How’s that for a couple of acronyms?
Here’s the yearbook photo they were having taken just before my presentation.
Do they still use printed yearbooks?
Dr. Thor Sundt, a Mayo Clinic cardiovascular surgeon, gave a great presentation about a video project our cardiac surgery division did, in which they followed a patient and his family with a video camera through their entire experience. I hope to post some excerpts from his talk in an update, but for now would invite you to check out this video he showed to illustrate the importance of careful observation.
Update: Here are some video highlights of his presentation. The video experiment is at about the 2:30 mark.
Update 2: Here’s a video from Dr. Farris Timimi that gives more background on the “One Voice” program at Mayo Clinic, and the ideas behind it.
No campaign has used the Web as effectively as Barack Obama’s has, as his record-setting fundraising totals testify. He’s the second-most popular person on Facebook, after Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. I have invited any SMUGgle with first-hand experience of the Obama on-line campaign (and who got the early-morning text message last Saturday about the Biden selection as the VP candidate) to become an Associate Professor and write a post analyzing its strengths (and whatever weaknesses they may see.) A couple of people have expressed interest, although neither has yet submitted a post. Hopefully we’ll have something fairly soon.
Meanwhile, because my political leanings are conservative and because I worked in campaigns and government on the Republican side for 14 years prior to a career change, I’m doing this post examining the McCain campaign and its use of the Web.
As of this writing, Sen. McCain trails Sen. Obama by 1,236,581 “supporters” on Facebook, although I think there has been something of an uptick in support for McCain since he named Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.
The GOP candidate recently launched a redesigned McCainSpace, which Erick at TechCrunch reviewed with a jab at the candidate’s superannuation. He also expressed bewilderment at why both McCain and Obama feel it is necessary to create their own social networks given that large social networks like Facebook and MySpace already exist.
While I generally agree with Erick’s perspective for most businesses and organizations, in this case he’s flat wrong. The campaigns of the two major party candidates for President are by definition “big enough” to create a critical mass of interest that can make a standalone social network successful.
Like the Republican “all of the above” energy policy that supports increased drilling, conservation and development of renewable alternatives, the social networking strategy for national campaigns should involve both the general purpose sites like Facebook and a proprietary site. In this way, campaigns own the data and can avoid being in a position where a decision by Mark Zuckerberg or his MySpace counterpart would limit their ability to communicate with supporters. And when you create your own site, you have the freedom to add functionality not available in the general purpose sites.
It’s not “either/or;” it’s “both/and.” I’m a McCain supporter on Facebook, but I haven’t joined McCainSpace. Other people may not want to join Facebook, but are motivated enough by the presidential campaign to want to get involved somehow. If they go to JohnMcCain.com, they may just decide to join his social network as their introduction to social networking.
Although the McCain campaign has been behind in its adoption of Web 2.0 strategies, it’s doing fairly well in more traditional Internet campaigning. For example, when I searched for Joe Biden this evening on Google, here was the result page (click to enlarge).
Note that when you click the sponsored link that has the top position on the right side, it takes you to a place where you can see this ad (embedded from YouTube below):
On the JohnMcCain.com site, as of this evening I saw this banner at the top of the page, which apparently offers different views of the site based on the user’s indication of voting intent (click the image to enlarge).
So, while the McCain campaign hasn’t attracted as big a following in the social networking sites, and hasn’t raised anything near the astronomical amounts Obama’s has through the Web and otherwise, it does appear to be closing the gap somewhat and doing some basic things right.
The polls seem to indicate that this race will be another extremely close one. It’s guaranteed to be historic, with either the first African-American president or the first woman VP.
I renew my call for someone on the other side of the aisle to provide a Social Media 302 course on the Obama campaign’s use of the Web.
Screencasting is a way of letting other people see what is on your computer screen. It lets you capture either the whole screen or a particular portion and create a movie file that you can upload to a video sharing service like YouTube or Facebook.
The benefits of a screencast are obvious, particularly for SMUG. Instead of a slideshow of a sequence of static screen shots uploaded to Slideshare.net and synched to a sound file (pretty good alliteration, huh?), we can now show and tell with full motion, so you can see exactly how to do things. Pictures are extremely helpful, but movies should make the teaching clearer and the learning easier.
For Mac OSX, Ambrosia’s Snapz Pro X is an excellent screencast software choice. It’s easy to use, and I was most pleased that it not only delivers great movies of my Mac screen, but also my Windows XP partition. You can see that example in this post on social sharing with WordPress.com. Unlike most of what you see in SMUG, Snapz Pro X isn’t free: it costs $69. But I think it’s worth it for the power it gives you.
Just to show how far you can go with this, I decided to do a demo screencast using Flip video of me addressing my fellow SMUGgles from the front porch of Old Main:
Steps involved in this were:
The point, besides having some fun showing a movie of a movie of a movie, was to show that through screencasting you can do show-and-tell training demonstrating anything on your computer screen.
Ironically, the only thing I can’t screencast using Snapz Pro X is a step-by-step introduction to using Snapz Pro X!
I still like Slideshare and will use it to some extent (particularly for the Snapz Pro X course), but I think a screencast can be a much more effective way to teach.
If you’re a Windows user, this list from Mashable has some screencast software alternatives.
As I Tweeted earlier today, I had an opportunity this morning to provide an overview of Mayo Clinic’s social media activities to another division within our department. One of the things I enjoy about doing presentations like this is that as I update previous versions I can see where we’ve made progress in the intervening time.
Coincidentally, a Mayo Clinic colleague — Nancy Jensen — who leads our Public Affairs division in Florida and also is extensively involved in cancer communications nationally, asked me to provide an overview of what Mayo is doing in social media for a discussion board on which she is a member. It’s a group of cancer communications contacts for academic medical centers. She also thought it would be good for them to get a taste of SMUG and some hands-on social media education, so I decided it’s time for another update here.
Since my last Mayo Clinic social media progress report in May (which I would encourage you to check out for background), we have three significant developments:
Nancy also mentioned that it would be good for me to discuss some things a smaller communications unit, perhaps with three or fewer members, could do. It’s easy for people to look at the resources Mayo Clinic has, and think that these tools are just for the bigger players.
Social media tools are a great democratizing force. They enable anyone to create content and distribute it worldwide (and also get feedback from users.) Kids can do this in their basements or dorm rooms; as communications professionals we certainly are capable of learning social media.
On a related note, the cost of participating in social media is extremely low. Through wordpress.com, you can get a blog with customized look and feel, mapped to a domain or subdomain of your choosing, and with the ability to deliver your podcasts, for $45 to $55 a year. A Flickr account with unlimited bandwidth and storage costs $25 a year. A Facebook page is free, and if you work for a non-profit, so is a YouTube channel. You may need to pay someone to do the blog and YouTube customization if you don’t have that in-house capability, but if you have a corporate Web site those design elements would be fairly easy to match. And you can get a Flip video camera, with tripod, for less than $200. A digital still camera also can be had for that price or less, and you already have computers capable of using these tools.
You can learn more about how to use these tools for free. That’s what Social Media University, Global is all about. You can enroll here and then go through step-by-step, hands-on courses in general social media, blogging, podcasting, Facebook and other topics. All it takes is your time.
In the end, that’s the real potential cost for social media: it takes some people and a commitment to be involved. But I would submit that these tools provide leverage for you to accomplish your other work, and that by using them you will get better results in less time. And they also provide an opportunity for you to leverage the involvement of others in your organization, outside of your public affairs or communications group.
In the comments below, please share your stories and examples of how you’re using social media in your organization. I’d like to see them, and I know Nancy’s fellow cancer communicators would enjoy them as well.