top of page

Rochelle Featherstone: Creating Type 1 Content on TikTok

Below is a blog by the amazing Rochelle. Rochelle has a big social media following, specifically on TikTok, where she currently has 15.2k followers on her page @rochellefeatherstone. She revolves her content around living with Type 1 Diabetes, and this is where I first came across her. Rochelle had made a video about being a part of a project named ‘Together Type 1’, which is a Diabetes UK youth project that I am also a part of (although in a different location of the UK!). Through that video, I made contact with her and we quickly realised that we would both be in attendance at the UK wide Together Type 1 meetup, where we met! Watch Rochelle’s TikTok about that day here - https://www.tiktok.com/@rochellefeatherstone/video/7284959101585591584?lang=en


Rochelle is great, and killing the social media game. Read on to learn more about her journey with type 1 diabetes, and how she utilises social media as an advocacy and awareness raising tool. Following on from this and how this led to her creating a resource for individuals living with Type 1 Diabetes named ‘My Diabetic Brain’!


Until next time,

Alyssa x


Hello, my name is Rochelle Featherstone and I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes for over 20 years now. My current Diabetes management includes Freestyle Libre 2 for glucose monitoring and NovoPen injections for my insulin (Fiasp/Tresiba) management. Today I would like to talk to you about my own experiences of creating Type 1 Diabetes content for social media. The highs, the lows, the lessons I have learnt, and what I would recommend for anyone starting their own social media journey. 


Starting my Tiktok Journey


I wish I had a more inspiring story on how I started creating Type 1 Diabetes content (TikTok @rochellefeatherstone), but I fell into it by accident. It’s no secret I have always been active on social media, and when this new and upcoming app (TikTok) started circulating during Covid-19 lockdown, of course I was straight on it. At the beginning of my social media journey, I wasn’t as open about my Type 1 Diabetes as I am now. When I first started my TikTok, I was focused more on lifestyle, recipes, events and voiceovers. Unfortunately for a long time I felt I needed to hide my Type 1 Diabetes, and that no one would be interested in hearing my story. It’s the most vulnerable part of who I am, and exposing that for all to see on the internet was intimidating. One day I mentioned in a video that I had Type 1 Diabetes, and a user asked me a question about my management in which I replied with a video, and let’s just say the rest is history.


My videos then snowballed and completely changed direction to be T1D focused. I had no idea When I was first starting out how many people my videos would reach, how many T1Ds are on TikTok actively seeking out T1D content, the friends I would make and the people I would be able to help. I have observed a change in content from first downloading TikTok in 2020, and it being majority entertainment focused, to what it is now, whether that be BookTok, health orientated, fitness focused and overall socially and environmentally aware. Witnessing this shift in content has had such a huge impact on the direction of my content. TikTok has adapted and therefore so has its content creators. 


Social media commonly is demonised. I have had the conversation time and time again, the classic: ‘young people just need to get outside and get off their phones’. This argument is outdated and counterproductive. Surely young people being interested in health related content, advocating for more awareness and learning about health conditions is productive? Social media can and is pivotal in a lot of individuals' health journey’s. Personally I have learnt more about Type 1 Diabetes through social media than I have in the last 20 years of Doctor led appointments. And that’s not anything against the care the NHS provides, but we have a sea of information, online campaigns and websites, such as Diabetes UK, at our fingertips.


My content has and will continue to be backed by evidence based research, studies and factual information. I try to bring as many visual aids (videos, infographics, diagrams, article clips etc) as I can into my content. As Type 1 Diabetics we know this world like the back of our hand, my content is not just to educate Type 1 Diabetics. It’s to reach far and wide and expose those who are not familiar with Type 1 Diabetes to our daily challenges and obstacles we face, and having visual aids and factual information is the backbone of making impactful and safe content. 


Social media creates communities (e.g. #GBDoc on Twitter), connects like-minded individuals who do actually get what you’re going through, shares valuable information and brings together voices to advocate for change. But most importantly, it makes you feel less alone. Living with a 24/7 autoimmune condition such as Type 1 Diabetes can be frustrating, lonely and isolating. I have never met a more supportive group of individuals than that of the Type 1 community. The Type 1 community on social media breaks stigma, provides insight and educates those whose lives have never been impacted by Type 1 Diabetes. You will always belong in the Type 1 community no matter how long you’ve been diagnosed, if you have a child with Type 1 or you’ve lost someone due to Type 1 Diabetes. 


Lessons and Challenges


This brings us nicely onto the lessons I have learnt and the challenges I have faced when creating Type 1 Diabetes content. Social media is great, it's informative, collaborative and provides a sense of belonging. It, however, is not a well-polished present with a shiny bow on top. Honestly social media can be a brutal space, especially when you start to have to deal with the keyboard warriors. 


I once made a video showing my blood sugars and on the same video I had two separate people comment, with one saying my blood sugars were too good and I’m too strict with my control, and the other saying my blood sugars were awful and I would get complications soon. One thing you’ll immediately learn about making social media content is you will never please everyone. Make the content you love, the content you want to advocate for and the content you wish you had seen when you were younger. 


Which brings us on to the content and a valuable lesson on the type of content you are delivering. Health related content is something you need to be extremely mindful and careful with. My content will only ever speak about my personal experiences of living with Type 1 Diabetes. I am not a doctor, I do not have any qualifications to be able to give medical advice, nor do I have any right to give out medical recommendations. I often get messages asking for medical advice, or to review someone’s charts, however this is something I will not do. Liability is something you need to consider when making health related content, you do not want to be responsible for a serious medical incident because you gave out medical advice you have no right or qualification in giving. I remain mindful, factual and only ever talk about what works for my Type 1 Diabetes. 


‘My Diabetic Brain’


Interestingly, my most engaged content always tends to be around opening the curtain on what living with Type 1 Diabetes actually looks like. Mainly what my blood sugars look like through the day, T1D hacks like travelling, carb counting, and how I managed to get my A1c down. Due to the repetitive conversations with followers on how I managed to control my A1c I created a resource called ‘My Diabetic Brain’. As Type 1 Diabetics, our resources are often extremely limited, and so I created ‘My Diabetic Brain’ as a resource library for diabetics to note down, keep track and document all aspects of living with Type 1 Diabetes. This includes carb counting, care contacts, A1c tracker, ratios and doses, meal planners and mental health sheets. In a world that’s as complicated as it is, I wanted to create resources that make Type 1’s lives easier in every aspect I could. 


My Diabetic Brain can be accessed via Etsy by searching My Diabetic Brain or alternatively

following this direct link: https://mydiabeticbrain.etsy.com

Directing my social media content to be Type 1 focused is one of the best things I have ever done. I haven’t always had people believe in me when it comes to my social media journey, but that’s never been important, I believed in myself from the very beginning. If you need someone to believe in you and your Type 1 content creator journey then you have me. Start wherever you feel comfortable, this could be a day in the life, what your management looks like or your diagnosis story. Once you start and create those first few pieces of content you will gauge what your audience is most receptive to and what you are comfortable with sharing. Even if you don’t want to make content yourself I urge you to get involved online with the Type 1 community to lean on for support and help break Type 1 stigma. 


Social media is opening the door for you, we are in the midst of a social media generational shift to health conscious, socially, environmentally aware content. There’s never been a better time to join us advocating for wider tech availability, break down Type 1 stigma and open the curtain on the reality of life with Type 1 Diabetes. Showing the world how truly relentless and incredible we are and the hidden daily battles we face. 


I look forward to seeing you on my FYP very soon! – Rochelle


51 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page