Social media & breaking down health stigma

This week I saw a really powerful video called “I had a black dog, his name was depression” which was developed by the WHO to talk about depression.  Despite this video being a bit “long” at just over 4 minutes I watched it through to the very end.  As someone who has had my own issues with the black dog over the years the video really resonated with me.

I have certainly had to make compromises in my life as a result of depression.  Whilst people at work have never really seen the impact of my depression, my friends have.  This is because when you suffer from depression you work really hard to hide it and to carry on and invariable you have to prioritise your energy.  For me work has always won that prioritisation but that means that at the end of the day I had no energy left to meet with friends.  In hindsight this may have exacerbated things as I had no one to talk to and just fought my battle on my own.

Today however things are different.  Firstly I found out that my depression was actually a symptom not a stand-alone disease (it was in fact a result of my Hashimoto’s, for which I am now getting treatment).    Secondly I decided that as someone who works in the healthcare industry I have a duty to stand up and be a voice for patients, to help break down the social stigma and the silence that goes with this, and many other diseases.  I stopped making excuses to my friends (I’m busy, I have a cold, etc.) but become open and if I could not go out because of depression I told them. I was amazed at just how many of my friends then also came out and told me they too had had their own battles with depression.  We started talking and it often really helped.

The other big change though that I have seen since my first bout of depression in my early twenties is the impact of social media.  When I once posted on Facebook about it I had friends PM me to tell me how brave I was but also how it helped them to hear that they were not the only one having these battles.  I did not think I was brave – I think I was just being passionate about the my obligations as a patient who works in the healthcare industry.

Social media also provides people with a forum where they can talk to others, anomalously if they want, and get support when they need it.  I myself have written in the past about my involvement in talking a Facebook friend down from suicide via a Facebook group.  The lady in particular had set up a closed group called “Goodbye” where she shared that she had had enough and had decided to end it.  Members of the group included people from the US, Europe and Australia, so we really were able to provide her with 24 hour support.  We were there for her and provided her with the friends and support she did not have offline, without which I am sure she would no longer be here today.  Social media really did save a life.

The other benefit that I believe social media is bringing is to help break down the stigma and enabling people to talk openly, and show their support.  By moving depression out of the dark and into the public domain it can help patients, and give them the confidence to talk to people and seek help.  Knowing you are not alone can in itself be incredibly impactful.

Finally another thing to remember about depression is that it is not just a developed world problem.  Not surprisingly depression is a huge issue in war torn countries or where people do not have a balanced diet (as is the case in areas of extreme poverty). In these countries however the stigma is still very big around depression and talking about health problems, and here having access to an online resource where you can be anonymous can really have a huge impact.  Slowly as more people in these countries get access to the internet we may hopefully start to see technology starting to help improve the lives of patients in these countries.

We still have a long way to go to break down the stigma surrounding  depression and mental health but social media is helping.  The positive results should be seen not only in terms of patients quality of life but also economically as people get the support they need to be able to function and be productive at work.  I personally never took a sick day because of my depression but I know many people who have.  Reducing those sick days would be another great ROI for social media!

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#Tinder … is it social?

This week I was giving a lesson on the basics of social media and I noticed that Tinder was included in Fred Cavazza’s awesome social media inforgraphic.  I have to admit that this surprised me – I’ve been using Tinder for years but I never thought of it as a social platform.  For me Tinder fits into the online dating category, not social media.

However this image made me think – what is social media but platforms were people can engage and interact … just like online dating.  The more I pondered this the more I began to see the sense of Tinder appearing on this image, especially with the new functionalities that Tinder has brought in recently.

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With this new thinking I logged back into Tinder, and with my partner in crime and a few glasses of bubbly, we decided to test out the new Tinder Social.  This functionality is Tinder’s attempt to take the dating app into the more “social” realm. It allows people to form groups with friends of theirs who are also on Tinder and then swipe other groups to chat with and potentially meet up with.  You can only engage with these groups if you yourself are in a group – so a single profile can’t engage up with a group profile. There’s been quite a few comments about what this functionality is really for, especially given what many single people use Tinder for, and I have to admit that I was therefore not overly surprised to see a few male female groups, where it was clearly a couple looking for fun.

Anyway so there is me and my partner in crime, let’s call her Miss.B., playing with Tinder social.  It was Miss B. that set up our little group and this is where I stumbled upon my first issue with Tinder social – she could add me to a group without my permission or even notifying me.  I find this quite concerning – any of my friends on Tinder could use my profile and there is nothing I can do about it.  I pondered how I could use one of my friends in Australia’s profiles to form my own group – knowing she would be fast asleep I could in theory have fun with groups without having to worry about her quitting my group (well not until the early hours when she woke up).  I could image her waking up perplexed to find her Tinder inbox full of these group chats – how angry do you think she would be?  I know I would be pretty peeved! Mark one against Tinder.

I then came across our next stumbling block with Tinder’s attempt to get more social … control.  While Miss B. was happily swipping away on other groups I discovered that as she set up the group (on her iPhone) she had all the control – I was unable to swipe groups on my side (with my Android phone).  This meant she could connect with whoever she wanted, using my profile, but I had no say in the matter, and again the result was a stream of discussions in my Tinder inbox that I may not have wanted to participate in.  Mark two against Tinder.

My final thought around Tinder and social is how the app now pulls in information from your other social networks.  To sign up to Tinder you can use your Facebook account – and Tinder now shows you common connections as you browse people’s profiles.  I have to admit that I do not always like this.  I am not sure that I want to know that someone I might hook up with on Tinder is also friends with my ex, for example.  I have also discovered another potential issue here too as I have started getting friend and message requests through Facebook (& Instagram) from guys who have seen my profile on Tinder and rather than use the Tinder app to contact me go straight to one of these other social media networks.   I’m not sure if I actually find this a bit intrusive – if I was interested in you I’d swipe right – but at the same time I’m always quick to move Tinder chats off Tinder  anyway (it drains battery like there’s no tomorrow) so maybe it’s not that bad.  But still a potential mark three against Tinder.

Having now played around with Tinder’s new social functionality and having looked at it from this new perspective I think I could agree to having Tinder appear in this social media image.  The question for me though is whether Tinder is on the right path with these new “social” features?  I have been a huge fun of Tinder for years and have been very successful with it’s basic functionality, but I am starting to feel it may be getting a bit intrusive, as it leaches into my other social platforms. Maybe it is time to find a more anonymous dating app?  Especially given the potential intrusion of Tinder Social where I have no control over whether someone uses my profile or not.  Or maybe I’m just being a bit bah humbug because Miss B. got to enjoy all the fun of Tinder Social while I just watched helpless as she swiped some dodgy looking guys, and then found my phone constantly vibrating with these said groups trying to chat with me.  Either way whilst Tinder could be considered a social media app they also need to tread carefully as they are walking a fine line between being social and being intrusive.  What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

What should good look like?

Over the years I have often been asked what good looks like when it comes to digital in pharma.  I have been asked for benchmarks and examples from other pharma.  Who does digital best is another popular question.  My answer to this is there is no single answer. There is no single pharma company that stands out across the board in digital.  There are some that have done great apps but have terrible websites, or have done great apps but failed on social media.

So when I am asked what good looks like I tend to reply – what do you think?  As a pharma company whether you are targeting HCPs or patients it is important to remember that these stakeholders are people – just like you and me.  Sometimes the way I see pharma talking about HCPs it is as if they are a separate species, a species that does not use Amazon or Tripadvisor, or any other online services.  Our stakeholders are however people like you are me, and like you and me they use online services for everything from shopping to banking.

That is why when I am asked what good looks like I ask my clients to think about their own use of digital.  What is that they like about Amazon?  What do they hate?  What are their own online behaviours?  Whilst where we shop and go for news online varies country to country basic behaviours and expectations are very similar.  No one likes pop up ads or pages that take forever to load.  No one enjoys clicking multiple times trying to find basic information.  In this day and age we all have certain expectations when it comes to digital, and we expect to be able to access information quickly and easily.  Why should we not expect the same basics from pharma?  Why should we are users have to battle to get to the information we are looking for?  Will we keep trying or just go somewhere else?

I don’t know about you but I know if a website, or other digital tool, does not give me what I want, and quickly, I will go elsewhere.  I am fairly certain the same rings true for pharma customers too.  Therefore when someone asks what good looks like – the answer is already there in our own day to day behaviours and expectations.  Don’t you think?

To SXSW or not that is the question

The time is rapidly approaching when tickets for SXSW 2017 go on sale.  This means the time is rapidly approaching that I need to make the decision – do I go again next year, for my third time, or not.

I went to SXSW for the first time in 2015 (you can read my posts about this trip here) and it was one of the most amazing experiences.  In fact it had such a great impact on me that I quit my job to go back to focusing on digital and social media strategy.  It was therefore natural that the minute tickets for SXSW 2016 went on sale I bought one and booked my hotel. I had to go back for more!

As is often the case though that first, amazing, experience was not replicated the second time round.  I think this was in part as it did not have that first-time “wow” – this time I knew what to expect and that first year I saw some truly inspirational things.   That is not to say I did not enjoy SXSW this year but I am not sure it was worth what I ended up paying for it (I left buying flights until the last minute which was a costly mistake and I opted to stay in a very nice expensive hotel).  Then again I did come back with my Galaxy Gear VR headset which is totally cool!

So let’s see.  I still have a few days to ponder on this.

 

 

#WheresDon?

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The fabulous Hope for Romanian Strays guest blogger Don has vanished!  Can you find help him?  He decided to take a Face-cation (a vacation from Facebook) but we now need him back to help with the charity birthday celebrations!  We need your help to keep an eye out for him and share your photos of Don if you “spot” him – perhaps during your own vacation somewhere – being sure to include #WheresDon and the Hope for Romanian Strays logo in your photo too (#wheresdon).

H2SThis fun little campaign actually has a more serious side to it – we want to raise awareness of the Hope for Romanian Strays brand as the first part of an awareness campaign for our charity.  Hope for Romanian Strays is a small, volunteer run, charity that rescues stray dogs in Romania.  The campaign will be rolled out in a couple of stages, with #WheresDon as the first stage.  This will be just one of the many initiatives we are launching for our 4th birthday, and was in fact inspired but a few complaints from some very active offline supporters who believe very strongly that the use of gamification and humour are totally inappropriate in the serious world of animal rescue.  The fact that many large charity use these techniques successfully appears to be invalid.  They do the most amazing work offline I might add and whilst they do not respect the work I do online I certainly respect the work they do offline.

So do you want to help us find Don and get him back in time to help with our birthday celebrations?  I hope so!  All you have to do is use a tool such as Pizap to photoshop Don  into one of your own photos, such as a holiday snap, also add our logo (very important!) and the text #WheresDon. Once you are happy please share away tagging or mentioning the charity.  If you like you can also use other relevant hashtags like #animalrescue etc.

Or perhaps if you “can’t find Don” you would prefer to photoshop in one of your own Romanian rescues?  That’s fine too as long you include our logo and #WheresDon in the photo!

So please get busy and join the hunt for Don!  Let’s see if we can find him and raise some awareness for Hope for Romanian Strays and at the same show that there is room for other ways of raising awareness and funds and that gamification and humour can in fact have a positive impact for a charity.  Of course if you would rather just donate money to the charity instead that’s great too – the charity paypal is hopeforstrays.paypal@gmail.com!  Just mention #WheresDon when you do so we know that this worked🙂

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The boundaries of privacy

privateI had a rather unpleasant surprise today when I found out that one of my “friends” had shared some of my personal Facebook posts with my current boss.  Given the privacy settings of my posts I presume this was done by the said person physically showing their screen.  I was absolutely mortified to discover this infringement on my privacy but was also very angry and upset by this blatant abuse of my trust.

I am very picky around who I friend on my personal Facebook account (including never accepting friend requests from work colleagues) and that is precisely so that I do not have to feel like I have to censor what I write.  My friends know that I share very personal information, whether it be around my health or my love life, and to find that one of them thought it would be appropriate to share this insight into my private life with my employer is disgusting.  In fact I actually even have a “disclaimer” on my Facebook page to flag the personal and private nature of my posts.  Needless to say said “friend” is no longer a friend in my book … if I ever find out who it was.

Now there is plenty of debate around privacy, and expectations for privacy, in social media, and some would question whether it was stupid of me to post personal things to my Facebook page if I am concerned about other people reading these posts.  I push back on this though as I believe the right to privacy exists just as much online as it does offline.  Platforms like Facebook provide the option of restricting who I share my posts with and I trust my friends to respect that.  The fact that a friend has abused that trust says more about that person than social media.

Despite my beliefs on the right to privacy I would still be cautious about posting anything that could get me into trouble – but this is not my point here.  The content that was shared was not in anyway related to work but related to my personal life and related to information that I like to share to with my friends, and which my friends like to hear about.  If it were public content or content I was happy to share with a wider audience I would have changed my settings.  To me it is a sad day that I feel like I can no longer stay connected with my friends across the world because one person decided that I do not have a right to privacy, despite my clear disclaimer on what I post to my page.  The sharing of private content from a private and closed social media account is akin to photo-coping someone’s private letter or recording a private phone call and sharing that around.  It can happen but one does not expect a friend to do that.

There is though a broader issue here too.  I mentioned that I share very personal health information on my Facebook page.  Now I am actually very open about my health so I have less of an issue with someone sharing this – but for many people this is not the case.  For many people private social media offers a very valuable resource to connect and talk with people about this very personal topic.  I have been involved in supporting people with severe depression whose only outlet was their private Facebook account.  For someone like this to find out that a “friend” has shared their highly private and sensitive posts with a member of the “public” could be devastating.  For me again this highlights my beliefs that just because a person shares information digitally does not mean they automatically lose the right to privacy.  Regardless of which channel or medium a person shares information – if it is in a private setting and clearly highly personal their right to privacy should be respected.

It therefore with heavy heart that I find myself now having to either censor my content, and no longer share my private news, or to start de-friending people.   If whoever did this to me is reading this – thank you very much for abusing my trust in you and putting me in this situation.  I hope it was worth it for you.

Snapchat here I come …

Being passionate about social media and the latest technology I felt obliged last year to have a look at Snapchat and sign up for it.  I had a couple of friends who are using it and raved about it and it was “the” latest trend so I just had to join the craze.  So I signed up.  Or rather my friend helped me sign up and get started.  She swore I’d love it – she told me about all the fun she was having with her colleagues in the US and all the jokes and laughs they shared.  It sounded pretty fun.

I am a very active Facebooker and have always been.  I am also very active on Twitter and Pinterest.  In fact I love these three social channels and think I would really struggle not to use them on a daily basis.  I have even considered doing a sponsored week off social to raise money for Hope for Romanian Strays … but I genuinely do not know if I could do it!  One week without any online social interaction?  One week with no browsing and sharing?  OMG!

So one of my concerns was Snapchat was that I was potentially adding yet more to my social routine – where would I find the time?  If it was a great as my friend made out I would soon be addicted!  However part of me also questioned the “why”.  As mentioned I was already very active on two high engagement channels (Facebook and Twitter) and for communication with my friends I was also very active on Whatsapp.  What role would Snapchat play?  How would it enhance what I already had?  Or would it not enhance but rather replace something?

I was not sure so I gave it a try to try to answer these questions.  I tried it.  I really did try.  But I just did not get it.  I really did not see the “Why”.  It offered me nothing that my current social channels were not offering.  It did not enhance these either.  While Pinterest, for example, does not offer much in terms of “engagement” with my friends or network it did provide me with content to share to my network or content that I could enjoy looking at or using (e.g. recipes).  Snapchat just did not add anything to my life that I did not feel I already had covered. I gave up.

A few months later my friend was at me again, this time with support from a second friend.  I really should give it another try. They got me active by sending me some stuff.  This time round I could start to see some of the “Why” but again it really was not enhancing any of my engagement or relationships.  I also began to suspect that this was a channel that you only really got if you were very active and had a big group of active friends too.  I had neither – after all I am about 20 years older that the average Snapchatter.  So I gave up again.

Then today as I headed off to a business meeting I got a message from one of my Tinder dates who I have been seeing for a while (did I mention I am a huge fan of Tinder?).  He happens to be younger than me and fits easily into the top end of the average Snapchatter demographic.  He is on Snapchat and yes he asked me to add him on my Snapchat.  And so it is I am now giving it another go – maybe third time lucky.  Maybe this time I will see a different side to the “why”?  I must admit that I have not yet snapchatted with him but I have discovered another venue to bombard my friends with funny photos of my cats.  I think I may finally be seeing some value in this channel!  Whether my friends will agree with this as they see more and more photos of “King” Don remains to be seen.

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The Don looking all regal

De Puy and their patients

This morning I spotted an article in The Telegraph about how patients may have been fitted with faulty hip replacements due to a manufacturing error at the De Puy plant.  According to the article De Puy is not being exactly responsive in answering questions on this and may have known about the problem for some time.  Ill fitted hip replacements can be very painful for patients and can even be a patient safety issue.

For me a few things sprung out of this issue.  First and foremost no healthcare manufacturer should ever ignore potential patient safety issues and if De Puy knew about this flaw  they had a duty of care to their patients to inform the regulators so that said patients could be closely monitored for potential problems.  We were all appalled by the recent car scandal where manufacturers lied and tried to ignore a manufacturing fault – but if De Puy did knowingly ignored this problem then they too deserve the same villification, if not more.  After all here we are talking about surgically implanted devices not cars – and a potential direct risk to patient safety.  After the healthcare’s efforts to address its reputation problems I will also be disgusted if this turns out to be another example of “big bad pharma” (whilst De Puy is a device company it is owned by pharma’s J&J).

Shocked at this news post I naturally went straight to the company’s home page to see if there was more news.  Afterall if I were a patient or had a member of the family with a De Puy hip joint I would presume that the company has posted something to their website to provide me with information.  I would also do the same if I worked for the media btw.  I was therefore very shocked at what I found on their website.

According to their website they are inspired by us (I read that as including patients) and listen to patients and yet there is no option for patients on the website!  As the image below shows they are only interested in HCPs, job seekers and vets.  What about the poor patients?  And indeed what about the general public and media?

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In this day and age not having a general information website open to the public is questionable to say the least.  This is doubly the case for devices which do not face the same strict regulatory requirements as pharma.  Now clearly HCPs are the company’s main stakeholders, which is fair enough, but with most people now turning to the internet for information, including patient’s friends and family, it seems ludicrous not to offer up some general information about the product that is going to be surgically implanted into the patient. My mother is likely to need a hip replacement in the near future and I will want to know all the details about the product, including the manufacturer, and I will visit their website and expect to find information there.

This is of course also an issue today with new of a faulty product hitting the news.  How can I trust a company that is apparently selling faulty hip replacements but refuses to acknowledge its end users the patients?  How can I trust a company that refuses to communicate with me – even if only to tell me that due to regulatory requirements they cannot share certain information?

The other thing I did was to check their Twitter handle – again an issue like this raises questions I want to ask the company via my medium of choice, i.e. social media.  Whilst it looks like someone has secured the Twitter handle that is as far as it goes.  Whether it is De Puy or someone else who owns this is unclear but either way this looks bad on De Puy.  Firstly if someone else has secured the handle then shame on De Puy for not having noticed this and resolved this issue.  If it is their handle then at least take ownership and make it look formal and just state that you have not launched it yet.  As it is it just further adds to my bad impression of De Puy.

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I know I am just an insignificant carer and my mother just another patient but I for one will be talking to my parents about this and suggesting that if their surgeon suggests a De Puy product they ask for other options.  I for one do not trust this company to insert a device into my mother.  I wonder how many other carers and patients will feel the same as a result of today’s news and today’s lack of transparency from De Puy?

Social media in the pharmaceutical industry

This week I had the immense pleasure of attending SMI’s Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry conference.  As always I enjoyed the event, catching up with many of the #hcsmeu twitterati and hearing insights from the industry and patients.

SMI SlideThe event started for me on Tuesday as I led a workshop looking at how pharma can successfully engage using social media (you can find my presentation here).  With a small group we discussed some of the common issues that we still face in this space, for example internal barriers, lack of adequate process and poor understanding of this channel.

Most of these issues have been around for many years now and it does sadden me that they still need to be addressed in so many pharmacos.  On the other hand it is great to be able to have a much richer and deeper set of case studies to use in the battle in bringing some of these barriers down.  “We can’t because of regulations” clearly no longer cuts it – regulations have been clearly shown to not be a barrier.  Another element that appears to still be an issue, and which saddens me greatly, is the view that social media does not need to be approached strategically.  Whilst I am a huge advocate of pharma companies getting involved in social media I do not condone or recommend doing social media for the sake of it.  There does need to be a clear strategy and plan – otherwise you are just taking pot shots in the dark – and frankly doing any form of business, marketing or communication without a strategy is just plain old bad business.

I was very  happy however to see on Day 1 of the conference Stine Sorensen from Lundbeck discussing strategy, and not only its importance but the importance of having a regularly updated strategy (in this case she updates it every 6 months).  I was also very happy to hear Stine mention that she now has the review & approval time for social media content down to 25minutes.  I have had quite a few clients tell me that 24 hour approval times are unrealisitic so it is great to be able to counter this with the fact that quite a few companies now have process in place for near-to-live response.  Not being able to respond very rapidly due to inappropriate review & approval process should no longer be a barrier (and mini self plug – I can help you work this out).  In fact Stine supported everything I always say – there is no longer any room for excuses around not doing social media.  Those days are gone and, as her slides so beautifully shows, excuses are useless!

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Another great presentation was given by my friend Jackie Cuyvers, who recently left ZS to set up her own social listening company.  Jackie is an extremely experienced social listener and she now specialises in doing global / local listening.  Besides flagging the importance of asking the right, business questions, she talked us through some of the implications of social listening, in particular some of the linguistic and cultural elements that we tend not to think about.  She mentioned how even in the same language there are big differences across countries and groups in use of terminology.  In the UK for example “pants” means something quite different from “pants” in the US (underwear versus trousers) or the term “good crack” which means different things in the US and Ireland.  She also made the point that just translating content directly often totally overlooks cultural nuances and local idiosyncrasies. In English for example we use the term “kick the bucket” but in Slovenia the translation of this term would be “whispering with crabs”.  This has potentially huge implications on companies running social listening research, especially if they are dependend on pure technology or English language researchers.  I also loved the fact that Jackie got an image of a dog into the conference – tres social!

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Jackie’s summary of the 3 steps to social listening

One emphasis that came through throughout the conference though was the importance of patients and the incredible role they play, and the huge value that social media brings to them.  The event was actually kicked off by three fabulous ladies, Birgit Bauer, Silja Chouquet and Marlo Donato Love who shared some great insights from a patient’s perspective and mentioned one of my favourite quotes “patients are the most underutilised resource in the pharmaceutical industry”.  They talked about the importance of getting patients involved and the role they can play in working with pharma.  Silja then also went on to talk about patients participating and “attending” medical conference virtually via social media.  In fact she raised the point that whilst doctor’s are the main participants online at conferences patients are also increasingly getting involved as they search for more information on their conditions.  She also made some great points about the futility of pharma’s current approach to using promoted tweets and how this is potentially going to be a big issue resulting in dilution of high value content on Twitter.

Perhaps a highlight for me though was Trevor Fossey  who talked us through the impact of digital on patients and the NHS.  I was nearly crying as he told us that he has access to his NHS medical record online, and that of this wife for whom he cares, and that as of 1st April every NHS patient has a right to access their medical record online.  OMG!  As a UK patient, with a chronic autoimmune disease, not having access to my medical records has been a big issue.  I have been to numerous doctors, privately in the UK and abroad, and have never been able to show them my NHS blood results as I did not have access to them.  Of course the fact that I now live abroad and don’t have a GP means in all liklihood I still won’t be able to access them but the realisation of what this means for other UK patients, including my elderly parents, was profound.  Trevor mentioned some fantastic points about how impactful empowered patients really are – and how much money they save the NHS.  I can tell you I was certainly not the only person in the room blown away but Trevor’s presentation – despite being a room full of digitally savvy people none of us where aware of our right to access our medical records online.  Trevor found himself a whole group of advocates at the event (I for one have alreay shared to news to all my UK friends and family).

There were so many other great presentations, such as Letizia Affinito who showed us some great non-pharma case studies, and Pinal Patel from BMS who showed us how they are using social media in clinical trials – and more importantly how they are listening to patients and adapting their process in response to patient feedback.  An awesome point was made that often once a trial is over patients are just left alone – but really we should be thanking them and sharing the results with them (something BMS plans to do now thanks to feedback).  Charlotte Roth from Actelion also gave the Corporate POV around social media, bringing an additional dimension to the conference, while Liz Skrbkova shared perspectives around multi-channel engagement and online influencers. I also have to add that IMHO Liz was one of the best dressed ladies at the event🙂

Last but not least was the pleasure of meeting all these amazing people and having some great discussions, including over wine and dinner.  Dinner also gave me the opportunity to catch up with a couple more of the #hcsmeu and the next day I was able to sample some of the most amazing cocktails at the Alchemist in the evening.  Afterall what would a social media conference be if it didn’t include the “social” bit!

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Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

Oi you!

Following the post-Christmas trend I too find myself coming down with a nasty cold.  Just like my parents and friends I have that horrid sore throat, chesty cough and dratted runny nose.  I can also add fatigue and dizziness to the list – yawn …. (you still there?). I sit at home wrapped in a blanket feeling like I really need to do something proactive in my search for new opportunities but at the same time I lack the energy to do much.

Writing a blog is in theory a relatively easy and quick thing to do.  However as anyone who regularly blogs might tell you it is not always that straightforward.  You need to be inspired to write something.  Having a cold stiffles inspiration in my case.  So I searched for something to write about and whenever I search for information I always turn to Twitter.  Yay to Twitter!  In my search today I can across some very interesting posts on 3D printing to a debate on whether health apps can benefit healthy people.

Typical to social media content consumers, and also as a result of my fatigued brain, I only glanced at these and read the bits that seemed interesting.  Then it dawned on me just how lazy we have become in this 8 second world (the length of time you have to grab someone’s attention).  The 8 second rule is so true! We are bombarded with so much live and new content everyday when we go online (including across multiple devices at the same time) that something really needs to stand out to make us look.  This is of course where the impact of visual content really wins ground – afterall “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  When it comes to text we really do have to use attention grabbing titles – such as “oi you!”.

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Of course it takes more than a pretty picture or an attention grabbing title though to keep hold of that attention.  Do you really have something interesting to share or to say?  Or are you just producing content to meet your planned editorial calendar?  Have you actually looked around at what your content is currently competing with?  If you prepared it a while back is it still as relevant or attention grabbing as it could have been?  Too often we get lost in doing what we have to do to meet our goals, without taking the time to look around and just check that we are in synch with what our customers or readers are interested in right now.  Oh and by the way you aren’t just competing against your competitors for people’s time you are competing against the likes of #watermelonboy and #cutepuppy.

If you have read this far then I salute you and I clearly have written something that grabbed enough of your attention to merit me getting out of bed and trawling the internet for inspiration.  Thank you for reading and do come back soon for more 8 second content!

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(Ps. I made the smoked salmon nibbly bits myself and this dog above is looking for a forever home – go to http://www.hopeforstrays.com for more information)

Did I mention #cutepuppies?

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