life at the time.

Over the past five and a half years, OzDOC has been largely led by co-founder and operator Kim. She has been the one responsible for making sure the moderator’s throne is occupied each week, and that there is a topic and questions ready to go.

Kim does a stellar job in welcoming participants to the chat, steering the conversation, and most importantly supporting and encouraging participants as they share candid insights about living with diabetes. To this day, chats just don’t feel the same when she is not in the moderator’s seat!

More recently, I stepped up and formed part of a moderator’s group of seven. Together we brainstormed topic ideas and took turns in moderating weekly chats. We’ve also seen healthcare professionals engage in our weekly chats, valuing the insights that I can only imagine would be difficult to gain in a clinic setting.

Another highlight from OzDOC would surely be having the opportunity to meet some of these amazing individuals at Abbott’s Diabetes Exchange in Sydney last year.

When Kim recently announced to the group her intention to step away from OzDOC co-ordination duties, it was a decision I totally understood. Running a support group like OzDOC in one’s own time is a big commitment each week. Even with a team of moderators, Kim still shoulders a great deal of responsibility in making sure chat slots are covered, questions are suitable, social media reminder posts are scheduled, and all of the other behind the scenes administration.

Members of the moderators group were offered the opportunity to take over Kim’s co-ordination duties, however nobody felt they were in a position or capacity to lead. I felt that realistically, this was not a commitment that I would be able to make next year and that the time was right for me to move on.

The final OzDOC chat will take place Tonight at 8.30pm AEDT. Be sure to also check out the Oz Diabetes Online Community Facebook page, where Kim has been sharing a bit of a retrospective over the past couple of days.

After tonight’s final chat, the @OzDiabetesOC Twitter account will cease. Does this mark the end for OzDOC? Who knows. If members of the community would really like for it to continue, then I’m sure that they’ll find a way.

To Kim and to everyone else involved in the OzDOC community in some way or another, I just wanted to say a massive thank you. You have all made my world just that little bit smaller.