Pharma & Social Media: Best Strategic Learning Investment for 2010

My friend Ellen Hoenig Carlson compiled an ebook of insights and suggestions for helping the pharmaceutical and other health care industries adapt to 21st Century challenges and opportunities. Ellen is editor of AdvanceMarketWoRx and she asked me to contribute to her project. She’s sincerely devoted to the goal of improving pharmaceutical marketing processes in order to deliver the best possible points of care to patients. She shares valuable thoughts and links and content on Twitter and you can follower her  here.

In addition to myself, contributors include an anthropologist, an e-Patient, some consultants and a healthcare recruiter.

All of the contributing perspectives are unique. For example, Andrew Spong PhD, founder of #hcsmeu (a Twitter chat for European healthcare and social media passionates), invokes Martin Heidegger when discussing Authenticity. How often do you get that in the context of health care marketing?

Susanah Fox, strategist for PEW, talks about how cultural changes affect patient advocacy. And my Twitter mates  Steve Woodruff,  Jonathan Richman,  Wendy Blackburn,  John Mack, and  Angela Dunn offer their visions and advice.

You can download the ebook  here. Read it: it’s important that the public and marketers understand our relationship with Technology. Marketing – especially pharmaceutical and healthcare – is about achieving a simple goal: connecting points of suffering with points of care. That’s not easy. It’s hard and requires creativity, ethics, discipline, knowledge, wisdom, leadership and hope.

Best Strategic Learning Investment in 2010

Please share your thoughts with me here or approach me on Twitter. You can follow my antics on Twitter  here.

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Digital Vertigo and the Cult of Authenticity


When status quos collapse, for whatever reasons, are their replacements necessarily better? Does the demise of traditional media powers mean that new media powers will lead to more Democracy? Will cultivated professions which require years of training and mistakes and experience – such as Medicine – give way to amateurs who can succeed in creating appearances of Authenticity?

Last century, not everybody could publish their thoughts without expending some form of considerable energy. Now, with Twitter, anyone can tell the world what s/he thinks at virtually zero expense (save the time value of their tweets). This is no doubt a radical shift in communications and publishing and connecting.

It’s easy to call this democratizing. But is it? Or is what’s happening a radical shift from one era of power dynamics to another: one where those who accumulate the greatest amount of social capital emerge as the major powers, powers which will dominate and rule over a new kind of oligarchic imperialism? One where a few hold sway to enormous influence while the many busy themselves in self-reinforced delusions of democratic liberation, confusing technological connection with the human kind?

Real-time media like Twitter sure do give off the seductive appearances of level playing fields where I can connect with you and you me. But what are the essential realities of the evolving Web? Are they balances-of-power? Or are they in fact towers-of-power, new status quos which create a condition of what Andrew Keen calls Digital Vertigo?

Here is the Antichrist of Silicon Valley himself discussing the dangers of the  Real-time web and Power.

We are living through the inflection phase of technological evolution. It’s hard to see beyond the exponential curve rising above our heads. Today’s gifts may be tomorrow’s sorrows. With Twitter, I can tell a friend something that makes her day. In the not-too-distant future, though, someone else just might detonate a bomb with a tweet. And then we can say Goodbye to Twitterville.

Is the Web bringing forth more opportunity than danger? Granted, it can’t be stopped at this point. But: may one promise of the Web (Democracy) eventually be betrayed by one danger (Tyranny)? Are we truly creating a Digital Level Playing Field or might we in fact be creating the conditions for chronic Digital Vertigo complicated by the illusion of Authenticity?

What do you think?

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