Archive for the ‘ Community ’ Category

On Pinterest

One of the many awesome #hcsm-ers made a good point this morning – s/he wanted to ‘pin’ #hcsm to some of his/her boards – but couldn’t find an image here! That’s because this site is mostly a repository for topics and archives of the Sunday night chats. But, that doesn’t mean it’s any less worthwhile to share :).

So, if you’d like to ‘pin’ #hcsm to any boards on Pinterest, I encourage you to pin the About page (, that has the #hcsm logo image embedded within the post.

(Also of note, last night I noticed the @HealthSocMed account has topped 10,000 followers. It’s not the number of followers that matter, but the sheer number of people involved in health care & social media is astonishing and awe-inspiring. Thank you to everyone who is part of this community! You don’t have to join every Sunday night to be a part of this community, but I do encourage you to follow @HealthSocMed so you can check in on topics, easily find the archives, and any special announcements that pop up.)


#hcsm – January 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, #hcsm! The #hcsm chat was born in January of 2009. Within two years, it has grown into a community (and some say an industry) spanning five continents and dozens of countries, with thousands of participants and members. Thank you to everyone who works in HCSM, contributes to #hcsm, and continues to make health care better! Here’s to another great year of innovation for social media in health care.


Wrong time zone? No sweat. Don’t like, 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 January 9, 2011 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. (Availability of archive depends on how Twitter API is working during the chat.)


  1. We know there’s still work to be done for HCSM. But let’s discuss – what are some of the milestones & victories that have been accomplished so far?
  2. What do you think is the most significant change in HCSM? (Can be an org’s use, an innovative project, guidelines, etc.)
  3. What is the biggest thing that *hasn’t* changed in HCSM? And, what can we do to change this?

Don’t forget – if you’d like to submit a topic for a future #hcsm chat, you’re welcome to! Read the details on the different ways to submit a topic for a #hcsm chat.

Also, if you missed the chat, or want to add additional thoughts & feedback to the above discussion topics, leave a comment & keep the discussion going!

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.

#hcsm geo-chapters

One of the cool things about #hcsm is that there are few barriers to entry. No matter where you are in the world, you can have a conversation about healthcare. You don’t have to have a fancy title, X number of years of experience, or work for a certain organization to make a difference. We’re huge advocates for lowering the barriers, bashing up silos, and bringing everyone to the table with diverse and varied perspectives to improve healthcare for the better. That’s what it takes.

However, we also know that there are benefits to curating location-based information and networks. It’s nice to surround yourself physically by like-minded folks who are working to make a difference next door.

When #hcsm was created in January 2009, we knew we were one of the first healthcare chats on Twitter. We don’t claim to know the future, and we were thrilled when #hcsm took off and became it’s own community online – above and beyond a hashtag or a mere chat. And we were ecstatic when our colleagues in the EU decided to create the first location-based #hcsm chapter, #hcsmEU. With their hard work, they demonstrated the power of location-based mini-chapters (or geo-chapters). The EU, with numerous languages and a variety of different health care cultures, has it’s own unique challenges. So, geo-chapters such as #hcsmEUFR (France) have evolved to address specific issues and opportunities in those locations.

Geo-chapters have continued to spring up across the U.S. as well, bringing folks together offline and “IRL” to socialize and curate local resources. From #hcsmDC (Washington, D.C.) to #hcsmSV (Silicon Valley), #hcsm geo-chapters are continuing to spread. Today a #hcsmAR (Arkansas, mostly Little Rock) meetup was launched.

In sum, we’re excited to see the #hcsm conversation continue offline and in the ‘real world’. It takes our hard work not only on Sunday nights, but also every day to make #hcsm a reality and to improve healthcare around the world. If you have a group of folks working in healthcare communications and/or social media & want to start a geo-chapter for meetups, let me know. We’ll help you get started.

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