Social Media and Journalism – Social Media Breakfast

SMBMSPAnother excellent Social Media Breakfast  – the event  offered an insightful panel Facilitated by Julio Ojeda-Zapata ; the panel included Jason DeRusha, David Brauer, Gene Rebeck, Julia Schrenkler, and Dirk DeYoung.   

Twitter is a source of stories for journalists. Journalists are also using Twitter to form relationships with interesting people… what complicates criticizing these people in the future 😉  However, the end result is still higher quality material.  

Other channels were also mentioned, but Twitter was the most prominent during the discussion. My guess – the nature of journalism is “get the story first” and Twitter as “real time” news source and search possibility fills this need perfectly.  

People not connected with reporting start “committing acts of journalism” when they try to describe interesting events for others… because “people are curious.”  

Bridge collapse was the event often mentioned during the discussion – many journalists “discovered” power of social media at that point. Social media allowed journalists follow the “story” through the images and descriptions that were posted by non-journalists. 

What can be done with social media:

  • engage
  • crowd source (including listening, getting ideas, etc.)
  • promote

Do journalists have to be involved into social media? Not necessarily. If a person has an established following, sources, and network (does not need to engage, crowd source, or promote) social media may not bring enough benefit. However, anybody new to a particular market (geographic or vertical) can benefit from the opportunity.  “Any new journalist should be there.”

One of the panelists mentioned that social media is changing the business model and forcing design, marketing, and business closer together. This development is very interesting to watch…

Question: “Is using Twitter as news source similar to using Wikipedia as a research tool?”  

Answer: yes, the information can not be totally trusted, but both sources are excellent in identifying topics for further investigation. “Is it really different from an old ‘tip line’?”

Typical approach: posting a question to social media resources… waiting for answers… writing the story about the topic using the answers. (I personally watched this scenarios evolved several times and participated in some of them trying to answer the question.)

Monetization… The panel did not quite believe that social media presented monetization opportunity… However, the presentation below (thanks to Mashable article ) gives wonderful overview of social media ROI for a business (though not a publication).

The question about the future:

The news business model is not clear now. However, “somebody would always need to ‘dig the news’ for those who will pay for them.”

Whatever happens… Social media works… if it works, it will evolve.  We can not predict the future and the question “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” no longer makes sense. Not many companies will survive long enough, everything is constantly changing – we need to embrace the change.

“If this question was asked five years ago, nobody would be able to predict that we would be at Social Media Breakfast now… “  😉

Health Camp Minnesota

health-campHealth Camp Minnesota: “Health care – Technology – social Media. A conference created by and for health care delivery providers, and payers, and medical device producers in Minnesota.”  Video reviews.

Most interesting insights (from my perspective):


smugLee Aase (Manager of Syndications and Social media for the Mayo Clinic). 
Social Media University, Global

Lee mentioned that he was “navigating hierarchy and impacting innovation” at Mayo. He also made an interesting point: “you can be so strategic that you can not actually do anything, but it is still important to see the larger picture.”

  • Social media is the defining trend in communications in the 21st century
  • Social media will dramatically affect every industry
  • Health care organizations should engage with social media. Health care is not unique…

One curious point that I saw during Lee’s presentation was social media search for unique material that can be used online, rather than “planning and producing campaigns.”  In many cases, the company found an advocate and used the story or video rather than trying to “create” something. One satisfied patient found through social media was used later in print campaign.

Charming example: an old couple playing piano in the atrium of Mayo clinic. More than 4 million views on YouTube…

Blogging… difficult to get physicians to write. Easier: interviewing physicians on video. Video is used to pitch to journalists also. Important; getting flip cameras and training staff how to use them. How is legal reacting?  Mayo legal counsel is on Twitter…

How to deal with negativity: not that many negative comments – people on Facebook in particular rarely post something negative – they are using their own name and will not criticize without a good reason.

Mayo uses WordPress! 🙂

Sharing Mayo Clinic (blog for patients to share stories)  


Mayo clinic employees social media policies are easy to find.  

Mayo clinic presentation can be found at SMUG site.   

Panel I 

David Moen, MD, medical director of care model innovation, Fairview; Colleen McGuire, vice president-communications, IHC Health Solutions

Clinicians are less nervous about social media than PR, Marketing, and Legal… but physicians may not like the situation when a patient comes with a folder of collected information… However, this is a culture issue, not technology issue.

Health care challenge is to recognize the opportunity. Health care is a business… how would we pay physicians who use social media for their time? 

Who will pay for the online communities where patients can communicate?  But… if we can demonstrate lower costs and improved outcomes, maybe an interested party can be found…

Problem with public perception of health insurance companies. Only 7% of people “like” health insurance companies.

E-mail test:

  • Wellness e-mail sent from insurance company – little response
  • The same e-mail sent without identification that it was an insurance company – much higher response

(I heard about similar results from research done in the past by other insurance companies.) 

Interesting: Health Camp conferences discuss cost in US and access in Canada… and nobody is happy with their system….

Pannel II

John Reid, chief executive officer, AbbeyMoor Medical, Mary Halet, Regional Director  for the National Marrow Donor Program; Pat Kullmann, moderator, CEO, CG3 Consulting.

Prostatic stent promotion through a humorous YouTube video became an unexpected success for a small b-to-b company.

Star-TribuneThe video also lead to an article in Star Tribune

John Reid his earlier fears to become a joke of the industry, but the success of the video definitely worth the risk.

The original idea of the video was that young people would watch and forward to their uncles, etc. However, YouTube audience could be 45-55 years old (based on Mayo research).

Interesting: the company provides online training sessions (could not afford sales force) and physicians do sign up… even older physicians participate.

National Marrow Donor program employs 2 FTEs to listen and use social media; it is a ”deliberate” use of the channel.

iMobileHealthiMobile Health  provides access to patient-physician community via iPhone. The service is subscription based, but has a free trial.

 Panel III

Tamara Young, Ph. D.  – Health Scoop, Chris Boyer – Health Grades,  and Chris Bevolo  – moderator.

The question about negative reviews… Health Scoop receives 4:1 positive reviews.

Interesting note: a class of students joined the session. Students were not shy to ask questions, and one of the questions was built on applying Netflex functionality to some of the health care rating sites. The new generation (when they start using health care information online) seems to expect features and usability with which they are already familiar through consumer sites. 

health-Scoop      Health-grades

There are many sites grading physicians… the most important factor, however, is which content shows up on Google searches…

Very good event!  When is the next one?  🙂

Unsummit – Interactive Marketing Un-conference

unsummitMy first unsummit was very insightful. Though extensive audience participation is not typical, this type of events poses more questions than answers. The topic is perfect – nobody is an expert – we are all learning in real time and trying to catch up with interactive marketing universe. 

Interesting points:

Social media: it is important to have a strategy. What are you trying to communicate? Facebook is a tool, not a strategy. The decision “we should be involved into Facebook” can not be considered strategic.

The army experiment (not so good): One group decided to set up a Facebook page. However, the page did not have a following of fans (was not sufficiently promoted to fans) and attracted people who did not support the army. The Facebook page was used as an online “protest;” soon after the Facebook page went live the protest was organized outside of the unit’s building. The protesters most likely used the Facebook page to find each other and organize.  

Another army experiment (good): prospective recruits could ask questions through the website, and soldiers from different parts of the world answered these questions on the video. The video was posted on the site unedited. This approach increased the credibility of the organization.

Internal communication:

yammerCompanies are using private Facebook pages and Yammer. Medtronic encourages all new hires to sign up on Yammer during the orientation. Price Waterhouse discovered that Yammer helped people who work in different locations to communicate better and extended the practice to the whole company.

The “intranet” becomes more collaborative… the move is inevitable.

New tools

dropboxDrop Box  – a tool that allows saving large files on the cloud to be accessible from different computers.

setster  Setster – a free tool for adding appointment setting functionality to web sites and blogs. The consultant that recommended the tool noted that his clients are using the tool quite willingly.

todoist  Todoist  – a free tool for creating… to do lists in a quite sophisticated form.

xmind  XMind – a free team brainstorming and mind-mapping tool.

Social media reality check session tried to return the unsummit attendees back “to the real world,” where average person may not be as comfortable with the new tools and ideas as everybody in the room…

We should not try to set trends; we should utilize trends that already exist.

 The most popular tools of the future will be most likely “low friction” tools – the applications that are simple and easy to use.

One of the presenters was working on the real estate iPhone app that allows the person to enter his preferences for a house. When the person would be half a mile from any matching house on sale, the phone would ring and inform about the house on sale.

Personal information right now: the user goes to places (sites) that have his personal information. In the future, the personal information might be stored in the browser, and the sites would “react” to this personal information.

Minnov8  – a podcast done by a local group highlighting innovations of local companies in the interactive space.


The minnov8 group brought up an interesting point: in the past the definition of “genius” was an exceptionally gifted scientist making discoveries by himself. In the future, the definition of “genius” will change to the person who is able to synthesize ideas of many gifted scientists…

 “In the future, it is not what you know, it is what you share.”

danahboydRecommendation to review publications of Danah Boyd – Social Media Researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.


Development trends: attempts to transpose to mobile what already exist online. This approach does not make sense and can be compared to early paining of children in adult clothes (during the time when children were perceived just small adults).

Mobile is different – “it is not your website squished down.”

But, the question is: How can I get all that content to the mobile?  This question is similar to a more prosaic task: How do I feed a toddler nutritious food if he is not going to sit through a meal?  The answer: Snacks!! 🙂  

We need to “snakefy” mobile information for the user. Typical user is not viewing mobile content longer than 5 minutes.

ralphGood example or mobile applications is Ralph Lauren

fiercewirelessMobile resource: Fierce wireless.  The site has a free newsletter subscription and can be searched for verticals topic (health care, etc.) specifically. 

  • Prediction: Android devices are expected to outstrip the rest.
  • Most people do not read “long form” on a mobile devise; they bookmark something interesting to read later.
  • Completion of tasks on mobile devices now is less than 50% (usability issues across devices).
  • New term: m-commerce –  mobile commerce. 

Important: to fail fast and cheaply and learn from it (last session).

Unsuccessful examples:

A beer brand created a contest for schools which offered students to send a picture where they were “interacting with the brand.” The brand had a ranking of “party schools” and offered an ultimate prize – a trip to Cancun for a spring break. The problem: colleges and parents did not like it and the campaign had to be stopped. 😉

slurpee  Slerpee  created its own branded social network for enthusiasts. The probability that the people would join one more social network is less comparing to adding a possibility of interaction with the brand to the social networks that already exist. Definitely an expensive effort. Better approach would be a Facebook app or a simple Ning site. “Go where the people are…”

 More successful example:

Kreg-community Kreg tool company created a simple Ning community for people who use their tools. The community is active and can help its members to solve problems in the area of tools (what is important for the brand). This is definitely successful (and inexpensive) effort.

AMA – Social Media (now I love HootSuite…)

presenterThe event was quite interesting and at the end I was determined to invest more energy into understanding HootSuite used by the presenter. Now I am a fan! 😉 Goodbye good old TweetDeck…  

Highlights from the event:

  • hootlogo85% of consumers believe that a company should not only have a presence in the social media universe, but also interact with the consumers
  • 78% of those who are 45 – 60 years old are computer users… their top activity online is… dating.
  • Generation “net” – people born to the social networking world – is the first “global” generation; they can communicate as easily with pears anywhere in the networked world and consider it natural.
  • 90% of purchasing decisions are started on search engines
  • Social media: one engage follower worth 100 unengaged followers

The presenter uses HootSuite  because it allows managing multiple accounts and provides analytics. It also allows following others without leaving HootSuite (unlike TweetDeck).


HootSuite also has a built-in scheduling mechanism and “hootlet” allowing to tweet easier by clicking a browser button and modifying almost ready “tweet” with already shortened URL.


Interesting: if originated by Twitter, looks like traffic from Twitter in reports, but (HootSuite shortening) is a separate traffic source…

I612 – The Silent Click: Building Brands Online

i612The i-612 event was centered around the dilemma of interactive marketing – if everything can be measured as a direct response, would it be the best (or the only?) measurement of the campaign success?

Highlights from the presentation:

The possibility of measurement “the click” is increasing: in UK online ad spending already surpassed TV ad spending.

However, CTR for rich media ads are low (based on DoubleClick benchmarks). I had an opportunity to see Dart reporting for some campaigns and the numbers are definitely not surprising.

Industry CTR:
 – Wellness – 0.1%
 – Financial Services – 0.06%

Another concern: only 16% of the online audience – “natural born clickers”  – are responsible for 80% of clicks. The “natural born clickers” tend to be young (24 – 44), and lower income ( <40K, online average income ~60K ).

Consumers spend time online differently comparing to the last 5 years.


The interesting point is that social networks took time away from “communication” rather than “content.”

The study, conducted by comScore, assessed 80 of the biggest branding campaigns across 200 of the most trafficked sites over a month’s time analyzing consumer behaviors of those Internet users who were exposed to display advertising. “The Silent Click” measured three consumer actions: 1) searches conducted related to the advertisers’ brands; 2) site visitation, the traffic driven to the advertisers’ site and 3) consumer spending, the e-commerce transactions related to the advertisers’ brands.

Aggregate results:

After being exposed to the online advertisement, consumers are more likely to search for advertised brands and visit advertiser’s web site. When thy visit advertiser’s site, these consumers spend more time on the site and view more pages. Consumers exposed to the advertisement also spend 7% more money on e-commerce sites. The consumers who visit sites after being exposed to the ads are more affluent comparing to the average.


The presentation gives excellent data by verticals and advertising categories.

However, the number of exposures to the ads was not considered in the research.  Targeting was also not measured.

Panel discussion after the presentation emphasized that measurement of the marketing efforts must be consistent with the campaign objective.

AMA – The future of Health Care Marketing

The future of Health Care Marketing was another informative session from AMA Health Care SIG series. 

Interesting points:

A couple of decades ago health care and marketing were incompatible. Even now, “What is the role of marketing?” is still debated in health care.

HospitalIn health care, most marketing efforts are focused in the areas where consumer can make a decision, maternity care for example. HealthEast employs 120 physicians and over 450 refer patients to the organization.

Many information systems in health care organizations were designed for financial purposes, not marketing. It creates additional difficulty.

Not long ago quality of health care was not an issue – patients assumed that the quality was high and did not express any desire to “shop” for health care services. Now, 30% of patients claim to be interested in evaluating quality of health care services; most of these patients either have a health condition themselves, or have somebody in the family with health conditions.

liftA decade ago an internet was used to supplement the primary media sued for health care promotions. Today the Internet is the primary media. “We hardly do anything without creating a microsite.” Microsites are used as an additional call to action and reinforcement of the message that can not be fully communicated on the web site itself. HealthEast had to face constraints of cuts and over last two year cut 43% of staff and costs.

Patient-MacrositeHealthEast promotes some of its facilities as “destinations,” for example; Woodland is positioned as an orthopedic destination. A facility is appropriate as the destination center if it has not only high quality care, but also a high patient satisfaction rate.

The nature of health care will remain episodic and transactional; it is important to establish the relationships with the patient, to become a “partner.”

What kind of improvements patients seek based on the surveys?  A few years ago hospitals were evaluated on a “hotel service” – quality of food, etc. Now, patients changed their views, but the patients requests are still simple:

  • need to be acknowledged as an individual
  • the treatment needs to be explained to the patient
  • the patient needs to be introduced to everybody who will be involved.

HealthEast is trying to fulfill these requirements through recruitment and hiring.


HealthEast pays attention to the architecture to improve the healing process. Research shows that hospital surrounding can speed up healing and reduce the need for pain medication. The interior of the building has soft colors and aesthetically pleasing (including light fixture in the patient rooms). Natural light is used as much as possible and most rooms have wonderful view. The hospital uses wooden elements which were also known to help healing process. The portion of the room with outlets for the equipment is designed as a wooden panel – the outlets hidden in the wall. Patient rooms are private, with space for the family and shortest possible distance from the bed to the bathroom to decrease patients’ falls. 

AMA-blogMarketing News published a detailed article describing the campaign to introduce the new hospital. The campaign is credited for 0.5% increase in market share in October and November 2008; budget for the campaign was $825,000. St. Joseph’s CyberKnife Center received 40% increase in patients during last year – year and a half.

vimeoInteresting – the stories were posted both on YouTube and Vimeo, and not surprisingly YouTube videos were more popular.