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Virtual Communities…Is it the new face-to-face?

ALA Virtual Communities and Libraries Member I...

ALA Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Initiative Group Meeting on Jan 24 2009 (3 of 3) (Photo credit: ALA staff)

Have you ever had an issue with a product and logged on to the company website and received valuable information about repairs and short-cuts you can take to improve? Have you used sites like Yelp to review discussions amongst customers about services or products that they have used? Well, these types of virtual communities are everywhere. From retail leaders like Amazon to colleges and universities around the world offering online classes to online dating sites like eHarmony, virtual communities are growing by the dozens and we are relying on them more and more.

As social media continues to grow, virtual communities will continue to evolve. Patients will communicate with one another in discussion groups to share experiences and ask for advice from other patients and eventually doctors. Consumers will continue to share their feedback by rating businesses and products. Singles will continue to use online dating services to find their future spouse. Websites like Receipes.com will allow individuals to share recipes, cooking secrets and short cuts as well as helpful hints to other cooks. We play games online with people around the world and don’t know who they are.

These trends will continue to grow as more and more people continue to leave busier and busier lives and utilize their mobile devices as their primary means of communications. I am not sure how virtual communities can grow more than they are already are and I am not sure of what triggers cause the movement. But what I do know is that you will be able to do almost everything in a virtual community. The only downside that I see is the next generation will lack social skills because they will rely so heavily on virtual communities. Face-to-face communication is becoming extinct.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Hospitals and Social Media…Is that a good combination?

There seems to be social media tools for every industry under the sun. Is social media truly the next best thing next to sliced bread? Well of course, it depends on who you ask and whether or not their social media strategy has been successful or not.

The hospital industry has slowly moved into the social media realm. I know it is hard to believe that this industry that has so many privacy laws can be successful with social media. But there are some success stories out there.  

  • Using Twitter and Facebook for an OB practice to educate patients and encourage patient to patient interaction
  • Scripps used Twitter to turn angry patients into loyal ones
  • Children’s Medical Clinic in Dallas tweeted about a kidney transplant from father to son

Learn more about these and other success stories. http://www.launchyourmovement.com/2010/04/10-hospital-social-media-success-stories/

But what about garnering new patients? Can social media help hospitals do that? Well, according to an article entitled Patients pick Hospitals for their Social Media Presence stated that 57 percent of consumers said that a hospital’s social media connections strongly affect their decision to accept treatment at that particular location.

Would social media presence persuade you to choose a facility or doctor over another? 

While there are many success stories, there are also much risk. According to Social Media Usage by Staff Complicates Hospital Risk Managementmuch of the risk stems from doctors “friending” patients, doctors posting information about a patient and using Twitter to pass along information during surgery. I don’t know about you but I would be a little concerned about my doctor tweeting while he is supposed to be performing a surgical procedure.

There has been so much change within the social media world and hospitals are starting to catch on. Does this new trend mean that hospitals not engaged with the right social tool will lose ground and patients? Or will we see an increase in lawsuits and new laws being put into place to prevent too much information sharing online. We don’t know what the future may hold on these issues. Only time will tell.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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