Friday, August 14, 2009

From Twitter 08-13-2009

  • 08:16:55: Fascinating SOCIAL MEDIA RESEARCH on multi-platform use. Exmpl- Only10% of FACEBOOK users TWEET, but 72% of tweeps use FB:
  • 18:18:21: News flash: The recession is over. IGNITE HEALTH is looking for PROJECT MANAGERS & PRODUCERS 4 IRVINE, CA Office:
  • 18:50:54: QUESTION: Anyone know an effective way to review folks who follow u and determine if to follow back or not? A shortcut/tool?

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

BIGresearch Profiles Social Media Users; Not all Created Equal

Source: BIGresearch

New Analysis Provides Roadmap for Digital Marketing

COLUMBUS, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) – 8/13/2009 – Marketers continue to grapple with effectively allocating media in a changing consumer-controlled marketplace in which social media is a growing force. According to a new analysis of BIGresearch’s Simultaneous Media Usage Survey (SIMM 14-Jun 09) of over 22,000 consumers, social media impacts consumers, which in turn directly impacts marketers, but not all options are the same. Social media users are likely to use more than one platform, some at a higher rate than others. For example, 60.2% of MySpace Users (those who regularly use the application) regularly use Facebook. On the other hand only 24% of Facebook Users utilize MySpace.

Demographically, social media users tend to be younger than the overall population, more are female and they have a slightly higher income. Additionally, marketers planning on moving products should focus on this consumer set as they are more likely to be making a big dollar purchase over the next six months than adults 18+.

When looking specifically at the user of each platform, Facebook users average 37 years old and MySpace users are the youngest at an average age of 33 of those profiled. LinkedIn users have the highest incomes. Social media usage for ethnic groups indexes high across most social medias.

For additional complimentary data:

About BIGresearch
BIGresearch is a consumer intelligence firm providing analysis of behavior in areas of products and services, retail, financial services, automotive and media. BIGresearch conducts the monthly Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (CIA) of 8,000+ respondents and the semi-annual Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM) of 15,000+ respondents. More information is available at

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From Twitter 08-12-2009

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New PEW Report: Forty Years After Woodstock, A Gentler Generation Gap

Source: PEW Research Center

Download a copy of the full report by clicking here or on the image below.

The biggest perceived differences emerged in two predictable areas: use of new technology and preferences in music. Nearly nine-in-ten respondents say the generations differ in the way they use the Internet, computers and other kinds of new technology (87%). Moreover, nearly three-quarters of those interviewed (73%) say young and older people are “very different” in the way they handle these new tools of the information age—the single largest difference recorded in the poll.

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Word-of-mouth spending continues to grow

Source: ePharm5

Whereas most advertising channel budgets are being slashed, word-of-mouth advertising is growing, according to PQ Media. The research firm found that word-of-mouth spending in online communities in the United States increased 26.6% in 2008 to $119 million. The company projects it will continue to rise 14.5% compounded annually between 2008 and 2013. Consumer goods firms spent the most on word-of-mouth (17.4%), followed by food and drink companies (12.2%), and finance and B2B services (9.5%). Healthcare and pharmaceuticals fell in the middle with 4.1%.

To learn more about PQ Media's Word-of-Mouth Marketing Forecast, click here.

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Google Revs 'Caffeine' Search Engine; SEO Experts Speak Out

Original Post: Online Media Daily
by Laurie Sullivan

Google has revealed a new version of its search engine, allowing people to take it for a spin and review results it returns. The engine, available at a test URL address, looks the same as the one being used at, but ranks query results differently.

Sitaram Iyer, Google staff software engineer, and Matt Cutts, Google principal engineer, in a blog post late Monday called the engine "a secret project," the next-generation architecture for Google's Web search intended to process and return faster, more accurate results. "It's the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions," they wrote.

Google says the project, code-named "Caffeine," has been in the works for months, although the announcement comes just weeks after Microsoft and Yahoo reported a deal that Bing would power Yahoo sites.

"The Caffeine update isn't about making some UI changes here or there," Cutts writes in a separate blog post, suggesting that even power users won't notice much difference. "This update is primarily under the hood: we're rewriting the foundation of some of our infrastructure."

Although Caffeine is just a test at this time, a Google spokesperson says the Web content indexing system will not have an impact on paid search listings, as David Szetela, Clix Marketing founder, suspected.

The team unveiled the new search engine hoping to gain feedback from the development community. And feedback they're getting. SEO Guru David Harry points to Google's array of algorithms, which it makes 300 or so changes to yearly. He says Google already supports 'real time,' fresher results."

"I can't see a big announcement similar to this as limited to, or targeted at, more real-time results," Harry says. "We're going to have to let the dust settle on this one and wait until it is released into the wild before truly deciding what it will -- or won't -- mean to the SEO world. Anything beyond that is mere supposition, an attempt to play into the buzz surrounding it."

But some believe the fact that Google has solicited input from developers and SEO experts may send an important signal that the algorithm could change in more significant ways than usual, according to Marty Weintraub, president of aimClear, a SEM agency with offices in Duluth and Minneapolis, Minn. Pretty much everything Google changes matters somehow, he says.

"Google's standard method is to impose changes, from subtle to major, and leave SEOs to figure out the ramifications, as we all pick shrapnel out of our backside," Weintraub says. "Though, I also wonder if the transparency here is in response to Google's mishandling of the noFollow issue and previous 'brand' update. Either way, the transparency is refreshing."

Bryson Meunier, associate director of Content Solutions at Resolution Media, says the update is mostly about speed and index size. Rankings have changed little. And on first review, blended search results do not seem prominent, but that could just be while in beta, he says.

Meunier believes marketers and SEO professionals should run core keywords through the developer URL to see if their rankings have changed. "Once it's rolled out to, best practices call for continually tweaking on and off-page factors to reverse-engineer the update and keep and improve your visibility," he says.

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Vitrue Rolls Out One-Stop-Shopping Social Media Planning And Metrics Tool

Original Post: Online Media Daily
by Gavin O'Malley

Marketers and technology vendors continue to salivate over social networks and their latent potential for deep consumer engagement. In that vein, social media services provider Vitrue, Inc. has rolled out a Web-based application suite for brands to better manage, schedule and automatically publish across Facebook and Twitter.

By providing measurement and real-time analytics, the new Social Relationship Manager, or SRM, is designed to make managing a brand's social presence a simpler endeavor.

"The Vitrue SRM enables marketers to treat social media as a true marketing medium with the traditional approach of segmentation, dayparting and scheduling," said Reggie Bradford, CEO of Vitrue.

In January, Vitrue also released a suite of Facebook-specific applications for brands to apply marketing components to their Facebook presence.

"Facebook provides unparalleled distribution," said Adam Benjamin, chief strategy officer at Vitrue.

The Facebook applications, including contest, media gallery and surveying solutions, will attempt to achieve deeper engagement between brands and consumers.

The Atlanta-based Vitrue is one of many companies seeking to provide brands and agencies with a technology platform to integrate social media programs into their marketing mix, including user-generated content campaigns, promotional contests, branded communities and social network applications.

The Vitrue SRM is comprised of three powerful components: A Social Publisher for marketers to customize and format "wall posts" on Facebook; a Social Planner task calendar; and a Social Insights analytics suite.

Vitrue also recently launched a suite of services to help clients better understand the social media space. The consultative arm builds on a Social Media Index, which the company had recently launched to help brands and agencies measure their "share of voice" across the Web.

Vitrue's technology includes content-sharing tools, community functionality, program management dashboards and brand safety controls for moderation. The Strategic Services suite provides analysis on a brand's current social media presence, competitor comparisons, and overall industry trend analysis.

On the brand side, Vitrue clients include Unilever, Asics, Dell, and Anheuser-Busch, while direct marketing clients include Skechers and 1-800-Flowers.

The Social Media Index system can determine a daily share-of-voice index for a brand by tracking the extent of online conversations about that brand, including mentions on social networks, blogs and Twitter and video and photo sharing.

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From Twitter 08-11-2009

  • 07:55:23: TransforMED Launches 1st Social Network 4 PCPs, Physician Extenders & Office Staff:
  • 21:07:14: Good post! "Sticky or stuck?" Emma D'Arcy writes about pharma and social media with fresh energy:
  • 21:10:11: Great post, as usual :) "Thinkers and Doers in Pharma": (via @MaverickNY)
  • 21:23:17: My thoughts and prayers go out to a dear friend whose 4-year old baby girl passed away today. God must have needed another angel. :(

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sticky or stuck?

Source: Pharma Focus
Written by: Emma D'Arcy

How the industry can overcome its reservations of social networking and forge new more open online relations with doctors.

The 60's philosopher and communications guru Marshall McLuhan said, "the medium is the message" and certainly the current buzz around social media could lead you to conclude this new medium will soon overshadow all other media.

The pharma industry is currently conspicuously absent from online conversations about health and medicines. Web 2.0 and social networking have seen new sites and interactive discussions spring up everywhere on the web, but few pharma companies have a voice.

Except for a few companies (Pfizer 'eavesdropping' into, GSK 'corporate-talking' through its 'More than Medicine' blog and several companies using Twitter for corporate and employee communications) the industry is lagging in the endeavour to truly innovate its interactions with the medical community, particularly via social media.

Can social media improve relations with physicians?

The term 'social media' under the umbrella of web 2.0 technologies originated as customer support, using surveys, polls, focus groups, online forums and discussion groups to garner feedback on products. Today's social media tools (blogs, networks, wikis, podcasts, RSS and now tweets) all contribute to the user-generated opinion and peer-to-peer online conversations.

Social networks are communities in which individuals are connected through values, working relationships, ideas and friendships. To enter into such online conversations, companies must engage in genuine information exchange rather than data-dump, so that both parties benefit from the relationship. Accordingly, as trust builds through active listening and sharing, loyalty develops which leads to a more lasting and meaningful relationship. This is known as 'stickyness' in web 2.0 vernacular.

For the pharmaceutical industry this offers a remarkable chance to interact with physicians and patients.

Against a tirade of allegations about undue influence, unnecessary spending and inappropriate relationships with its customers, industry can start to use more on the power of social networking and social media to align more transparently with these groups. However, this paradigm-shift in communication is an alarming conceptual challenge to pharmaceutical companies who, as the most heavily-governed industry, have always had to be careful about accuracy of the dissemination of information about their products, pipelines and objectives.

The value that social media offers to companies, and the opportunity to revolutionise and elevate physician-industry interactions to an equal, collaborative footing could be lost if industry cannot see past its own fears and stigmas surrounding web/health/physician 2.0. Whichever term you prefer - the majority of industry is stuck in the read-only internet.

Overcoming inhibitions

To capitalise on social networking industry must overcome its inhibitions about social media, which are rooted in a fear of litigation, and an environment that lacks formal guidance and protocol. So far, the self-governing trade associations have been evasive about the governance of social media, hence companies opt to not engage in the new media.

From a communications and PR perspective, the desire to dismiss social media is understandable because it is forcing a fundamental shift in mindset. The industry still has to be persuaded that moving from formal, periodic, outbound 'broadcasts' to real-time and direct 'participation' is not science-fiction but medical-science fact. Less secrecy about your product, people and company is compelling and humanising - it offers the chance to end the 'pharma is the big bad wolf' story.

Given that there are approximately 260,000 doctors on Sermo and more than 120,000 physicians using, it is evident that stakeholders are willing to engage in this way using this medium. If industry's voice remains notably absent, however, it is likely that scepticism will surface. Industry will be chastised for deliberately choosing not to participate. If incorrect information is posted about a product for example and a choice is made to ignore it or not correct it, the interpretation (fair or unfair) may be perceived to be the moral equivalent of not coming to the aid of a person in trouble. It is in industry's best interest to register that social media is more than a passing-trend; it is the principle way in which physicians and patients want to communicate already. Like it or loathe it, the Facebook/Twitter/Bebo generation are super multi-taskers who consume 20 hours worth of multi-media streams in only a seven hour real-time every day. And this choice of interaction is not limited to teenagers, nor is it the lonely pursuit of the stereotyped computer-geek; the most recent Manhattan Research survey of US trends revealed that 'those with a voice online tend to be older, with much professional experience and something to say.'

Social media calls for experimental participation

There are already a plethora of blogs and physician-physician and patient networks that have appeared to radically alter the patient-physician-pharma communication triangle. The absence of the industry in these online conversations is remarkable. There are at least five times more patient-originated social media sites than there are ones prepared by or directly for industry. Also unusual is the lack of a 'place' for the industry to engage directly with the medical community with equality; although there are several sites for healthcare professionals.

Online marketing has clear potential in simple business terms, too. The ROI from traditional marketing channels is declining and the colossal spend on doctor-detailing via the sales force is no longer acceptable to patients or to the public. Relationships with doctors, however, will remain pharma's main conduit for dissemination of product data and companies would be wise to participate directly and pioneer the value in social networking opportunities.

Such enlightenment is hard to find, however. Traditional medical education communication companies (MECC) are keen to help their pharmaceutical clients map their journey to this promise of 'open relationship nirvana' through social media applications (and specialist digital groups are trying to work with MECCs to become visible to pharma), but more often than not their creativity gets quashed by the fear of industry to wade into unchartered territory. Richard Evans, managing director of DarwinGrey says: "The pharmaceutical industry is slower to use social media compared with other sectors because of part-perceived and part-real regulatory hurdles and the operational complexities of where exactly a social media strategy should be managed and with which external agency experts. A mix of corporate affairs, legal, regulatory and eStrategy expertise will drive the adoption of social media internally because ultimately it will be the company's reputation that is open to dissection.

"As such, when social media credentials and capabilities are discussed, we are never surprised that while clients are familiar with the concepts the freedom to pursue far reaching plans is often not yet in place - but it is changing."

David Moore, vice-president eMedFusion, KnowledgePoint360, provides another insight into why his agency's pharma clients can seem shy to engage. He suggests there is scepticism surrounding the translation from a personal origin to a professional application of the approach: "The stigma of this being associated with an adolescent Facebook/pop music superficiality is difficult to shake off [and] that social media are in-vogue but lack depth which is completely alien to the clinical-trial/data-demand culture that pharma are required to operate in".

This echoes one of the common criticisms levelled at social media - inaccuracy - which accompanies general concern about a sense of 'loss of control' of content in online conversations. The simple counterpoint to this is one of participation and proven statesman-like behaviour - with social media there are potentially millions of voluntary contributors, editors and fact-checkers who are compelled to substantiate, ratify and corroborate.

And online communities do not tolerate miscreant attempts to destroy, hijack or pollute the e-environment in which they invest such personal capital. Hence the manifest 'stickyness' of loyalty through a trusted experience. Wikipedia for example, is the benchmark of this segue from random opinion to respectable information around citizen journalism - it has been validated to be as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica with four times the volume of information. Content is continuously submitted and scrutinised by a global cadre of experts who are committed to conserving its value. While this may seem spontaneous, it is actually a highly-ordered mechanism with the ability to self-regulate and correct rapidly.

For those who lament that social media may signal extinction of the peer-review process, the opposite is the reality: social media represents the chance to see the process evolve by assigning 'the wisdom of the crowds' approach. Clearly the opportunities must be explored, investigated and fine-tuned, but as Len Starnes, head of European e-Business at Bayer Schering stated in 2007, "Connecting in more interactive ways can be incredibly powerful. Enabling individuals is what's its all about and that's something we haven't had before. It's really about getting individuals to participate."

Pharma needs third parties to inspire confident engagement

Ironically, the pharma industry, which accommodates such prestigious pioneers of medical science, needs to experiment more with social media and harness the potential benefits for users and the industry. Malcolm Allison at Actelion Pharmaceuticals summarises the approach by most companies, explaining that, "We are still working out how to get involved and most efforts we have seen so far have been clumsy. We are observing the utility of social media to increase transparency of interactions with stakeholders - trying to guage if it is possible or viable to get more use out of these media without our involvement or the contribution becoming distorted."

Despite this caution, industry recognises much can be achieved with social media. Malcolm echoes many of his peers in industry when he notes: "Although we are exploring slowly - and there is no policy in place yet, we are able to use information gleaned from social postings, to lead discussions and develop closer working relationships with physicians. [It] does give us insights into the disease community, especially when we venture into new areas. It can jumpstart our understanding, and provide hooks to elaborate on in discussion. It can also help us to frame questions, and more rapidly gain the confidence of KOLs."

The voice of such pioneers is finally gathering momentum and companies are starting to believe that the hurdles of using social media can be overcome by working with third parties who are leading social media projects such as - a professional networking hub established to promote and encourage interactions of merit between industry and healthcare professionals.

I co-founded myPHID to activate collective and personal clinical and commercial aspirations - to act as both provoker and mediator so that community members are able to talk transparently about medicine not marketing, align with peers, share goals and passions about medical science and make a difference to how relationships in healthcare are established, perceived and valued.

As an experiment in the value of social media, myPHID (scheduled to launch its interactive phase in September 2009) is already proving that industry can harness these tools to claw back the credibility it deserves for the way it wants to improve relations with physicians on an equal footing.

Evidently, we are witnessing a shift from traditional forms of information-sharing within the profession and business of medical science. Social media hold the potential to change interactions from being one-on-one relationship to a multi-faceted network with multiple layers of interactivity. These new avenues provide the opportunity for industry to break down the distrust that shrouds their current modes of activities.

If pharma can be persuaded to be sticky with social media rather than stuck in their outdated practices with physicians, there is scope to behave better and with corporate confidence about such important collaborations.

Emma D'Arcy is founder and leader of scientific insights at MyPHID: A one-day conference on pharma-clinician relationships, ACTIVATE 09, will be held on 8 September. Visit: for more information.

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From Twitter 08-10-2009

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Special Report: "Where We Stand: Social Media, Pharma, and the Online Discussion"

Source: HC Marketplace

Click here to read more and order a copy of the report.

ePharmaceuticals' special report, Where We Stand: Social Media, Pharma, and the Online Discussion takes an in-depth look at the different ways pharmaceutical companies can engage in social media, the most common pitfalls and roadblocks, and innovative partnerships. There's also a discussion with PatientsLikeMe and biopharma UCB, which are partnering to create an online patient community, complete with a pharmacovigilance platform.

Where We Stand: Social Media, Pharma, and the Online Discussion will help you:

  • Learn where to start when exploring social media and what you should be doing now
  • Assess the pros and cons of branded versus unbranded efforts
  • Understand the real implications of adverse events on social media
  • Discover tailored ways to listen to consumers
  • Define social media, not just in a basic way, but within your own company’s priorities
  • Uncover missed opportunities
The report features commentary and advice from experts at:
  • PatientsLikeMe
  • UCB
  • Google
  • WebMD
  • Nielsen Online
  • Pew Internet & American Life Project
  • Bridge Worldwide
  • Ignite Health
For pharma, the social media question is no longer "whether" they should invest, but "how." Where We Stand: Social Media, Pharma, and the Online Discussion will help answer that question.

Click here to read more and order a copy of the report.
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TransforMED Launches First-Ever Professional Social Networking Site For Primary Care Physicians, Physician Extenders and Office Staff

Delta-Exchange aims to help medical practices and residency programs transform to the patient-centered medical home model of care

LEAWOOD, Kan. – TransforMED LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American Academy of Family Physicians, today announced the launch of Delta-Exchange, a first-of-its-kind collaborative networking site dedicated to helping primary care practices implement the patient-centered medical home model of care.

Delta-Exchange was created when key findings from TransforMED’s two-year medical home national demonstration project revealed that primary care practices want and need opportunities to communicate, collaborate, and learn from other practices as they seek to overcome the challenges of implementing new technologies and workflows that are key to PCMH transformation. Delta-Exchange addresses these needs in an online, social networking platform.

“The NDP taught us that many primary care practices feel isolated, and many practice leaders are reluctant or unable to hire a consultant to help them transform to a patient-centered medical home,” said Terry McGeeney, M.D., MBA, president and CEO of TransforMED. “TransforMED now offers Delta-Exchange as an alternative means for practice leaders, doctors and other office staff to access useful information and collaborate with peers to learn best practices as they seek to adopt this new model of care.”

Delta-Exchange is quickly becoming a robust repository of tools, resources, case studies and practical how-to articles on practice transformation topics such as implementing team-based care, reducing patient cycle times, change management and maximizing office space. The site also hosts regularly scheduled, live webinars on a variety of PCMH and practice improvement topics ranging from optimized billing and collection to implementing open-access scheduling. Participants can interact in live sessions or view archived webinars on-demand. Members can also download workflow and procedure forms that can be customized to individual practices.

Delta-Exchange offers a host of individual member benefits. For $30 a month per user, members can create their own profile, post documents, share images and videos, create wiki pages and engage in discussions with other members. Members also gain access to optional, private work zones for physicians, clinical staff, office staff and others.

“To encourage candid discussions among members, some zones require an invitation to participate,” McGeeney explained. “For example, office managers are not allowed access to the physician’s zone, and vice versa. However, all Delta-Exchange members have access to TransforMED’s highly experienced practice facilitators via the ‘Ask the Experts’ zone.”

Delta-Exchange also provides member subscribers with “watchlists” that enable them to monitor discussions among colleagues, experts and innovators. Members will also receive TransforMED’s informative online newsletter and e-mail updates. The site comes complete with help files and video demonstrations on how to make the most of their Delta-Exchange membership.

Delta-Exchange is exclusively for primary care practices. Members will not encounter vendors or sales pitches on the site.

“As the patient-centered medical home model of care continues to emerge as a viable solution in health care reform legislation, we encourage primary care physicians to begin taking steps toward patient-centered medical home transformation,” McGeeney said. “Delta-Exchange serves as an excellent starting point.”

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