As a confirmed, proud, self-professed Luddite, I have somewhat stubbornly resisted the onslaught of social media, preferring to use the telephone (rotary of course) or the person-to-person meeting in order to do my socializing. Keystrokes, whether 140 (tweet tweet) or more (blog blog) just didn’t do it for me.
Strongly “encouraged” to tweet and blog by my employers, I hesitatingly dipped my toe into the social media water with a few very tentative blogs and tweets. However, rather than find the anodyne experience that social intercourse usually provides, I found the experiences polymorphously frustrating. What do I say? What about this? Would that interest anyone? How do I keep it ≤140 spaces? Who even cares what I think? Paraphrasing Groucho Marx, would I ever want to “friend” someone who wastes their precious timing reading my thoughts on-line?
Most frustrating was the simple fact that I never received feedback. Never. It was akin to talking to (not “with”!) someone at a party who spends the entire time looking everywhere but at you, searching desperately for someone more interesting and/or attractive. No real conversation. Kind of like dinner table conversation when you ask your children the dreaded question, “How was school today?” What you hear, minus the “Okay,” is the sound of silence that tweets and blogs give you.
But then one day, about 2 months into my daily enforced tweeting, after posting a tweet about an Environmental Working Group report on pesticides poisoning fruits and vegetables, my epiphany came in a tweet response from “Chem React.” Just a few simple words, “Agreed. Even just on Twitter, every day-so much evidence of the scary dangers around us. But nothing happens… Time to change.”
That’s all it took to get me to realize that while I may never see their responses, there are people who are reading what I’m writing. Perhaps they dismiss it, perhaps they think it unworthy of a response, or perhaps they simply don’t have the time to respond. Doesn’t matter. It’s kind of like a party, where not everyone is interested in conversing with you. It’s even better than a party in one important aspect. When tweeting or blogging, you don’t have to see the other people ignoring you, or looking past you for more fertile social intercourse.
So rather than curse the darkness, I’ve now lit the candle and brightened my attitude about social media. The applications are just waiting to be discovered. I can see potential utility in both the pharma and medical spaces.
Just this week, the Disney Company launched a Facebook application called Tickets Together, which lets you buy tickets via Facebook. When you do, your Facebook friends get messages letting them know where and when you’re going to the movies, in this case it’s “Toy Story 3.” Tickets, not available to the “general public” till the middle of June, may be bought in groups of up to 80.
Marketers in the pharma space should readily be able to use the social media to rapidly disseminate things such as drug-related information and discount coupons. Any marketer worth his/her salt should be able to come up with even better ideas than those.
Physicians can easily disseminate health maintenance, disease prevention information to their patients. Practice-related information (appointment times, doctor is running late, meet-up support groups of similarly affected patients) presents lots of opportunities.
While I’m not completely sold on the idea, social media is here to stay. It will without doubt evolve in ways we can’t imagine. An open mind is the prepared mind, and we better be prepared because things are moving fast. This deconstructed Luddite doesn’t want to be left behind. In fact, I think I’ll blog about this right now. Oops. First I’ll have to bike to the store and pick up some ink for my fountain pen.Palio is a full-spectrum global pharmaceutical and consumer advertising, marketing, and communications agency that excels in brand creation and specializes in brand strategy, product launches, global marketing, and digital and integrated media.