I had the honor of attending the AADE Conference in Orlando, FL. I drove up from the West Palm Beach area Wednesday morning to attend the session titled Social Media-Technology Tools for Online Communication that included Cherise Shockley, creator of DSMA and pure awesomeness!
Unfortunately, due to a bit of traffic in the Orlando area, I entered the discussion about 15-20 late and showed up to a pretty packed room. My very first thought was, “Awesome, there are a lot of educators that are interested in social media.” That gave me a chill down the back of my spine from the very beginning. Just by attending this session, these educators are taking a step towards either beginning or improving the way they practice and deal with patients in the world we live in today.
The session included a lot of how-to’s for Facebook and Twitter. In fact, in the later part of the session, Cherise provided a step by step (click here, click there, type this) walkthrough of going to Twitter.com and creating your Twitter account. She also walked through the steps of following a group of people, how to search for people to follow and then sent out her first tweet (with that account).
There were questions from the attendees about whether or not to create a personal Facebook / Twitter profile or a professional one, do they use their name or a persona, do they allow patients to follow / friend their personal account, etc. These are all very valid concerns, especially when HIPAA becomes involved (which, seriously, it’s 2014, let’s live like it’s 2014 and not 2004).
The best advice was, “Do what you feel comfortable doing.”
I second that response and think that is the best advice for not just diabetes educators, but anybody that is creating a social media account. Don’t just do it because everyone else is doing it. Don’t just over-share on social networks because everyone else is.
Do what you are comfortable doing!
There was another response from an attendee that I wasn’t able to get the name or social handle for (word of advice, when introducing yourself at conference from now, give your name and Twitter handle), but she said, “Don’t be in your diabetes educator role online.” Meaning, just be a person. Be someone who is listening, who can talk, who can comfort, who is not just someone looking at a data point, but providing real support where and when it’s needed.
Social Media Tools
There were several tools that were mentioned to help you manage your social media accounts, but the main one discussed was HootSuite, which I am a paid user of and absolutely LOVE it. I manage over 40 social media accounts between clients and personal and without HootSuite, I don’t know where I would be. It was recommended to not use the paid version, which is fine if you only have 1-2 accounts that you are managing and I totally agree with that. However, for more advanced users, those that want data and analytics, I would highly recommend the $9.99/mo Pro Version of HootSuite.
There was a little part of the discussion that was used to talk about LinkedIn and creating a profile there for networking. I could go on a lot longer here just about LinkedIn, but I will save that for another day (or maybe another blog). The social media agency side of me feels there is a lot more that can be done with LinkedIn that most don’t realize.
Social Media Advocacy
Other examples of the power of social media that were discussed was Strip Safely, which at first, Bennet Dunlap did not have much to say, but with a little Twitter encouragement, he decided he would put in a few words and share some information about the Strip Safely campaign to Support CDE’s.
One announcement that was made during the session that is important is the new date set for DSMA for Parents with Kids with Type One, which is September 8, 2014. Put it on your calendars now.
Social Media Time Management
Another area of concern that seem to be in the room was the time management side of using social media. Listen, as somebody who owns a digital marketing agency and manages social media accounts for multiple businesses, this is the number one excuse I hear, “I just don’t have time to do it.” There is just so many tweets and I don’t know where to start, and many more phrases. I get it. I can spend 10 hours a day on social media some days, but realistically, we can’t do that. But I am willing to bet, we can all find 20-30 minutes in our day to visit a social media site. And if you can’t….. then don’t! Once again, that goes back to doing what you are comfortable doing.
Hashtags are probably one of the best ways to help you manage your time on Twitter. If you want to just focus on reviewing tweets from people that maybe are having issues with high / low blood sugars, then the #bgnow hashtag may be great for you. If you are looking for people who use a Dexcom because you have a patient later today that you know will have some questions about their CGM, then you can use the hashtag #dexcom. Twitter Search is one of the most important tools in all of social media.
My biggest word of advice is to not stop using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social platform because you don’t understand it. If you allow yourself to learn, you will. The more you use it, the easier it becomes. And don’t hesitate to reach out to somebody who does know what is going on.
This was not the end of the discussion of social media and diabetes education. There was another session later in the conference that included a few of our own DOC members.
That session deserves its own post.