Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My name is Jennifer... and I am a Twitterholic

I use twitter. I use it almost every day. I use it to keep in touch with people down the hall, and in other departments. I use it to stay on top of what is going on in my industry, and to keep up with where my daughter is. I have a new story every week of how twitter has made something better or easier.

The only thing I like better than twitter is all of the cool little tools that people have built for it or around it.

Daily use Tools
Twitter Fox - I have a few tools for twitter use downloaded in various places but I seem to go back to twitterfox every time. That is mostly because I am conditioned Firefox user. In my work I ussually have a web browser open, usually firefox. It sits in the corner of my screen, it does not really effect my work flow, and if I see something interesting enough to stop I can open twitterfox and read, or click to open twitter, in a new tab.
I have also downloaded twhirl. It is a cute little app that sits on my desktop, but I almost never open it, so I don't use it much. I tweet from my blackberry using Gtalk

TwitDir - Is what it sounds like, a twitter directory featuring the top 100 twitterers
Tweet Volume - Lets you see keyword volumes in twitter.
Twitterfeed - Takes your rss feed and turns it into tweets. No fuss updates to your twitter page

I have read that a new twitter app is created every day. You can keep up with whats new on the twitter wiki There is a link to it in twitter, at the bottom of the page in the explore twitter section. One of the cool things I found there was:

Quitter - a tobacco cessation program built with twitter as a platform

How do you use twitter? What twitter tools do you use? Do you have any stories about how twitter has made your life easier?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Facebook Fever

After two meetings last week and two scheduled for this week, I am starting to get the feeling that Facebook fever has hit. A number of departments, looking for ways to stretch their dollar, and reach out to untapped audiences, have decided that Facebook is a good place to start.

I agree.

I think Facebook is a logical place to put lots of our content. Because it is a social site, and not managed by the institution, some thought needs to go into how we stay consistent and credible in this arena, yet let multiple content owners handle their content in a way that works for their audience and content. I equate it to something my mom used to say whenever I would go to a sleep over or out with a friends' family "House rules... You are representing your family".

What is done so far to help establish the house rules
  • I am on draft 5 (or 6) of the Social media news distribution plan. It includes development of Facebook for news distribution, and beyond. I present it for approval on Friday. I guess I better finish it soon!

  • I put draft 1 of the Facebook development guidelines on paper. The next step is to get my early adopters into one room to make sure I cover all of our basis with the final document.

  • I found a guinea pig. Cancerwise has a closed access group in Facebook. Here Darcy is building things out to see how they may work.
Because of the number of groups anxious to start using Facebook. I anticipate that development of this will all happen very quickly. Have questions about where we are going with this Facebook stuff? Post your questions to the blog.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Making the Case for Social Media

I am starting to hear that that folks all over the institution are looking to promote their content beyond WWW. Weekly, I find out about new projects that have a web 2.0 element to their plan for communications. Additionally I hear about others aching to implement these tools into their communications plans, only to be shut down for lack of understanding, or fear of transparency.

The difference I notice in these two scenarios seems to come down to one thing. Education.

Some of us (like me) are lucky, we work for tech savvy, early adopters. In this case, creating a reasonable implementation plan is enough to make the case. For those who's managing director may be hesitant, all hope is not lost. Your first step should be to educate your supervisor, and your entire team for that matter on the tools you are hoping to implement. I warn you that step one is not so easy, but it is important in ultimately making the case.

1) Articulate your goal/s - What is it that use of this tool will help you to accomplish
2) Provide the support - Demographics, and statistics to support your claims
3) Define the use & tools - Examples help, what might this look like, and who else is doing this
4) Measurement of Success - Define what success means, and how you will measure it.

Finally, use your resources. If you work here, join the Facebook Web 2.0 discussion group. Most of the attendees at these lunch events are either already using these tools, or are writing plans to use these tools. If you don't work here, there are plenty of local groups and experts talking about this. Go to meet ups, bar camps, or conferences, you are sure to meet someone who would be happy to share their knowledge. If you are in Houston, HIMA is a good place to start.

My job here is to help develop some direction around social media communications here, at this place we Use me as a resource, I am gathering the information anyway, and I don't mind sharing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What is up with the Big Blog Plan?

As many of you know the development of an institutional blog is on my project list. I have been here a month, what is taking so long!

Right now I am in the research phase. I am looking at how other blogs are structured, how they are commented on and trying to understand what lessons I can take from them and apply to our communications. I am also looking to take some of my leftover budget money and find a consultant to help me define these best practices and help in creating the development plan.

There are also a couple of things that we are waiting on before we move forward.

1) The approval of the internal blog policy by legal. Once they get that pushed through the external policy should be much easier to develop.

2) The time line of the site redesign. The redesign is scheduled to be completed by September. If that deadline is met, it may not be such a good idea for us to develop the product, then redevelop it for the new site. Additionally, Rythmyx has blogs and social media tools built into it's newest release.

This is more than just a project, this is the development of a new communications vehicle for the entire institution. It is worth it to put in the time and effort to do it carefully. If all goes well, I expect to have the development plan written and ready to put through the approval process by early April. I will keep you all informed every step of the way.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Earn your Sharing Badge

The social bookmarking / sharing bug has arrived at our front door.

During a Patient Power meeting, someone suggested that we add del.ici.ous links to the event pages as a way for users to share their content with friends. Great idea! We had planned on making book mark links available on the page anyway, so no one took issue with the idea. We looked at our options and picked a badge style that would fit well with the look of our page, and this was done.

A few months later, Adi Espat stopped by and asked if we could add digg or other social sharing badges to her awareness page. Great idea, but then the fear set in. As this desire grows will our site begin to look more like an ad farm for social media sites, than an information source for patients, physicians and their families.

That is when I discovered Share this. Share this is a one icon tool that allows you to choose what sharing sites you offer to your readers, within a little expandable window. You can also choose to send your content via email. So instead of putting links to digg, delicious, facebook, newsvine, technorati... and every other think you can think of, we can just drop this one snippet of code onto the page and BAM! you've got it all.

The draw back? It is javascript, and as everyone who works on sites here knows, you cannot add .js in our cms when you are working in IE.

So to get it into your page you have to publish your page, then go back and open it in Firefox, or Netscape, then put the code in at the end of the page and close. Do not go back and preview... It WILL break the code. It is the same process you have to do if you put in streaming video, or a poll.

If you want more info, or you want to give it a try, just let me know. I will can give you the snippet of code, and walk you through placing it in, if you need help.

I gave the code to Darcy this morning, you I think you might see the Share this badge in this month's issue of
If you do, try it out and let me know what you think?