Ever wonder how we come up with a Question of the Day to ask our Online Community every single day?

Well, hi! My name is Sarah, and I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in May 2013, right after my 20th birthday. After graduating from college, I moved from Ohio to NYC to work in T1D research during the day while pursuing a comedy career at night. I joined T1D Exchange last September and have been thrilled to continue working toward a better world for the T1D community!

One piece of what I do at T1D Exchange is writing each Question of the Day. I get a lot of help, but it’s harder than it looks to write a new question every single day!

For background, T1D Exchange has been asking Questions of the Day for a decade. When we moved our online community from Glu to T1DExchange.org last year, the Question of the Day was a feature that we wanted to ensure stuck around. Over the past several months, we’ve continued adding some of the popular features from Glu, like the ability to “like” each other’s comments, respond to each other directly, and view all previous questions.

So, where do the Questions of the Day come from?

T1D Exchange Staff

We’re a small non-profit, but about one-third of the employees at T1D Exchange have T1D. Several of my colleagues with T1D contribute questions because they want to see how other people handle different situations, or they want to confirm that they’re not the only person who deals with a certain obstacle.

Many Questions of the Day are suggested by my colleagues at T1D Exchange. Every month, I have a brainstorming session with several people from T1D Exchange, including researchers, senior staff and people with T1D.

Members of the T1D Exchange research team often suggest questions to gauge if an issue is prevalent throughout the T1D community and if it is a topic that should be researched further. They may be curious about how blood glucose levels are impacted by different factors, or how people with T1D think about their diabetes.

My T1D Experience

Sometimes Questions of the Day come from my personal experiences with T1D, or in some cases, my lack of experience with T1D. I have only lived with T1D for eight years, and although it feels like a long time to me, there is still so much that I’m learning. Combined, this community has thousands of years of experience with T1D! So, when I find myself wondering how people with T1D handle a situation, I write a question about it.

I also write questions based on comments that left in response to other questions. Sometimes people will ask follow-up questions in the comments, and I try to work those into a future Question of the Day if possible.

Writing these questions can be difficult. After all, I am just a human and have only experienced T1D from my perspective. When writing, I do my best to consider the questions from as many other angles as I can, but there will always be aspects of other folks’ experiences that I don’t know. It’s a challenge, but it inspires me to learn something new from every Question of the Day.

Popular Topics in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) and Social Media

This is another area that inspires many Questions of the Day. I often see posts on social media from people with T1D sharing experiences from their daily lives, both good and bad. The comments sections are often filled with other people with T1D saying, “Yes! I thought I was the only one who felt this way!”

One of my favorite things is when someone responds to a Question of the Day with a “Yes! I thought I was the only one who felt this way!” The DOC (including social media) allows people to feel seen. The DOC might be someone’s only opportunity to connect with other people with T1D – especially during a pandemic. So, when I see a topic really resonating with a group of people online, I write a Question of the Day inspired by that topic.

Repeated Questions

Sometimes we repeat questions from the past to see how the community changes over time. Our Online Community is always growing and the world is constantly changing, so it can be interesting to see how responses differ over time.

T1D Researchers

In addition to the researchers at T1D Exchange, sometimes Questions of the Day are inspired by outside researchers who want to determine if a topic is something they want to explore with a bigger research study.

Not only is the Question of the Day a way for people to share information with each other, but it also paints a picture of where the T1D community stands on different topics and issues related to life with T1D. It can help the research community prioritize the work we do.

Others may want to gauge how they can better serve the T1D community. What are the gaps for people that need to be filled? What resources do people with T1D need? Some questions are asked in an effort to understand where people with T1D need more support.

T1D Industry

At T1D Exchange, we talk a lot about the importance of “sharing your voice” – meaning to use your experience to advocate for the changes you want to see.

Sometimes Questions of the Day come from T1D industry companies who want to know how people with T1D feel about their product, what improvements they could make, or what they should focus on in the future. When these companies come to T1D Exchange and ask to sponsor a Question of the Day, they want our honest opinions. We can influence their decisions by giving honest feedback in response to their question.

For example, if a company asks about the features of an insulin pump, it’s because they want their next product to be something that’s going to actually benefit people in the real world. They’re asking because they want their decisions to be guided by the opinions of real people living with T1D, not a team of executives in a board room.

Important note on this topic: Your information is never shared with these companies. The only information they receive from our Questions of the Day are the percentage of people who selected each response option, the number of people who responded, and any relevant comments (without any names attached). Anything we share with external companies is publicly available on the site.

To close, I want to reiterate that when you answer the Question of the Day, you are having a real impact. Whether you leave a detailed comment or click your answer and go, your responses can influence research, teach people things they never knew about T1D, and help others feel like they’re not alone. As a fellow member of this community, I am so grateful for all that you share.