Sunday, August 27, 2006

In which I once again ask for your opinion

Andrea recently wrote very eloquently (as she always does) about the awkward balancing act involved in having a blog with multiple audiences. Whenever I write, I'm aware that it's going to be read (hopefully) by people with a diverse group of interests. There's my diabetes friends - my TTC/infertility friends - my adopting friends - my queer family friends - a handful of in-real-life friends - not to mention the crazy people who have nothing easily describable in common with me but have stumbled across this blog and just like to read my writing, for some reason.

So whenever I have a few posts in a row that deal with one particular subject, be it diabetes, adoption, or politics, I worry that I'm going to lose some of the other "one issue voters."

Should I worry about this?

Do you just skip the posts that aren't relevant to you? Do you read them and maybe learn something new? Do you get bored and stop reading?

This is such a strange virtual world. I recently noticed that I seemed to have fallen off someone's blogroll, someone with whom I frequently exchange comments. Has she gotten sick of me? Was it an accident? Should I say something?

I'm pondering all this because I have another question I'd like to throw out to the diabetes community and yet I feel like lately I've been very diabetes focused here and I don't want my other blog-friends to dump me because I haven't had much to say related to queer-family-building of late. I promise there's news coming down the pike... That said:

Have you ever had to tell someone that they were diabetic? Maybe tested a friend's blood sugar, or a friend of a friend's blood sugar, and had the meter come back with a number that made you gasp? A number that would throw off the averages on your meter for weeks to come?

It's funny, because I used to fantasize about this when I was a kid. I would imagine testing my best friend's blood sugar, and finding out that she was diabetic too. Then not only would I have saved her life, but we would be best buddies who would take our shots together and understand each other more than ever.

Today, it happened. With someone I don't yet know well, but hope to have an ongoing friendship with. The significant other of a very good friend. And I didn't know what to say, what to do. We came up with reasons why the number might be wrong. Sugary fingers. Recently ate. Forgot to take his "pre-diabetic" pill. He didn't want to test again, and respecting the boundaries of my relationship with him, I didn't push it, just urged him to get to a doctor soon. Very soon. Possibly tomorrow. Could I should I have done more?

ETA: After consulting with some people who are actual medical professionals and don't just play one on the internet, my friend and his SO went to the ER last night and will go to a doctor to get on top of things today or tomorrow. I feel a little obligated, especially since said friend reads this blog (Hi honey! Love you both!) to step in and defend his sweetie from the stereotype of the neglectful T2 diabetic. which I hear peeking up a bit in the comments. Without having more of the details than I felt comfortable posting, I can totally understand why people went there. But while this was definitely a wake up call for him, in his defense, he had not aggressively been hitting snooze for the past ten years...

And P.S. - I still don't think insulin smells like band aids. Rubbing alcohol crossed with sweaty metal subway hand smell is the best I can come up with.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Beanie Baby said...

Oh man, I hate that (the audience thing). I have no answers for you. I hope someone else does, because then I'll steal it.

I don't think you could have done more. Advising him to get his ass to a doctor is about the best you could do, I think--I mean, unless you have secret marshall arts skills and could have tied him down and dragged him to see someone? But I'm guessing not.

Is it something you can also impress on his partner? "Look, I don't want to be alarmist, but that number was really high and I hope he goes to see someone, if only to let me sleep at night."

And I used to have that same fantasy--only it was usually a boy, not a girlfriend.

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I really hate worrying about my audience, but I know what you mean. As soon as I stopped teaching and had a baby I was dumped from several blogrolls. It hurt, but I also don't want anyone reading me out of pity or being bored so I guess people just have to do what they want to do. I write about what I want to write about and hope that people enjoy it.

Personally, I'm one of those people who just read you because I like your writing. Also, my sister is diabetic but she doesn't take care of it at all so it is interesting for me to read about that.

I've been around the blogworld a long time and I've found that the people who write for themselves can keep and hold an audience long term better than those who write specifically for their audeince.

Anyway, as for the friend, I think you did what you could. Maybe, like beanie baby says, you can talk to his partner or give his partner some pamphlets about it. You can't force anyone to take actions they don't want to take even if it will save their lives.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Minnesota Nice said...

I read several blogs targeted to different audiences and always learn something new. We are all humans with overlapping things in common - I have a beautiful adopted niece (who I will be doing a future post about) and also had a gay brother (who died of AIDS 12 years ago.)
I really like what Carrie said about people "who write for themselves"....
If we find things boring or uninteresting, we can move on with one click, right?
That was a good idea you left on my blog about the kettlecorn - I think I'll do that at the Renn. Fest.
Have a great week ahead.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Kristen D. said...

Art, I'm one of those readers that stumbled across your blog via reading comments that you wrote on someone else's blog I follow (can't remember whom now). And besides the liberal connection, we don't have a lot in common (although I do have a number of gay and lesbian friends who are in the family-raising/family-planning way). What attracted me to your blog, and thus earned you a spot on my blogroll, is that you're a damn good writer. And I will always read and support the work of damn good writers, regardless of whether I have anything in common with them or not. And I read every entry, regardless of whether I can identify with it or not. I think that it keeps my mind open to experiences and feelings that others are going through.

I don't think that there's anything more you could have done for your friend. You alerted him to the possibility that something could be wrong, advised him to see a doctor, but ultimately this will be up to him. I hope that he follows your advice.

Keep up your brilliant writing (I'll keep reading!). Looking forward to the entry in which you and Pili bring your first child home!

11:44 AM  
Blogger J said...

I like the way you write! Though I wonder about that too. Will people still read me if I'm not ttc for a while? I dunno.

Learning more about diabetes has been a plus for me when reading your blog. I'm a "pre-diabetic," and....information is good.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous jenny said...

I try not to worry about audience, but it happens. The two things I worry most about are that I whine way to much, and sometimes about the real life friends who read my blog who find out there about what is going on. It is funny, but I'm much more into random self-disclosure online and sometimes I think to myself: Do I really want to look someone in the eye tomorrow who read this post? Then I erase it.

I like your writing. We have some things in common but I think I might read it anyway. I'd have you on my blogroll but I am to cheap to pay for an account at LJ and so can only have 10 links...

12:02 PM  
Blogger Cat, Galloping said...

i kind of skim the diabetes ones, to be honest, because i'm most excited about your kid-related posts, but i won't stop reading if you do a bunch of diabetes posts in a row or anything.

i think you did everything you could with your friend. maybe ask him again next week if he called the dr. and of not just say once, and only once, i'd really hate myself if i didn't express my concerns and something bad happened. i just had to do that with a friend who told me she is not limiting her exercise despite placenta previa. she may ignore me, but i did what i could.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Lo said...

I'm one of the folks who learns something new (from the diabetes posts). Really, we're all multi-faceted people, and I enjoy blogs like yours that dip into various aspects of life.

I'm curious (and this falls into the learning-something-new category): why was someone who is not a diabetic testing his blood sugar?

1:55 PM  
Blogger Co said...

Write about whatever matters to you at the moment. I'll keep reading. And if I have nothing to contribute, I won't contribute but I'll read anyway.

As for the friend, all you can do is encourage him to see a doctor. You did the right thing in doing so. The rest is up to him.

2:07 PM  
Blogger MAMB said...

It's your blog, write for you not your audience. I skim posts that interest me less but still check in.

As for your friend, there is nothing you can do. If he is on a pre-diabetic pill then he sees a doctor regularly enough to get his Rx. That doctor will be taking blood and urine at his next appt and will notice if his A1C is in a scary place. Diabetes is a scary thing and your friend may not appreciate you forcing him to deal with it. If it comes from him or his doctor then you are in a position to simply support him rather than being the barer of bad news.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous bri said...

I have to say that I honestly don't worry about the whole audience thing. I maybe don't have quite as many constituencies as you do - just real life friends (work and other) and then the ttc/baby-seekers. Once in a while it crosses my mind that some of my real life friends probably don't care so much about something or may actively wish that they hadn't read something about me, but it doesn't change what I write. If someone wants to read it, great. If they don't, they should go away. I also try very hard not to worry about blogrolls, but I do try to put people on who have me on. Sometimes I think about dropping that rule, though - it isn't truly representative of my favorite ones to read and some just don't update enough. I have frequently considered dropping people from my blogroll if they don't update more than once every other week or so. I prefer the frequent writers.

Anyway, there's no real point to this. Obviously we all worry about different things and you have more of an eye for bloggish etiquette and social mores than I do. So I am not sure what to say.

And really not sure what to say about that whole friend thing. I would think you did your part and that's about all you can do.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

I've always felt that it's important to write about whatever you feel like writing about - don't worry about the audience too much.

I check in regularly, and enjoy reading your writing - whatever it is about. While the diabetes topics originally brought me to your blog, I still read the other topics too.

I think you've done what you can for your friends friend. Other than to be available for questions and stuff, you can't MAKE him take care of himself.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Gandksmom said...

I read you because I like you and am interested in everything you have to say. I haven't read you recently because I have been insanely busy. I also realized that you aren't added to my blog role. I will get to that! So, to answer your question...I read you no matter what. BTW - Check my blood sugar next time I see you OK?

7:49 PM  
Blogger Blondie said...

Ok, I had to check my blogroll to make sure you were still listed, because I would hate to think that I was avoiding you!

As for the audience, I think I'm probably close to your perfect audience makeup. I'm diabetic, gay, formerly part of a ttc couple, and trying to have a child via "alternate" means. I've never met you IRL, but I think this is as close as you're going to get. Even if you don't see me post, I'm reading every word.

As for your friend, you can talk to him, you can talk to his SO, but until he's ready to face things about being diabetic, he won't get the help he needs. Just offer your support, and offer support to the SO. One thing that finally worke for me was T telling me "Listen, I want to have a child with you, and I want us to both be around for this child for a very long time. If you don't take care of yourself, you're not only going to let me down, you'll let our child down."

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Liza said...

I like the way you write. And I've learned from your writing for your "other audiences," the diabetes audience in particular.

Some of those posts, I have to skim. I have a needle phobia and don't want to faint at my computer. But that's not a big deal, scroll down works just fine. :)

9:59 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

well i read everything because i'm OCD like that and I like learning about new things

10:21 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

I just had to quickly check my blogroll to make sure I did not delete you by accident!

Re the blog roll drop, yes say something,if you are really friendly with the person, just make it witty and light!

I'm not bored with your "off my topic" posts, but occasionally skip around. I think it is interesting and HEALTHY, for fucks sake, to blog about more than one thing.

Oh and about the guys health, I think you did the right thing. He wouldn't necessarily go to a doc even if you said he was about to drop dead. People like to be in denial.

1:51 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

I read you because you are my favorite lesbian in the whole wide world!!

Though in all seriousness (not that I wasn't serious about you being my favorite lesbian and all), I read most of your entries... I skim when I don't have a lot of time, but mostly I read them all. Especially the diabetes ones, but the infertility and adoption ones are interesting because I don't know anything about it so it's educational for me in case I ever have to go through something like that.

2:26 AM  
Blogger Kerri. said...

Art-Sweet,

Re: Having to kind of self-diagnose one of my friends is something that has actually happened to me recently. One of my dearest friends in the entire world struggles with a weight problem and we were talking about diabetes and weight and the chaos in between. She asked if I would test her bloodsugar and her leve came in at 140 mg/dl. She was scared and, frankly, I was, too. Since she is one of my best friends, though, and since she lives with my diabetes every day, too, it was easier to be forceful in telling her "You need to get to a doctor asap."

She followed my advice, and has since been diagnosed with a thyroid and pre-diabetes. By working diligently to change her diet, her exercise program, and taking thyroid medication, her A1c has dropped from 7.2 to 5.5%.

Education, followed by action, is Key.

Also, re: the diverse audience of a blog, I admit that I read mostly diabetes blogs. I can't help myself - it's like my support group. But I do read a number of non-D related sites. I have a whole second blogroll devoted to those excursions.

However, when you or anyone else writes about anything non-D related, I read it just as hungrily as I do the D-Entries. I am not reading your blog, or anyone elses, just because of the diabetes common bond. That may be why I found you in the first place, but it's not why I stay. I care about you and everything that is going on in your life, not just a low bloodsugar.

So yes, diabetes is why I came here. But you, Art-Sweet, are why I stay.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Flmgodog said...

Art-Sweet,
I throughly enjoy reading all of your posts d, TTC/adoption or any other topic you chose to bog about. I certainly learn things that I otherwise may not have known. We share a few things in common but mostly I enjoy just reading what you have to say.

In regards to your friend's SO, I think you did the right thing and I am right there with you. I would worry about that person and personally I would be calling to see if they were OK (maybe probing for info). It makes me nervous when people ask me to check their BG and it turns up higher than it should, it makes me feel like I have found out their "secret". Weird I know.

Keep blogging and doing your thing, don't pay attention to your audience, blog about "you".

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Pronoia said...

I fit into your queer-family-building audience, but really, I like reading people who are interesting, so I read everything you write!

11:22 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Write for yourself! If you try to please any particular audience the fun will go out of it. Having said that, I know you have to be aware of your audience and respect them, lest you be burnt to a crisp. That's not fun either. The only way to write exactly what you want to write at any given moment is to do it offline. But what fun is that? I, for one, am totally addicted to voyueristic journalling.

I think you strike a great balance between venting and interacting with your readers. When I read blogs I want to know more about people, not issues. How people respond to issues is part of knowing about people.

OTOH, if you want to sort your posts for issues-oriented readers, categories are great. I really like that feature. Blogger has not picked up on it, that I know of. If you ever decide to switch blogging venues, Blogger posts are easy to move en masse to most systems. The hard part is getting them all categorized and fixing your links.

I really think your blog rocks, regardless. If it is working for you, just don't fix it!

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Art-Sweet, I read it all. I have thought about what attracts me to a person's blog and if that would translate into real life. If we were working together would we become friends? There must be some kind of crossover connection.
I have been reading blogs (do not keep one)for about a year and got into them from adoption forums. I have 2 adopted foster souls.
My blog roll is a myraid of people from all over the world and I feel like it expands my frame of reference expediently. Maybe I'm delusional.
You amuse me, I think we would be friends. Peace girly, AKM

11:44 AM  
Blogger Estelle said...

Write what you want to write. It's your blog, not ours!
I read a few times a week... I try to break up my blog reading into every other day or so per blog because I have gotten addicted to so many, and checking them all every day would kill me!
I skim super long posts, and sometimes skip them, sure. But I am not here just because you're a lesbian baby seeker. I enjoy what you write, so I stick around.
I wonder sometimes who reads my blog and why. Especially when there are about a dozen regular commenters that I know, and then sometimes I will post something and get 50 comments and wonder who the hell these people are!
About your friend- You did the right thing, and I am glad that he got to the doctor! My best friend's partner (not live in, long story, and opposite sex also) is diabetic and does NOT control it. He swings from the fifties into 300 regularly. He gets vision problems, shakes, sweats... he's lost over fifty pounds in 6 months, he doesn't take his insulin because he is afraid of getting addicted. No matter how many times we tell him he IS addicted to insulin (as are we all) and therefore NEEDS it, he doesn't listen. It's putting a huge strain on their relationship because she's watching him self destruct...

12:31 PM  
Blogger stella said...

Hi Art-Sweet,

I'm a diabetic who also battled infertility, so I'm in two of your target audiences.

I read lots of blogs for many different reasons. Mostly I like to cheer people on, even if silently. So I read a variety of blogs covering all of my "issues": diabetes, infertility, divorce, mental illness, etc.

I say write about what makes you you and the readers will follow.

-Stella

1:37 PM  
Blogger George said...

I feel like all of the writers of the blogs I read are my friends. I am always interested in what is going on with my friends! Write on!

I also had a friend who wanted to check her BG for fun. (FUN?)
Anyhow, it was 130! I was a little weirded out but I told her, you may want to just go check it out.

I have not heard what happened.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Calliope said...

well I just like you & would read your blog even if you posted pages from your local phone book.
(assuming clever banter was involved)

6:52 PM  
Anonymous mominprogress said...

Well let me first say that I'm definately not sick of you and don't think I will be. I'm straight, have kids and am not diabetic and still check your blog on just about a daily basis. Don't worry I'm not stalking you :) LOL Just wanted to let you know that there are complete strangers out there who DO care about your story and you.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I started reading it for the diabetes, kept reading it because you are a great writer. While the diabetes stuff is what pertains most to me, I read all the posts and have been learning a lot about TTC and have been quite interested in your experiences.

I don't think I am the person you meant, but I recently did some editting on my blogroll. I checked my list tonight and realized you weren't on it, so I since added you.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Violet said...

Art, I love your writing. I'd read your posts if you wrote about doing the laundry. For me as a PWD, the non-D posts are no less interesting & have given me a chance to broaden my knowledge of

I had the experience of discovering via my meter that my ex, Mr. Brooklyn, was probably prediabetic. We did a number of fasting tests over several mornings, and they were all in the pre-D range. (One was even in the D range.) He has type 2 on both sides of his family & other risk factors (lifestyle). His dad died of type 2 complications.

The difficulty that ensued: he didn't have health insurance then, still does not, plus he has an enormous & complex anxiety disorder around all things medical. These facts combined to give him incentive & excuses to never deal with the problem despite the enormous risks involved. I had to let go of it, name it for what it was (his issue), and try to let him run his own life.

Blah blah blah. Anyhow, my thinking is that you did exactly the right thing with your friend. Provide information and emotional support, then let go. That's all a friend can do with other grownups, imho, out of respect for their grownupness.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Violet said...

...the unfinished sentence was supposed to end with something I hoped would be witty and likeable such as "adoption and Subarus." But I forgot to finish it, so now it just sounds dumb.

10:23 AM  

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