Joining Patients in their Online Health Journeys

I’m in Atlanta this morning for the DTC Perspectives Hospital Marketing National conference, but I’m only going to be talking about marketing in a secondary sense.

My 45-minute talk is entitled “How Individuals Can Use Social Media to Advocate for their Own Health.”

Here are my slides:

For those interested in further interaction, please check out our Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and Social Media Health Network (SMHN).

And if you’ve had visiting Australia on your “Bucket List” you may want to also consider our First International Healthcare and Social Media Summit in Brisbane, Sept. 1-2, 2015.

Tweets have more Capitol Clout than Email

Before I began my career in health care, I worked for 14 years in political and government jobs at the local, state and national level. The last of those was as press secretary for former U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht. I had helped Gil set up his first Web site, but when I left in 2000 the Internet hadn’t yet gotten to be a big thing in politics. And social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were nonexistent.

In the post-9/11 era and in the aftermath of the anthrax scare, email took over as the highest impact means for citizens to communicate with their members of Congress. This morning Gil passed along an interesting article indicating that social channels are having more impact than email campaigns. Here’s an excerpt:

Advocacy campaigns have relied heavily on email for more than two decades, but a recent survey shows that a handful of well-conceived comments on social media may be just as effective as thousands of emails.

In a poll of House and Senate offices by the Congressional Management Foundation, three quarters of senior staff said that between one and 30 comments on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were enough to grab their attention on an issue. Thirty-five percent said that fewer than 10 comments were enough.

“The contrast is shocking between Twitter volume and email volume,” CMF President and CEO Brad Fitch said.

The article, which was published just before the last election, goes on to explore some of the reasons for the higher relative impact of social compared with email.

Having worked in a congressional office, here’s what I think:

Even if an advocacy group can generate messages from several hundred constituents, those messages feel less authentic to the congressional staff than social posts do.

If I send my congressman an email, a staffer in his office reads it and will likely categorize it along with others in a report to the congressman. If I’m one of a handful of people sharing the same concern or idea, it’s not going to register.

But if mine is one of thousands, and the language of the messages are similar, it feels more like astroturf than grassroots.

An email message is the end, while a social post is a beginning. Organized campaigns can get constituents to send email messages, but those messages are invisible to the broader public.

But when you or I comment on Facebook or Twitter, we’re not just addressing our elected officials: we’re sharing sentiments with our friends and connections, too. Instead of going into the email black hole, the messages are out in the wild, and able to influence others.

Members of Congress pay attention to public opinion, but they can tell when activists are juicing the numbers.

So if you have something to say to your government officials, tweet it in your own words. It might encourage others to speak up. And over time, that can make an impact.

It’s not about flash mobs and splash. It’s about authentic involvement.

Off to Dubai!

WEF Global Agenda Screen ShotI’m writing this from the International Lounge at the airport in Seattle, as I am waiting for the boarding call for my flight to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

In September, I was invited and accepted an appointment to a two-year term on the Global Agenda Council on Social Media, which is sponsored by the World Economic Forum.

Most of our meetings are by videoconference, but we meet face-to-face once per year in Dubai. The first of these meetings starts Sunday afternoon.

I have a lot of reading to do to prepare, and thankfully have a 14-hour flight on Emirates Air in which to do it. We’ll be using the #WEFSocMed tag for our part of the Summit. As I get more info about other hashtags I’ll be updating. I think I’ll use #LeeInDubai for some personal tweets.

 

 

 

Making the Case in Oregon

This morning I’m honored to be speaking and conducting a workshop at the 2014 Fall Conference of the Healthcare Communicators of Oregon (#HCOFall2014). I appreciate the flexibility Tom Eiland and the conference planning committee showed in allowing me to be a morning speaker instead of the previously planned closing keynote.

My second and third slides give the reason for the switch:

After my presentation on “The Case for Social Media in Health Care” I also will be leading a brief workshop on “Best Practices and Tips for Success,” the slides for which are below:

I look forward to a good discussion this morning, and to the adventure in Dubai. More on that in a post later today.

Bringing the Social Media Revolution to The Last Frontier

I’m excited to be at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood Alaska today to speak to the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association.

The trip here helped me understand just how big Alaska is, and how far it is from the lower 48. One little-known fact (at least I didn’t know it): The flight from Seattle to Anchorage is the same length (about 3 hours and 15 minutes) as the flight from Minneapolis to Seattle.

Once I got to Anchorage, it was a relatively short, but amazingly scenic, trip down AK-1 to the Alyeska Hotel. The highway has lots of places to pull over for photos, and while a photo can’t really show the full beauty, here’s a taste (click to enlarge):

AK-1 Big

One extra positive of coming to present in Alaska is that it’s highly unlikely that many of the participants have heard me speak previously. That lets me do a best-of-the-best presentation. My slides are embedded below:

I look forward to the discussion today, and welcome your comments and questions.