When our daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the age of 17, our family was plunged into an unfamiliar and frightening world. Suddenly, we were learning about blood sugars, insulin-to-carbohydrate impact and hypoglycemia. Hardest of all was to watch her come to terms with having a life-threatening disease. To manage her diabetes, my daughter must measure her blood sugar levels throughout the day by pricking her finger and using a glucometer to test the resulting blood drop. Then she needs to calculate the amount of insulin she needs, based on her activity and carbohydrate intake, and inject herself with insulin four times a day. Sometimes, her blood sugar levels fall too low, putting her at risk of insulin shock, which can be fatal if not treated quickly. Of course, our family isn’t alone with this struggle. It’s estimated that more than 300,000 Canadians have T1D and, around the world, the number of children under 14 with T1D is growing by 3% each year. No one knows what causes T1D and, as yet, there is no cure. But thanks to a supercomputer named Watson, research into TD1 has taken a giant step towards the day when we may be able to predict and even prevent TD1.
In 2005, Thomas L. Friedman wrote the best-seller The World is Flat. The book describes the world as a level playing field in terms of commerce, wherein all competitors have an equal opportunity. The book’s title is also an appropriate metaphor for the way many forward-thinking organizations are starting to view internal social media. More and more, we are seeing examples of how social media is being used to break down the silos of communication within an organization and level the playing field for everyone, from executive assistants to CEOs. Social media is opening the flood gates to free-form conversations about everything from business strategy to personal development to social advocacy. If social media is indeed the new world order for effective organizational communications, then, like Friedman’s book, that world looks increasingly flat.