How Healthy is Social Media? – January 6, 2012

by admin on January 7th, 2012
How Healthy is Social Media?

While doing research for a job interview a few weeks ago,  I discovered a claim that only one-fifth of hospitals have any kind of social media presence. Further investigation  seemed to show the opposite -namely that in the space of four years, social media usage went from almost no-one to almost everyone. Wherever the truth lies, it says a lot that in a conservative and heavily regulated field like medicine, YouTube and Facebook  have started to become the norm. Whatever the pace of healthcare reform, it’s absolutely certain that more and more of us are going to expect to engage with our doctors online rather than on the phone, even when using our mobile devices.

Happy 2012, Brought to You by Zynga

Other than in New York City, where pretty much everyone is either going to be on, or see, public transit vehicles (a.k.a. mobile billboards)  it’s not easy for advertisers these days to know where their audiences are.  As people drop books, magazines and newspapers in favor of Kindles and iPads,  and avoid or record broadcast entertainment in order to skip seeing commercials, you’d think we’d be entering a new, more ad-free world. Yet as Esteban Contreras points out in his beautifully crafted “State of Social Media and Social Media Marketing in 2012” report, people of all ages and backgrounds are rapidly embracing online entertainment (a.k.a. mobile billboards). With 63 million Americans playing Farmville, Words With Friends, and the like, you’ll be seeing PLENTY of commercials in the coming year.

Weight Loss? There’s an App for That

While it can be foolhardy to draw conclusions from only anecdotal evidence, there are times when all it takes to spot a trend is to keep your eyes open. In my work as a WeightWatchers leader, for example, I’m exposed to one of the most ideal marketing demographics –middle class women from 30-55, often mothers, and often working 9-5. Over the past six years I’ve seen a radical shift in their behavior as it relates to technology: instead of paying week-by-week to attend meetings, more than three-fourths now take advantage of an ongoing month-to-month pass (which requires internet access). People who buy the pass, in turn have access to a suite of online tools that assist in the behavior change and weight loss process. Increasingly our customers are utilizing these tools on their phones, and only last month we launched a new barcode scanner app that they can use in thes upermarket. Look for us in stores everywhere!

Now Listen Up

Taking a class during my junior year abroad in the 1980s, my French professor was the only one in the room with a textbook. She dictated, and we wrote. Since I didn’t speak French, this was a real problem. As a result, it didn’t surprise me to learn that there’s a movement among some science teachers to forego lectures in favor of experiential learning. Turns out that talking to other people is often a great way to share techniques and strategies as well as information. I’m not sure what Madame Broussard would think, but I bet she’d be tres sceptique.


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