April 12, 2010

The right tool for the job

Finding the right online tool.

Finding the right social media tool.

My husband is a carpenter, so he’s into tools. As a social media guru, so am I. Whenever we come up with a project, we immediately start thinking about what tools we have and what we may need to buy. We’ll scour yard sales, flea markets and the Internet to find just the right compound miter saw or three-phase plasma cutter — often to the detriment of the job itself.

Though perhaps not as exotic as a four-foot finger brake or Pittsburgh lock-seam hammer, the most exciting social media tool is video. Healthcare professionals are learning to take advantage of video along with everything else in their toolbox, as this online marketing blog explains. Surgeons have used Twitter, for example, to tweet out live procedures from the O.R. — the first being a surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from someone’s kidney. Universities such as Stanford are using video on Facebook for question-and-answer sessions between professors and students. Mainstream media is now plugging into social media for obvious reasons — mainly because they know their audiences are plugged in.

Roughly nine out of ten patients who get information online learn from watching videos, which enable them to ask their doctors more insightful questions about procedures. And while you can find a video on Twitter, clicking on it redirects you to a new page. TwitVid is a new service created by Twitter for just this purpose. As with YouTube, TwitVid allows you to create and post your own videos, but this service is so new that you may end up watching hours of footage showcasing little Billy’s puppy and the new tricks he learned this morning.

While videos are used on Facebook to teach medical professionals and students, they also reach consumers. Of course, you may be redirected from Facebook to YouTube, which is riding a huge wave of credibility. Facebook enables you to network with just a click and little effort. You can truly be a people-watcher, and still gain a massive amount of information in a passive manner.

So now when I sit down at my computer every morning, I can share with all my healthcare clients all the new tools available to them — the most important being video. The transparency that video offers can deliver an enlightened, interactive and highly engaged audience. And while it’s no Pittsburgh lock-seam hammer, video can carry us into the future of social media.

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