Friends Don’t Let Friends Tweet Drunk

Monday I had the pleasure of participating in a panel titled "Doctoring Up your Social Media Advocacy" (a.k.a. #AmplifyHC) as part of the Health track at #SXSW, along with Dr. Skye Clarke and Jacob Sloan of Baylor Scott & White Health, with Michael Blondé of Hootsuite as our moderator.

The focus of the session was how to engage health care employees, and particularly physicians, in social media to help magnify an organization's reach and impact in social media.

Each of us had two minutes for introduction (my slides are at the bottom of this post) and to highlight a main point, and so I wanted to come up with an analogy that would capture the essence of what we're doing through our Mayo Clinic Social Media Network programs.

And while I didn't exactly formulate it this way during the session, with another day to think about it here's a pithier version:

I think this analogy is apt because it:

  • Emphasizes continuity. The most important thing people should understand about social media is that they are not radically different in nature from the ways we have always communicated. The Golden Rule and other societal norms apply here, too.
  • Highlights the amplifying effect of technology. I theoretically could have begun traveling home on foot Monday from Austin, Tex. to Austin, Minn., but thanks to a rental car, a Boeing 818 and my personal car I was able to sleep in my own bed. Without these motorized vehicles, I realistically would not have been able to attend the meeting in the first place. Likewise, my Twitter analytics tell me that my own tweets Monday reached more than 5,000 people, and that doesn't count the impressions from others using the #AmplifyHC hashtag. While we had 200 or more people in the room for our discussion, several times that many had some contact with the conversations via Twitter.
  • Suggests that training in safe and effective operation is worthwhile. Out-of-control motorized vehicles can do damage, so governments require training and licensing of drivers and pilots. The training requirements generally increase with the potential danger to others. Teenagers pass written tests to get permits to engage in supervised driving practice, while pilots must log many hours in the cockpit and simulator to get their certifications.

No one is suggesting mandatory training for all social media users because the risks of serious harm for most people are quite small. But for those in health care, with concerns ranging from patient privacy to professional boundaries to appropriate practice of medicine, the social media equivalent of Driver's Ed makes sense.

That's why we created the Social for Healthcare Certificate from Mayo Clinic and Hootsuite, and included it in our Premium Memberships. We want our Mayo Clinic staff and other members of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network to realize the potential benefits of using social media while minimizing risks.

Based on our certification, Baylor Scott & White has worked with Hootsuite to create a customized online course for its staff, and Dr. Clarke is one of the first graduates. Whether you use our certificate or consider developing a derivative program, we hope the framework we've established will enhance safety and effectiveness of your social media program.

One final analogy: just as transportation accidents haven't caused us to abandon motorized vehicles and return to pedestrian travel, the possibility of social media mishaps shouldn't stop us from embracing the good these powerful technologies can help us accomplish.

Tweeter's Ed can prevent violations and collisions.

Introductory Slides - #SXSW Panel from Lee Aase
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Friends Don't Let Friends Tweet Drunk
Doctoring Up your Social Media Advocacy
Friends Don’t Let Friends Tweet Drunk

Excellent analogy, Lee. It really speaks to the impact that social media can have on all of us. For those reluctant to dive into social media (my husband is one), this might help illustrate the point for them.

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