Thursday, May 28, 2009

Back to the Blog

I am pleased to announce that there is finally a blog! For as much fear and trepidation as the concept caused it arrived with very little fanfare. It launched on a Thursday in the afternoon in “soft launch” mode. This just means I asked for it to go live, but did not link it to anything, so you really had to know the URL to find it. This gave me a few weeks to play with it. I spent about 2 weeks getting used to the process of putting in posts, fine tuning the navigation and getting feedback.

The good news is, the feedback from inside has been great. I have heard from lots of people inside, and I think they are pretty proud of the product. There are currently multiple requests from faculty who want to write for the blog. Initially we were afraid that we would'nt have enough content, and estimated that it would be years before we had the need to evolve to a multiple blog structure. If the process continues at it is, I expect that we will soon have a need to support separate blogs for news, research and maybe a few of the cancer support topics.

I'm also pretty proud of the guidelines. These guidelines were the main reason we were allowed to proceed with development of the blog. I think that they are strong enough to keep legal and HIPAA happy, but flexible enough to allow honest, mostly uncensored feedback to the posts.

Lessons Learned
If I had it all to do again I would have asked for more feedback from the outside world earlier in the process. I learned some things about the perspective from outside the hospital that I did not consider until about 2 days before the full launch. I realized that I should have put even more thought into my navigation structure than I did. I am semi-happy with it now, but I think there is room for improvement.

I would love to know what you think? I am up for any constructive criticism you can offer. I think I have probably heard most of the feedback about what is wrong, but you guys are pretty creative, so I may be pleasantly surprised. Read the Blog

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Social Media is a Team Sport

When I first began to try and figure out the social media plan for the hospital, I was the lone wolf in my office. I spent the first few weeks in my office doing research and trying to figure out the plan. Soon I realized that others were interested in what I was learning, so early on, I started a social media club for other employees who I knew were interested in the topic. We met every few weeks for lunch and learn sessions. In these meetings had lots of fun, and we taught each other all that we knew and shared our plans for experimentation and implementation.

Soon the need was so widespread that we outgrew the club, and moved on to training by department, then collaboration on multi department projects. Despite the fact that I did not have a team working on this... I did have a team.

Oddly, the folks in my own department were still a bit hesitant about jumping on board. Some of it was techno fear, some of it was disbelief in the concept of online social communications, some of it was time. They were already feeling over worked the effort it would take to learn yet another thing was overwhelming. But in the PR industry the tide began to turn. They were finding that they were not getting the same results with traditional pitching, and slowly but surely they began to see their media contacts not only showing up all over the place online, but they started finding pitching opportunities in social media.

A year and a few months later I have a team. Every pr person in my department is now trying to shoot video, taking their own pictures, setting up podcasts, submitting blog posts. They are almost all on facebook and/or twitter. Last year when the wall street journal called asking for doctors on twitter, I had 1! Today I know of at least 10 at my hospital, a few of them are actually doing some pretty groundbreaking things while tweeting.

Last year, to pull off social media I had a bowling team, this year I have a track team, which seems appropriate since last year it was a crap shoot, and this year it feels more like a marathon.

Who to follow on twitter from my hospital

I know there are mores, so let me know if you think you should be on this list by submitting your twitter link as a comment.