So I seem to have finally Tweeted something controversial.
While that was not my intent, the following Tweet caught the attention of @iam_spartacus, who reached out to me both via this blog and Twitter. (Correction: My Tweet initially caught the attention of @CALpumper. She reached out via this blog and then posted on hers. @iam_spartacus alerted me to the discussion via Twitter.)
What I thought was a simple Tweet led to this blog post: http://randomlycapitalized.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/welcome-to-the-dmob-lifestyle/
Given the level of anger and frustration directed toward me on her blog, I shared the following response there.
Hi. I am the Tweeter with whom you are angry. And I thank you for reaching out.
I get the sense that my Tweet (or at least my intent) is being misunderstood. I think the heart of the anger around this Tweet was my use of the word “lifestyle.” The use of that word referred specifically to the type of magazine that Better Homes and Gardens had created — a “lifestyle magazine.”
I apologize for not making that more clear in my original post.
To further explain, I was in a grocery store and for the first time, I saw a copy of Diabetic Living magazine. Seeing that Better Homes and Gardens identified the escalation of a chronic condition as enough of a trend to create a glossy magazine, in the midst of a traditional media downturn, made me take notice.
Seeing that magazine made me mindful of the recent increase in marketing efforts specifically targeting consumers living with diabetes (late night commercials featuring cookbooks for diabetics are what first came to mind). Given that I am not living with diabetes, I can’t speak to my reaction as a consumer. However, as someone who does work in both health care and PR, it disturbed me to realize that there are enough people in the US now living with diabetes to constitute a “market segment.”
You write above that you are among the many in the nation who cannot afford a healthy lifestyle. In my opinion, it’s a sad commentary on the state of our nation that good health is considered a luxury. I wish I had an easy answer, but sadly, I am often as angry and frustrated as you.
(For the record, I do work for both a health plan and a care delivery system. However, all that I Tweet about and blog about are my own personal opinions.)
The more I think about this subject, I am curious to hear other people’s opinions. Is the rise in direct marketing to people living with diabetes a good or a bad thing? Perhaps the appearance of these types of mass market products are a positive opportunity to improve understanding of diabetes, and ideally a tool for helping those with diabetes live a more healthy lifestyle.
I just can’t seem to get beyond the concept that we (as a nation) have allowed the rate of diabetes to increase so drastically that the population living with diabetes is now viewed as a “market segment.”