Interest in healthcare and social media in the last twelve to eighteen months has exploded, no doubt about it.
With any new movement, there are always guesses, the emergence of ideologies and jockeying for political and economic power. No different with the coupling of healthcare and social media.
Following are some things that have received a lot of attention. And they don’t matter a whole lot. Resources are slim, so thinking needs to be fat.
- Foursquare. Location is something which Twitter or Facebook can easily integrate into their services. Where your mind is focused is the most important location. If you’re at a conference, just use Twitter and the conference hashtag. Do you really think a badge of some imaginary mayorship matters?
- Engagement. People only want brands to be available. Get in, get out. Big difference between engagement and availability. This notion that Pharma and hospitals and providers must engage is misguided. Engage what? These social networks are for people to talk with each other, not brands. Just be available. 99% of healthcare organizations don’t even know how to be available – so how in the world are they going to be engaging? This fetish with engagement started a few years ago. It may have been a prank of some kind, I’m not sure. But I do know that this one word has mislead entire industries and digital agencies down a vacuum tube of unfocused loitering.
- Social Bookmarking. You have Twitter now – if you want to find something, just go search on Twitter or follow feeds of interest. All these curated links – where in the world do they go? Nobody reads them anyway if they’re found.
- LinkedIn. It’s a rolodex with a commenting feature. Just use Twitter to find people and then call them if you want to work together.
- Intimacy. It doesn’t scale. If it did, it wouldn’t be intimate.
- The Cluetrain Manifesto – it doesn’t matter much and nobody can simultaneously retain a list of 95 untested “theses” *and* be useful.
- 99% of Social Media – most of the adoption of these tools and sites are wild goose chases lead by attention-starved tech bloggers with possible substance abuse issues.
I realize that a lot of people are fascinated with this stuff. I know that I am because they *are* changing the world. I just think most people and businesses are being terribly mislead. Terribly mislead. And now the Great Misleading can be retweeted.
The reality of the Healthcare and Pharma industries is that they are corporate enterprises and these media don’t always fit them the way they may fit consumers. Nothing above will appeal – nor will help – most enterprises. They need what matters.
What matters? Here goes:
- SEO – the organic kind, with just enough of the mechanical so you don’t get the search engines mad enough to kill your rank
- Content that appeals to emotion – most healthcare behavior and decisions are based on feeling; reason plays a part, but don’t waste time creating nothing but rational content. Look around the world: would you see so much unhealthy behavior if appeals to reason worked?
- Custom-targeted applications. There’s not a whole lot going on right now, but disposable apps will be commonplace soon. And they will be disposable, so don’t invest too much in building them.
- Critical Thinking
- A sharp tongue
Why no mention of Facebook? I can’t say it doesn’t matter. I can’t say that it does. It depends on who are your people, what they do and where they do it. Just know: people lose attention pretty quickly. Track your time, record your return. Re-allocate accordingly.
Most of what’s going on in social media is a waste of time – the social games, the status updates, the tweets.
These are territories of unpredictable behavior transpiring through unstable software. You never know when a conversation about a brand of underwear turns into a bewildering stampede of hallucinating buffalo.
Fortunately, there’s a few good things that can happen and we’ll figure out what they are. I hope.
In the meantime, don’t spread out all over the place with these gadgets. It’s unhealthy. There’s an economics of time and health which I think social media may be undermining.
Get the basics of communication nailed. Get the basics of marketing nailed. Get the basics of care nailed. Get the basics of critical thinking in the Age of the Dissolving Retweet nailed.
15 minutes of fame just may be the most any company gets out of social media. All the millions of other minutes may turn out to be vain and costly attempts to get back to a high that will never return.
@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter