One week ago today, I was in the midst of the 2011 Health Care Marketing and PR Social Media Summit, which was co-sponsored by Ragan Communications and the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and held at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. I live tweeted the event from my personal Twitter handle using the #mayoragan hashtag. (Note: You can read a complete transcript of tweets from the conference here.)
Since then, I have been thinking a lot about the people and the ideas that I encountered there, with the goal of trying to capture some valuable essence of the experience in the blog post you’re reading now. And I am finding that it is difficult for me to point to any particular bit of practical advice I learned and say, “Hey, look at this — this is the most important thing I learned at #mayoragan. This will help me do my job better, win friends and influence people, impress my employer, make more money or _____ (you fill in the blank).”
For although I did learn many practical tips that may, or may not, help me accomplish some or all of the goals above, that was not what made the biggest impression on me.
What did make the biggest impression on me? Two things: The people I met, and the ideas expressed by those people, whether it was something said by the excellent presenters or if it was instead something tweeted by the 60 or so folks in attendance.
The best analogy I can come up with for this 2-day total immersion in the world of health care social media is to my experience as a lonely classical music geek in high school. The summer after my junior year I was lucky enough to attend what was then called the National Music Camp (it’s now called Interlochen Summer Arts Camp) at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. Suddenly I went from being one of a handful of classical music geeks at my high school to being among hundreds of other teens who shared the same passion.
Fast forward to #mayoragan. Suddenly I went from a workplace that blocks employee access to social media to a summit where a majority of attendees said they also worked for employers who blocked social media — and most seemed to agree that such blocking efforts are not only futile but also harm the organization. See, for example, conference presenter Shel Holtz’s website, stopblocking.org. And, conference co-host Lee Aase, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, had this to say in his presentation: “For employers who think blocking access to social media is a viable longterm strategy, meet the iPhone.”
Suddenly I was no longer the lonely social media geek. Now I fit right in with everybody else. I might even venture so far as to say I was one of the “cool kids,” if it were even remotely possible to say such a thing about someone who’s 45 years old.
Finally, I want to give a shout out to some of the people who helped make my experience at #mayoragan valuable. I give their Twitter handles here, and I encourage you to follow them: @shelholtz @LeeAase @MarkRaganCEO @PhilBaumann @rawarrior @westr @riggrl @mfeyen @SaraBethRN @MeredithGould @raganreporter @CynthiaManley @chrisboyer @CaitlinRDoran @StaceyLSimon @g24khamr @Billyorr @daniellecass @jeisman.
I suspect there are probably at least a few people who should be included in that list that I forgot to mention. If so, my apologies!