Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why Research needs Social Media?

Research has often put excessive demands on the virtual infrastructure of any organization. If we look at the significant innovations that have come out in the last decade most of them were created because of the need for the research community to collaborate. Tim Berners Lee who is the father of world wide web (www) created the network so that research scientists at CERN could share information.

Similarly Google came out of the need for Stanford Research scientists to have access to all research data.

In the current context Social media could very well be the next step. This will not only encourage greater collaboration between scientists across the globe but also lead to cross functional participation in a particular activity.

One can imagine the possibilities if engineers, Ecologists, Chemical Engineers and designers could collaborate across continents on a new automobile technology.
Not only the knowledge sharing would be fast, it will also be real time and all the scientists require is internet connection. This will also help scientists to not to depend on large and expensive infrastructure.

Secondly activities like market research can be carried out on social media in real time as well. Most networks like LinkedIn already have the facility of setting up polls on the sites. A more advanced application like survey Monkey can be sued to create a questionnaire and it can circulated among the target cohort. Also as some social networks have logical grouping like Google Plus which has circles, this activity is less time consuming.

But there are some barriers to extensive use of Social Media for research

1) Security- Data Security and Data Integrity remains the biggest challenge. All Social Networks have security measures but they are not adequate to protect the integrity of scientific data.

2) Volume - If the volume of data to be exchanged is huge, social networks again could not be used for the activity. Some of the scientific data runs into Terra bytes and would require dedicated servers of their own.

There could be other challenges and this is something that may require a collaborative discussion.

So I would like to hear your views on the same. How can social Networks be best leveraged for research work?

Dr Vikram Venkateswaran is a marketing professional with almost 10 years of experience. He can be followed on twitter @drvikram. He also blogs at www.doctersoccer.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Medical Devices can go Direct to customers through Social Media

Traditionally, direct-to-consumer marketing strategies have not been a part of medical device organizations artillery. Now medical device companies can directly inform patients about treatment options as they are searching on their symptoms and conditions through blogs and portals.

Sermo: Social Network for Physicians.
Image Source: www.sermo.com
CafePharma. Sermo. Pharmaphorum, Pharma Marketing Blog are few of the examples. However, the major challenge being faced is from the inadequate and antiquated rules created by FDA to ensure that the information provided is not false or misleading. FDA rejects internet advertising that provides risk information via hyperlinks and has forced companies to implement costly corrosive actions and incur monetary fines. Novartis Pharmaceuticals have been the latest victims of FDA as they failed to provide the complete risk information on one page.

Despite the vagueness of current regulatory guidance, it is possible for medical device industry to conduct effective social media campaigns that maintain compliance:

a) Policies should be developed for employee use of social media to ensure that only company-approved statements are used.

b) Social media should be used for promotional claims when risk information can be provided in close proximity to the claims without a hyperlink.

c) Organizations should present balanced risk and benefit information, and back safety and efficacy statements with labeling and clinical data.

d) Social media can be used for reminder advertisements without mentioning the indication for use.

e) More transparency should be generated with FDA to distinguish between third party and company controlled website content.

It’s time for medical device companies to leverage these new opportunities and should be prepared to take advantage of social media avenues to create better products and benefit patients.

About the author

Dr. Sumeet Kad is a Marketing and Business Strategy professional with over 4 years of experience in Healthcare/Life Sciences & FMCG sector. He is an avid reader, irregular blogger and a gadget freak. He blogs at www.newagemarketing.wordpress.com and has co-authored a book based on it. He can also be followed on Twitter @sumeetkad.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Can Social Media find a place in the Classroom? (Research)

Growing number of Educators say a “Yes” – says a research!

The post, “Can Social Media ever have an Academic Purpose”, is one of the most consistently viewed article on this blog. Similarly, “Why the Education sector is keen to adopt Social Media?”, resulted in the 2nd most trafficked day here this month. While Facebook and Twitter are both hugely popular Internet tools, I still find myself a little surprised by the popularity of these posts, considering the academic perspective of we - TheSocialPeople. Upon a general research online amongst the Academic community, I learnt that many teachers, even those at online universities, are hesitant to use such popular tools, given their inherent risk of exposing students to inappropriate content.

Of course these are two very different types of tools, but they both have their place in the social networking sphere. Facebook’s place is at the top of the heap (as of this writing it is the second most popular site on the Internet, right behind Google), while Twitter defined the genre of “micro blogging” (but much of its use is also in a social networking context).

It appears that Twitter is more widely used in the classroom, based on the volume of articles on this topic that I have come across during my online research. One obvious reason for this difference is that Facebook is limited to ages 13 and over, while Twitter has no age restrictions. Facebook is also more likely to be restricted on school networks. Perhaps if teachers were more aware of how a Facebook page and profiles can be configured to provide an appropriate level of privacy for course work, they (and school administrators) might be more open to considering its use (more on that below). Of course, there are also other educational scenarios that lend themselves more readily to a tool like Facebook, such as online universities and online courses.

Here are a few of the examples of Facebook playing a productive role in the classroom that I have come across. I will be doing a detailed case study about the use of popular social networking applications in the classroom and will discuss examples like these, and others that I learn about on this blog in the coming months:

·         Professor Gideon Burton’s work with Facebook: I first learned about Professor Burton during a random search on Facebook on “Social Media Education” where I ended up on a profile of a student where she commented, 

In my British Literary History course last winter semester, my professor created a class Facebook group which we all joined.  We’d finish our reading for class and then get online and write a paragraph about what we’d read, focusing our comments on the specific course aims that my professor had created for the class.  We would then go to class where my professor would note the ways in which we’d covered the material well and he’d teach anything we missed as well as anything else he wanted us to know.” 

This was definitely a lovely insight on how a simple initiative and lead to an effective collaborative learning environment. It really justifies my statement I always habitually quote in context to this – “A tool is after all just a tool, the real person to blame is the person who chooses to use it or abuse it.

Click here to visit a Facebook discussion group for one of Professor Burton’s Early British Lit classes.

·         University of South Florida teacher uses Facebook in class: I recently came across this article about USF graduate student Alessandro Cesarano, who teaches a Beginning Spanish class, and uses Facebook for homework assignments and class discussions in lieu of Blackboard. Cesarano is seen quoting that he likes the Facebook page better than Blackboard because students have more access to authentic cultural material, and so it saves him a lot of time that otherwise he had to invest to train people on how to use the Learning tool.

·         Facebook has recently launched a “Groups at [University Name]” feature as an initiative to promote a highly collaborative learning environment amongst the Educational Institutions. This article explains on how this feature works and also disproves a lot of accusations on Facebook that it is a major distraction in the pursuit of a Learning tool. Honestly I am really excited to look at this feature to be rolled out to more schools and other communities.

Below is the snap shot of my comment that I couldn’t help put up on the trail and it’s corresponding comment:

On the whole the prospect of Social Media and Education eventually going hand-in-hand is no longer a matter of choice. From the data that I see, IT IS THE FUTURE. It’s just the matter of time that people start accepting it. So the real question here is not whether Social Media can/cannot be an ideal learning platform; I guess a choice on this is already made globally and the real question is on “HOW to make Social Media an ideal learning platform. I would be writing on this in my blog in the near future. 

To conclude - like any great idea even this one (Social Media collaborating with Education) has to go through all the 3 laws of Newton – Inertia, Momentum & Friction!

I’m really excited to see the day when Learning becomes Social in every way, global networking will be the essence of learning rather than limiting it to 4 walls, projects & assignment would be done & rated globally and over all to the day when there'll no illiteracy on the face of this planet.

Monday, December 19, 2011

[InfoGraphic] Social Media in Education Sector as of Today!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How a 140-Character Twitter Resume Could Land Your Next Job

Brangelina, TomKat…. Twesume?

Just like it sounds, “Twesume” unifies Twitter (your favorite micro-blogging platform) and your resume (yep, the one sitting on your hard drive).

In essence, a Twesume is a short bio or resume condensed into 140 characters or less. Sometimes paired with the #twesume hashtag, the Twesume can be tweeted, messaged or emailed to potential employers.

The great thing about the Twesume is that it’s a completely flexible, living document. Did you get promoted? No problem, just tweet the addition to your resume. Relocate? Totally fine.

What’s the Big Deal?

Like it or not, social media is only getting more influential. In 2011, 89% of companies used social networks for recruiting. As we venture into 2012, you’ll find that social recruiting will become more prominent, edging out job boards as a means to connect employers and job seekers.

Twesumes help job seekers get noticed by companies who use social recruiting. With the Twesume, a job seeker can introduce himself and engage with an employer in less time (and space) than a traditional resume and cover letter could ever manage.

How Can I Write My Own Twesume?

If you’re interested in jumping on the Twesume bandwagon, all you need is a Twitter account and something to say. Once you have your Twitter account squared away (be sure to have a picture, bio and some followers/followees), write your very own Twesume. While the Twesume can be anything you like, try to include this information: what you do, an accomplishment, a goal, skills and/or a link to a detailed profile or website.

Santa Claus: World traveler and toy expert. 300+ years management experience. Looking for position in entertainment industry. http://tinyurl.com/c9ursdp #twesume

Tweet this to your followers, DM to a specific employer or use as your Twitter bio. It really is as simple as that.

What does your Twesume say? Do you think Twesumes are here to stay? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Sean Weinberg is the COO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes and grades resumes instantly. Also the founder of Freedom Resumes, Weinberg has dedicated his career to helping job seekers write the best possible resumes. You can connect with Sean and the RezScore team on Facebook and Twitter (@RezScore)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How Social Media can enhance the effectiveness of Medical Devices firms.

Around the globe, social media venues, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Blogs to name a few, have experienced exponential growth, as a means for sharing and discussing ideas, information, and trends across various industries. But the medical device industry, worldwide, is lagging behind in using social media to communicate with prospects and customers mainly due to lack of a robust social media strategy by organizations and unclear FDA regulatory guidelines governing the use of social media.

Although employees are familiar with and use online networking tools as part of their day-to-day work flow, a cohesive company-wide social media policy is not present at the vast majority of medical device organizations. A 2011 research completed by MassMEDIC involving medical device industry personnel revealed that only 50% of the respondents’ companies have social media policies in place.

Social media, being a flexible, rapid and transformative communicative medium, offers an immediate and direct communications channel for medical device organizations to indulge in a dialogue with its customers, potential consumers and other key audiences. Tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter provide device companies an opportunity to introduce, educate and comment on multiple issues affecting the industry in terms of policy, product or competitive issues enabling the development of a more personal relationship with the consumer. Facebook, like LinkedIn, enables a device company to communicate directly with its audiences, answer questions, introduce and address issues. Twitter tends to allow and encourage more immediate initiation and response and allows medical device companies to develop a database of "followers" who can be future consumers of their products.

Social media can be used in the following areas by the medical device industry:

a) Product Innovation through consumer feedback: One-on-one conversation with the consumers through social media tools can provide tremendous insight into the various shortcomings of the medical device and help the organizations to improve their products based on the feedback by the customers and hence providing enhanced customer experience.

b) Marketing and Branding: Through thought leadership material, newsletters, company initiated dedicated blogs and portals that allow consumers to share experiences and gain valuable information about the device as well as the organization. But it is a double edge sword as negative publicity can also be a result.

c) Defining target market: With more and more people using internet as an effective source for gaining information on diseases and treatment options, social media tools provides an engaging platform for medical device industry to identify target consumers of their products and implement direct marketing strategies in their marketing mix.

I feel this is not an exhaustive list but surely there can be other ways in which Social Media can be integrated into the medical Devices industry business processes.

I would love to hear your views on the same.

About the author

Dr. Sumeet Kad is a Marketing and Business Strategy professional with over 4 years of experience in Healthcare/Life Sciences & FMCG sector. He is an avid reader, irregular blogger and a gadget freak. He blogs at www.newagemarketing.wordpress.com and has co-authored a book based on it. He can also be followed on Twitter @sumeetkad.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Human Resource Management Weds Social Media

Yes! That’s right finally Social Media has come to an age and it’s getting into an alliance with Human Resource Management (HRM) for a lifelong mutually beneficial partnership. Funny right? Now why I’m really excited about this whole engagement? Wasn't it always there in existence?

My answer to the first question has two very strong reasons – first, I come from the HR Background with around 10+ yrs of seeing THIS and doing THAT, and second is that I was one of the early adopters of Social Media way back in 2005 when Orkut & Hi5 (names sounds familiar, huh?) were the leaders in the social media space. The reason why I adopted social media into my profession is simple – both deal with networking, people and communication.

Coming to the second question, a BIG yes! In what I can take a privilege to say is that the romantic affair between HRM & Social Media was on-going since ages, but only now has Social Media matured to address all the needs, demands and maneuvers of HR management. The symbiosis between these two is highly fruitful considering their affinity and compatibility.

Since then each year at this time, I look forward to and habitually predict trends between social media & HR for the coming year. The year 2011 has been one of the most phenomenal year for the Social Media business. It was more focused on the essential factors like User Experience, User Interface, Content Curation, Social Network Mediation, Cross function usability and the most important of all which is also an icing on the cake is Social Media Intelligence and Analytics coming into existence. Now that promises a wonderful and exciting 2012.

Since the dotcom bubble exploded the job boards are on their way to being an obsolete channel to hire people by advertising jobs/vacancies. As a matter of fact a lot of job boards are mutating into the Social Media way to survive this change. In recent times a lot has been written and spoken about social media on the HR practice but honestly I’d confess that very little has been done towards it. For some reason my fellow HR folks did not opt to jump into the Social Media bandwagon early; the reasons of which can be listed and I’d be discussing them in my following post.

Speaking of the future of this great lovely wedding, I think it’s going to be wonderful in every aspect of HR (Recruitment, Employee/Employer branding, Employee Engagement, Training, Organizational Development, Corporate Communication, Thought Leadership, Exit Interview and even Alumni Engagement).

LinkedIn is a classic example of this marriage. It started off as a professional social networking portal but today it has the capacity to do recruitment, advertise jobs, enable employment and background checks, Increase credibility of individuals and companies, create a discussion groups or forums…. Sky is the limit! Now most of the companies do about 12% - 16% of their leadership hiring though LinkedIn; 70% of people use it for job hunting while 80% of the recruiters use it for recruiting or recruitment related networking. I really love the way LinkedIn evolved over these years from just a professional networking portal to a Social CRM that it is today.

Twitter is yet another social networking tool that is equipping itself towards this maneuver. In spite of it being a micro-blogging site with a limitation of 140 characters per tweet, it had its own share of contribution to the universe of Social Media – Collaboration and Cross functional synergies. Today Twitter when combined with a blog (blogger, wordpress and likes) is the most powerful form of propagating communication of any form. Lots of businesses have started tweeting on their vacancies, corporate announcements, employee branding. Talking of tweeter I’d be committing a crime not to mention its new twitter avatar with killer features like embedding tweets and new set of widget buttons. It speaks of the evolution of Social Media

Facebook which is considered an undisputed giant in the social media space still has a long way to go in being considered a focused contributor in the HRM maneuvers but it is definitely not going to lose the race. Most of the businesses are opting for a Facebook page today to engage employees, increase employer branding, propagate their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives or even their work culture. Best part about Facebook is that it’s loaded with all possible cosmetics – Photos, Videos, Blogs, Games, even analytics! The reason why it’s not so much in vogue amongst the professional circles is that most if the times these cosmetic features tend to be a major distraction. But as a social media enthusiast I always counter this problem with a simple statement that “Tools are tools, the real problem is the person who is opting to use it or abuse it.”

To conclude, one thing that is for certain is that this marriage is definitely fruitful and the by-products are really promising and exciting from what I envision. It is beneficial for all industries, niches and anyone who embraces it, and 2012 seems to a year when this “newlywed couple” would enjoy their honeymoon period to enhance the synergies and mutual understand each other before they actually get settled with some serious business ahead.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Can Social Media ever have an Academic Purpose?

I still remember the days back when I was in school & the teacher would pass out handouts & fliers  These fliers contained information on school events, fundraisers and other important events. Then came the internet in the late 90’s. It was wholeheartedly adopted by Academic institutions and it changed the way they communicate. Search Engine friendly websites and online knowledge database came into being thanks to Google. Exam results, grades and other important announcements were shared on the websites or via emails or via SMS.

Today we’re in the world of web2.0 where the World Wide Web has gone beyond just content sharing. It has now become personal by enabling collaboration and networking. With powerful Social Networking Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut that enable Sharing of videos & content, publishing of research, knowledge sharing and community discussion, It is my belief that Social Media is an ideal platform for Education Sector to adopt.
To further justify this belief, a simple fact that while I am writing this article there are about 9.2 million Facebook users that are between the age group of 13-23 years which makes it the largest group on Facebook that dominates about 40% of total users.
I guess this simple statistic with the fact that the Social Media Landscape today is all equipped to serve as a powerful tool for collaboration and what could soon become the greatest educational instrument ever created.

Problems with Technology in The Education System
When I first started reading into the problems educational institutes have had with technology in the past, much of it seemed to revolve around the misuse of technological tools by the teachers, the students or the administration.
For example, academic administrators fear that by having computers in the classroom, students will be tempted to play games, instant message with their friends, or even look at pornography instead of paying attention to the instructions that are being given in the classroom.
While these fears may sound a little absurd to someone like me who knows how to use these new technological tools appropriately, the fears and concerns expressed above are founded in reality.
That being said, most (if not all) of these cases were created because of an error made by a person – not a machine! The tools are not the problem. The people are the problem.
How Social Media Should Be Used For Education and Community Outreach?
That being said, I think social media, the Internet and technology in general is giving schools an incredible opportunity to communicate with their parents, teachers, and students in a way that has never been done in the past.
The fact of the matter is, the way we communicate and interact with the people around us is becoming ever more transparent. The worlds between work and play are colliding. The lines between business and personal are being crossed and the way things were done in the past won’t be possible in the future – unless, of course, you disconnect yourself from the grid entirely.
If our education system is ever going to catch up with the rest of society and jump on board the Web 2.0 bandwagon, we’ve got to change the way we think about technology in our classrooms and in our community. We can no longer view the Internet as something for the home, because it isn’t!
I honestly believe that if these new online technologies were used appropriately in the classroom, students could learn more on the Internet in a matter of weeks than they could learn in a traditional classroom in a matter of years. The trick to this progression in thinking and learning, however, is an appropriate use and understanding of how the Internet and the new social medial tools are meant to be used.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Social Media to revolutionize the Healthcare and Medical Devices Space.

As more and more companies today realize the potential of Marketing and communication of Social Media, tools like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have become a way of life and a powerful economic driving force.

Today a mind boggling number of 80% online users search of healthcare information on the web. Look back and I’m sure even you would have just googled information on some drug or medical equipment and read the comments and reviews left by the other online users. Lots of people in this way are referred to healthcare resources through friends on their social network.

As a matter of fact, Social Media is expected be one of the fastest growing professions by 2018 according to an independent survey by Bureau of Labor Statistics. But Social Media isn’t just face of the Marketing World. I believe it will have a huge impact in the realm of all the cycle of healthcare and medical equipments or devices.

Below are few of the pointers I carry as a vision on impact of Social Media on Healthcare and Medical devices sector:
  1. It would enable all the Healthcare Professional and Medical Devices Engineers to collaborate in a single channel leading to better service and product development real-time. This also opens up a channel of Knowledge transfer and exchange of ideas for a greater and faster growth.
  2. Might sound a little weird but Social Media can even enable patients suffering from serious diseases to network and share their experiences with one another. This has a psychological effect on improved health as they feel less alone and isolated. Also they can be updated about all the developments and advancement in the Medical Treatment and research space.
  3. Social Media would enable a unified voice for better healthcare initiatives. Users of social media have become the new watchdogs of industry. Patients and clients can use their power as part of an online social network to advocate better practices and expose abuses of the health care system. Research that once would have taken hours, or even days to track down in a library is readily available and ripe for sharing. This will lead to more educated patients willing to ask tough questions of medical professionals and health care providers.
  4. Social media will attract people who want to hear from someone they can relate to. Often, in the heath care world, customers and patients feel like they are being talked down to or not taken seriously by authorities in the medical, professional and government realm.
  5. Finally on the wholistic view point, Social Media can also help develop the Doctor-Patient Relationship. There are plenty of physicians, nurses and health care professionals who aren’t using Twitter or blogging. Experimenting with this could open up a new avenue of communication, allowing professionals to adapt and meet the needs of patients and customers.

Just like any business, social media may have a huge impact on the health care system. There will be challenges for doctors and other professionals looking for the right way to implement social media, but it’s a learning experience, one with the potential for huge advantages.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Why the Education sector is keen to adopt Social Media?

(Image source: edweek.org)
According to a recent Gartner report, Education seems to be a early adopter of social media. In fact it stands second to only media in the social media adoption. The findings are not surprising considering that most people below the age of 25 are very active on social media.

In the UK many school children are said to discussing their homework assignments on Facebook. Facebook is actually very popular across age groups but sees the highest activity in the 15-30 age group. many educational institutions have taken advantage of this trend and are heavily connecting with prospective students through their pages.

Harvard University for example has more than 1 million likes on their page on Facebook. They also are present on other social networks including You tube, twitter, Google +, Flick, Stumpleupon and Four Square.
One actually take a virtual tour of Harvard through an app which can be used on any smart phone.

In Spain many medical students are using Facebook to discuss medical cases. They have actually formed a closed group in which cases are uploaded along with diagnostic charts and radio graphs and cases discussed. This group is actually helping the students to prepare for examinations like the US MLE.

Many self help channels on You Tube have also been created. One such channel that I subscribe to is the David Lloyd Tennis school. They have excellent videos on important aspects of tennis like Serve and volley and I use them constant to improve aspects of my game.

I would like to hear your views, What else can be achieved through social media? Can the quality of education be improved by using social networks? How can consulting firms help in educators developing their social media blue print? I would like to hear your views on this topic.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Say goodbye to Google's black bar

The black navigation bar found at the top of every Google page has been annoying some users since its very debut, but don't worry — it's about to be old news.

Its replacement? A simple gray bar with a drop-down menu hidden underneath the Google logo.

According to the Official Google Blog, this changing of the guard is part of the company's ongoing redesign — which includes new looks for Search, News, Maps, Gmail and other Google products.

The new navigation bar will include three key features: A drop-down menu hidden under the Google logo, a search box for whichever Google service you're using at the moment and a section for Google+ share and notification tools.

Here's how all those things function together:

Much more appealing than the intrusive black navigation bar, no?

By the way: You shouldn't panic if you're still seeing the old black Google bar. The new one is being rolled out gradually, so it may be a while before it gets to you.

(Source: Technolog)