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09.07.2020 | Insight

Key influencers and topics in the online UK diabetes conversation

By Jamie Doggett

Top five HCPs in 2019 diabetes conversation

Healthcare professionals have been using social media to discuss diabetes for many years. Some are newer to the scene such as Abd Tahrani and Amar Puttanna, who joined Twitter in December 2016 and February 2017 respectively. Others have been established in the space for many years such as Partha Kar, the National Speciality Advisor for Diabetes.

During 2019, the top five most active HCPs in the UK diabetes conversation each posted over 1,000 posts. The top author, Partha Kar, posted over 3,000 times to his more than 17,000 Twitter followers gaining an average reach (total number of people who potentially see content) of almost 10,000 per post. In the UK, HCPs are very active in online conversations relating to diabetes. But even more so are the people with diabetes.

Top five patients in diabetes conversation 

People with diabetes use social media for various purposes; to share experiences, advice, ask questions and interact with healthcare professionals.

Of the top five most active patients in the social media conversation over a two-and-a-half year span (looking back to before the availability of the FreeStyle Libre), four live with type one diabetes and the other is putting his type two diabetes into remission. On the whole among patients there is a higher level of conversation relating to type one diabetes than type two. These patients have many thousands of followers and the reach of their diabetes posts (the number of people who may have seen a given post from a source) in the timeframe rose to the millions.

Top five topics in the patient diabetes conversation

Across the huge breadth of conversation, the standout topic was issues relating to diet and nutrition for a person with diabetes. Within the diet conversation, people with diabetes often discussed the effects of different nutrition types such as carbohydrates, fat and protein. Specific diets named included low carb high fat, vegan and ketogenic.

Top five topics in type one diabetes conversation

The conversations of people with type one and type two differed in the relative volume of the topics discussed.

People with type one diabetes spoke about diet more than any other topic. As they measure blood sugar and sugar intake on an ongoing basis technology and devices was also a large feature in the discussions.

Top five topics in type two diabetes conversation

While both groups talked about diet and seeing healthcare professionals, people with type two diabetes were more likely to discuss reversal, a topic which encompassed aspects of diet, lifestyle and treatment.

Methodology

  • All data appearing in charts and referenced was gathered and analysed using CREATION Pinpoint. The dataset consists of 126,246 social media posts composed between January 2017 and May 2019 by 1,025 self-identified people with diabetes in the UK.
  • The breakdown of people with diabetes was 545 with type one diabetes; 190 with type two diabetes; 285 with diabetes, type unspecified; 5 with gestational diabetes. 
  • The HCP dataset consists of 309,801 social media posts composed between January 2019 and December 2019 by 44,021 healthcare professionals globally. 

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Meet the Author

Jamie Doggett

As Associate Director of Insights, Jamie leads the Analytics and Insights Team overseeing the development of insights. He works with teams to ensure the highest standards of research outputs, client delivery, and technology development. Jamie is a country boy at heart having grown up on the sunny Isle of Wight and enjoys adventures which is reflected in a love for travel and travel literature.

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