Posts Tagged ‘ about #hcsm ’

Sunsetting #hcsm chat

Many know, at least by sight, the #hcsm hashtag. It stands for healthcare communications & social media. It was the first international healthcare hashtag chat. It was the community that many learned about Twitter chats from; and the community that led to the creation of many other vibrant healthcare hashtag communities (#bcsm, #DSMA, to name a couple – but dozens of others, too).

Where and why and how did #hcsm get started?

The #hcsm community started as a conversation, following conversations Dana had (as a then-college student) on Twitter with healthcare communications professionals working at various organizations. She realized that it would be beneficial for these professionals to connect with each other, in addition to the generous sharing of knowledge these individuals were providing to her.

Many people don’t know that the first “chat” wasn’t even on Twitter! A few people were chatting and decided to schedule time together to chat – and they did so using GChat. But, they liked the idea of making it publicly accessible and “stumble-able” for others to run into it and join the conversation. So they picked the following Sunday night at 8pm CT and decided to use a hashtag to track the dialogue. Dana volunteered to moderate/throw out topics.

The chat began in January of 2009, and continued almost every Sunday night at 8pm CT from then until now. Discussion has ranged around hundreds of topics related to healthcare and social media – such as interactions between patients and providers online; impact of new digital and social media tools to healthcare; and more. Predictions have been made by the community that have come true in practice in terms of impact of SM; others have been wrong or still waiting to be realized. Perspectives have included patients, every type of healthcare provider, and just about every perspective of professional working in all aspects of the healthcare industry. It’s a chat and a community where all have been welcome, following simple rules such as “don’t overly self-promote”, “try to stay on topic”, and “be nice”.

Looking back, and looking forward

The #hcsm community is a vibrant, diverse community. It has the typical community growth cycle, where people discover it, check it out, and stick around for awhile. Some leave, and some newbies stick around long enough to become community “elders”. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. Some people will comment after re-joining the chat that they haven’t been around in “years” or “months” or “weeks”, depending on their perspective. They’ll find some of the same faces, and many new ones. The growing and evolving community means discussion around the topics that intersect with healthcare social media continues to yield interesting insights, and reflects the changing world we live in. Perspectives on a question asked in 2012, when a question of similar vein is asked in 2017, reflects the change in technology; the sophistication of many in using the technology; and the way social media has become woven into our society. Other topics show no change, and is a reflection on the relative slow evolution of healthcare as an industry compared to others. (You can read back on this site for some of the topics I’ve archived here; or otherwise scroll through the @HealthSocMed account on Twitter to see more recent chat topics).

One of the things that has changed is the plethora of available chats, forums, and venues to have discussions around these topics. There were no other chats on Twitter at the time #hcsm began; and there weren’t any other common social media platforms at the time where random strangers could get together and have a discussion, and build relationships. There are now dozens of other healthcare chats every week on Twitter, ranging from general chats that cover any number of topics; and others are specific, such as disease-specific or patient-specific chats. Diversity of perspective, topic, and the ability to “stumble” upon new conversations is no longer a rare thing.

And thus, I have concluded that it is time for the weekly #hcsm chat to begin to sunset at the close of this #hcsm year. After 9 full years, I think it is a good stopping place. I expect the hashtag will live on as a general hashtag; however, I plan to end moderated chats (and end using the @HealthSocMed account) on #hcsm’s 9th birthday: January 14, 2018.

The final chat schedule will be the following:

  • December 10, 2017 (tonight’s chat)
  • December 17, 2017
  • (skipping December 24, 2017 due to Christmas and other holiday celebrations, per usual)
  • (skipping December 31, 2017 due to New Year’s Eve, per usual)
  • January 7, 2018
  • January 14, 2018 – FINAL MODERATED #hcsm chat!

That means that, after the December 10 chat, there are 3 total remaining #hcsm chats for people to join in on!

If you’ve been part of the #hcsm community for any of the 9 years of this amazing community, I hope you’ll pop in to one of, if not the very last, moderated #hcsm chats to reflect and celebrate with your fellow community members.

Wishing you all the best in the future,

Dana Lewis
#hcsm creator/moderator


#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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