A Founder’s Lament
I don’t like the flavor of the conversation anymore. And I haven’t for a while. It tastes more bitter than sweet. I see battle lines being drawn between fighters who’re on the same side. I fear civil war that we can ill-afford.
I’m talking about the growing divide between those of us branded as “leading bloggers” and the rest of the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). A divide between those few of us who always seem to be in the headlines, and at conferences; and the many, many more who don’t get the same opportunities.
Let me be clear: I don’t personally view myself as a leading blogger at all. I just see myself as one of the Founders of the DOC. And I’m not a Founder because I’m a brilliant fucking visionary, but simply because I was at the right place at the right time in the flow of history. Nothing more.
But as time has passed, this accidental status has taken on some power. By being a Founder, I find that people look to me for leadership, and that my opinions and actions carry some degree of weight.
And it’s my opinion now that we must not create “cliques.” Or even the appearance of cliques. We must not allow any part of our movement to become some sort of elite; or be viewed that way from either within or from without. I hear bitter rumblings…it’s always the same few bloggers at these DOC events. Division is poison. The DOC is huge, and we Founders cannot and must not speak for our population forever.
I propose that we need term limits. I’ve served three terms at Roche Social Media Summits. I think that’s enough. It’s time for me to step aside and let other voices be heard. As a Founder, I think it’s my responsibility to set an example with my actions. So I’m giving up my seat. I have un-RSVP’d to Roche, and have asked them to please extend my invitation to someone else.
I suggested a blogger I really don’t know very well, and have never met before. A person who is very much not me, but who is an awesome writer with a passion for helping others. Someone who I think is deserving of a seat at the table as much, or perhaps even more, than I am.
This was no easy thing for me to do. Stepping aside means missing out on fun, fame, and family. It means a high risk of diluting what influence I have, and have worked hard to earn. It’s perhaps taking away my own microphone when I’m facing the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken to. It might even be career-a-cide for me as an advocate with any influence.
But, it is right thing to do.
I can’t say if any other the other Founders will join me. I hope so. But by giving up my seat, at least one fresh voice will added to the “high profile” chorus. Hopefully that turns down the volume of the dissent among the noisy jealous that see the Founders of the DOC as spoiled ambassadors who are only out for ourselves rather than speaking for the community.
And…. incredibly selfishly… I hope my choice doesn’t move my voice into the shadows. The outfield. The back-forty; where it becomes heard no more.
But for the right thing—for the greater good of the DOC—that’s a risk I decided to take.