On my flight down from Philly to Orlando for the Alliance for CEHP’s (did I get that right?) Annual Conference, I had every intention of using my free time on the plane to peruse the overstuffed final program, read the abstracts of the sessions that looked interesting, and start putting together my plan of attack for the conference (you know, just like I recommended in my last blog post). Instead, I watched a movie on my iPad (meh, nobody’s perfect).
I watched “Moneyball” and though (as always) I found the book to be better than the movie, I once again found myself inspired. For those not familiar with the plot, my doppelgänger Brad Pitt (what?) plays Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane who in 2002, thumbed his nose at the standard baseball conventions of the time and incorporated an “analytical, evidence-based, sabremetric approach to assembling a competitive baseball team, despite Oakland’s disadvantaged revenue situation” (thank you, Wikipedia).
To put it simply, Beane found a new approach to baseball that allowed his small market team to compete with the monolithic large market teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox. This David vs Goliath storyline was an interesting one to consider while flying to a conference where a frequent point of discussion is, how can I, a one person CME office at a small regional hospital compete in the same pool with the larger medical education companies and fully funded academic providers? What is the “new approach” that the A’s of the CME community can use to level the playing field?
To me, the answer is fairly simple. It’s social media. I’ll give you five reasons why:
1. You will be one step ahead of everyone else in learning about the latest trends in e-learning strategies, learning technologies, advances in medicine, pharmaceuticals pulled from the market, corporate mergers, you name it. A carefully cultivated Twitter list is a powerful learning tool, but it’s also the fastest way to find out about the newest developments in your areas of interest. Get on Twitter, get on Google+ (trust me on this one), and I guarantee that within a short time you will be better educated and better in tune with the quickly changing world around you.
2. It’s free! Have a limited budget for your and/or your staff’s professional development? Nothing levels the field better than free.
3. Social media is the great equalizer. Your voice can be as powerful as anyone else’s. Disagree? You’re reading this blog now, so you likely have some idea who I am. One year ago, had you ever heard of me? Had you ever heard my views on issues related to CME? The only thing that’s changed since then is my involvement with social media. It gave me a voice. One of the great challenges of being a small CME unit is simply getting people to know who you are. Social media gives you the chance to do that. It gives you an opportunity to have people say, “Oh yeah, I know you…” (And have I mentioned that it’s free?)
4. Know what the #2 search engine in the world is? It’s YouTube. People search for stuff on YouTube. A lot of people. Do you have a YouTube account? It’s also free.
5. Read this article about Children’s National Medical Center’s Google+ page. In a matter of months, they have developed a following of over 1500 people. 1500 people who are so interested in what Children’s National Medical Center has to share, they took the initiative to find them on Google+ and follow them. 1500 people that Children’s National Medical Center did not have to buy contact info for that may or may not still be accurate. 1500 people who will see whatever Children’s National Medical Center chooses to share with them next. What could YOU do with 1500 people interested in what you have to share?