Author Archive

Guest post – Elders in the #hcsm community

This is the third in a series of regular guest posts from the fabulous members of the #hcsm community. Interested in writing a post for #hcsm? Email me. This week, Meredith Gould discusses the idea of elders in community – and challenges elders in #hcsm specifically.

***

I did not initially join the healthcare social media (#hcsm) community as a social scientist. At first, I simply viewed myself as a marketing communications  professional committed to enhancing health literacy.  This, by the way, is my cleaned-up version of saying I’m committed to slashing ridiculously confusing medical jargon out of healthcare materials.

But old habits of education and training run deep.  I’m a sociologist and within weeks of participating in #hcsm chats, I could see a social world emerging in real time.  Enthralling!

Soon, I was tweeting more about the social construction of healthcare than anything else, although a content analysis of cached data would reveal my enthusiasm for proper spelling, grammar, and syntax. Within months, I realized online communities generate social structure and then develop just like  communities do in real life (IRL).  One significant difference: community development  happens more quickly when it’s happening online via social media.

And so does the potential for community destruction from either outside or within, which is why I’m currently fixated on the role of elders. IRL elders are vested with and take on key responsibilities that are essential for community survival.

Everything I’ve observed so far persuades me this is also true for the #hcsm chat community.  While it may not be immediately obvious, I believe our growth and survival will depend, to some extent,  on the positive participation of community elders.

If you’re a long-time participant in #hcsm chats, I suggest that these are your three (interconnected) responsibilities:

  • Holding collective memory: Elders are those around long enough to remember the beginning. They can recall – often because they’ve recorded them – the events and conversations shaping community.  Effective elders reference this information about social structure to build community.   Ineffective elders stifle community development by referencing this information to insist, “we’ve always done it this way” when facing change.
  • Providing continuity: Because they remember the beginning, elders provide the continuity needed to continue conversations and develop new ones.  In social media terms, elders curate as well as create content.  Effective elders participate during hashtag chats by offering links to new information that enhances the conversations.  Ineffective elders shut down conversations by insisting, “we’ve already discussed that” when facing inevitable redundancies.
  • Guiding newcomers: Elders are those not only able but willing to be generous with newcomers.  Elders recognize that each new generation will go through the same, or very similar,  stages as the ones before it. Effective elders are welcoming, patient and good humored with new visitors. Ineffective elders quit participating, although I suppose you could argue that by removing opting out, cranky elders are, in fact, serving the greater good.

So, now let me ask you this: Are you an elder in the #hcsm community?  If so, how are you helping the community survive and thrive?

***

Meredith Gould is a sociologist by training and activist by temperament with a wide range of editorial and marketing experience. Since 1990, she has focused on health and wellness issues, especially how health is socially-constructed.  A passionate advocate for using technology to build communities, Meredith participates in healthcare social media (#hcsm), healthcare marketing (#hcmktg) and hospice/palliative medicine (#hpm) conversations on Twitter.  She is the author of seven books, blogs about daily errata at More Meredith Gould and serves in an elected leadership position for the Virtual Abbey.

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#hcsm – October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween, #hcsm!

Wrong time zone? No sweat. Don’t like Twitter.com, TweetDeck, TweetChat, or TweetGrid for #hcsm? No sweat. Forget about #hcsm this week? Well…we won’t hold it against you..for too long.

Watch the live #hcsm stream from October 31, 2010 at 8pm Central here (new window). If you missed the chat, you should be able to come back and scroll through it again, any time.

Topics:

  1. Do patients take health rating sites seriously (ie Yelp, Vitals)? Do you use these sites to make decisions about your health care provider?
  2. What can doctors and health care organizations (hospitals, non-profits, etc.) do to impact their ratings on sites? Should they bother?   Do health care providers act on the feedback patients give online?
  3. What if docs asked patients to provide them at the end of every visit – how would you feel? Would you do it?

#hcsm – October 24, 2010

Wrong time zone? No sweat. Don’t like Twitter.com, TweetDeck, TweetChat, or TweetGrid for #hcsm? No sweat. Forget about #hcsm this week? Well…we won’t hold it against you..for too long.

Watch the live #hcsm stream from October 24, 2010 at 8pm Central here (new window). If you missed the chat, you should be able to come back and scroll through it again, any time.

Topics:

  1. What should a doctor’s web site look like? What content should it have? What should it NOT have on it?
  2. What roles and responsibilities should patient key opinion leaders (KOL’s) have? Actually, what makes a patient a KOL?
  3. Also on KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) – how does social media impact KOL roles? For doctors? For patients?

#hcsm – October 17, 2010

Wrong time zone? No sweat. Don’t like Twitter.com, TweetDeck, TweetChat, or TweetGrid for #hcsm? No sweat. Forget about #hcsm this week? Well…we won’t hold it against you..for too long.

Watch the live #hcsm stream from October 17, 2010 at 8pm Central here (new window). If you missed the chat, you should be able to come back and scroll through it again, any time.

Topics:

  1. Studies show docs – like patients – go online for info. But they too visit Wikipedia & WebMD – should we be concerned?
  2. Patients search info online & bring it to their medical appointments. What’s the best way to present concerns & info to docs?
  3. You’re charged with setting a colleague/MD/exec up on social media. Who should they start following, listening to, and engaging with? Why? What comes first?

#hcsm – October 10, 2010

Wrong time zone? No sweat. Don’t like Twitter.com, TweetDeck, TweetChat, or TweetGrid for #hcsm? No sweat. Forget about #hcsm this week? Well…we won’t hold it against you..for too long.

Watch the live #hcsm stream from October 10, 2010 at 8pm Central here (new window). If you missed the chat, you should be able to come back and scroll through it again, any time.

(My apologies – having the crew in Seattle for a live #hcsm distracted me and I didn’t turn on the archive at the beginning. So the archive is only the last half of a furiously awesome chat. Sorry guys!)

Topics:

  1. How can patients use SM to learn “the rules” for engaging their doctors and the healthcare system? (And what are the rules?)
  2. Should doctors play a role in educating patients about online health information, protecting privacy, etc? Who’s responsibility is it?
  3. Promoted tweets, accounts, followers, etc – Twitter is showing their monetization model. Is healthcare buying? Does healthcare care?

#hcsm – October 3, 2010

Wrong time zone? No sweat. Don’t like Twitter.com, TweetDeck, TweetChat, or TweetGrid for #hcsm? No sweat. Forget about #hcsm this week? Well…we won’t hold it against you..for too long.

Watch the live #hcsm stream from October 3, 2010 at 8pm Central here (new window). If you missed the chat, you should be able to come back and scroll through it again, any time.

Topics:

  1. Foursquare has released ‘merit badges for better living’ (http://bit.ly/bRcZMB) – would you check-in places for better health?
  2. Are social media skills taught or learned? Or is it common sense? How do you teach someone to protect their privacy online?
  3. This week, Malcolm Gladwell said Facebook and Twitter can’t change the world (http://bit.ly/c1YSIr) or solve ‘human problems’ of motivation. Can Twitter and Facebook really impact healthcare (and motivation)?

#hcsm – September 26, 2010

Wrong time zone? No sweat. Don’t like Twitter.com, TweetDeck, TweetChat, or TweetGrid for #hcsm? No sweat. Forget about #hcsm this week? Well…we won’t hold it against you..for too long.

Watch the live #hcsm stream from September 26, 2010 at 8pm Central here (new window). If you missed the chat, you should be able to come back and scroll through it again, any time.

*note* – CoverItLive was not pulling in the feeds from Twitter very well. This week does not have a complete, accurate transcript as a result.

Topics:

  1. Should there be an online bill of rights for patients? Why or why not?
  2. Should doctors (or other health care providers) have a right to privacy – or anonymity – online?
  3. Should e-patients (e = online & actively online) have a right to anonymity if they so choose?
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