Diabetes UK has just reached the 1,000 follower mark on Twitter, the social networking and micro-blogging site that allows its users to send and receive each other’s updates, or 'tweets'.
The charity, present on Twitter since October 2008, is finding that the service is proving to be an invaluable way of communicating directly with people with diabetes and of raising the awareness of the condition and its complications.
A mix of news and informal tweets
Initially, the charity used Twitter as a method of sharing Diabetes UK news releases, but recently took a more hands-on approach and in addition to regular news updates, now posts more informal tweets on a daily basis.
The topics discussed can vary – from posting links to interesting diabetes or health articles, to alerting people about upcoming events and activities.
Listening and answering questions
An equally important aspect of Twitter is the opportunity for Diabetes UK to listen to what people with the condition and their families are saying about their diabetes and the issues they face. People can also post questions on Twitter which the charity will then answer.
Diabetes UK’s followers range from supporters in the UK, to other charities who are keen to share information and help promote common objectives, or simply people who have an interest in its work. Followers come from all over the world and are of a variety of ages, allowing for a real mix of opinions and perspectives to be voiced.
“We are delighted that our presence on Twitter has proved so successful," explained Amanda Neylon, Diabetes UK's Digital Media Manager.
"It is an increasingly popular communication tool and allows us to reach and help new people and our existing supporters. Especially now that people get their information from such diverse sources.
"Used alongside our presence on other online communities such as Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Youtube, Flickr and Second Life, we are able to get our awareness, campaigning and health messages across to a wider audience – both to people in the UK as well as internationally.”
Building on this success, Diabetes UK has also recently launched a Twitter page for our young blogger with Type 1 diabetes, currently travelling the world –www.twitter.com/JoshDiabetesUK.
Diabetes UK's main Twitter page can be found atwww.twitter.com/DiabetesUK.
More about Twitter
Twitter was developed in 2006 and now has millions of users worldwide. In the UK it has also become popular with celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross, and Diabetes UK supporters Philip Schofield and Rosemary Conley, who all use Twitter to communicate with their fans.