Google Sidewiki: Social Media Crashes the Party
                by J. Blake Harris, Creative Director and Lauren Lawhon, V...
2                                                                       Google Sidewiki
POINT OF VIEW




                ...
3                                                                     Google Sidewiki
POINT OF VIEW




                  ...
4                                                                         Google Sidewiki



                    What’s go...
5                                                                         Google Sidewiki
POINT OF VIEW




              ...
6                                                                                 Google Sidewiki
POINT OF VIEW




      ...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

imc2: Google Sidewiki POV

976
-1

Published on

Published in: Business, Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
976
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
3
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

imc2: Google Sidewiki POV

  1. 1. Google Sidewiki: Social Media Crashes the Party by J. Blake Harris, Creative Director and Lauren Lawhon, Vice President, Strategy In the ever-changing digital marketplace, consumers’ use of social media continues to explode. Forrester Research estimates that three in four online adults in the United States participate in or consume some form of social media at least once a month.1 However, the social media arena continues to be a largely uncharted territory for most healthcare companies, especially pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. Concerns about adverse event reporting responsibilities, a lack of precedent with FDA, and uncertainty about how to handle negative commentary in general, have left most pharmaceutical and device marketers out of the social media conversations. 2 Until today. Meet Google Sidewiki—your website’s uninvited guest. This new browser plug-in brings social media to every site on the Web. In other words, if you don’t offer social media features on your website, Google will. What is Google Sidewiki? POINT OF VIEW Google describes Sidewiki (http://www.google.com/sidewiki ) as a new tool to “publish helpful information about any Web page right in your browser, read entries added by others, and share entries through Blogger, Facebook, or Twitter.” In more general terms, Sidewiki is software that brings social media to any publicly accessible Web page, and the page or site owner has little choice in the matter. Sidewiki facilitates a forum on any public Web page, visible and accessible only by Sidewiki users, in which they may contribute comments or links. Users are also given tools to rate other comments, link to the comment via social networking sites, and utilize very basic abuse flagging, although moderation by Google is limited. The technology that enables Sidewiki is not new. The ability to create an application for the parallel Web—applications that layer a new set of functions on top of the existing Web—has been possible for many years. However, Sidewiki is the first application of this kind to be released by a company with the size, influence, and promotional capabilities of Google. Some facts about Sidewiki: • Sidewiki was released in September 2009 as a beta, and is installed as part of Google’s Toolbar (http://www.google.com/toolbar). • Sidewiki is not automatically included with any shipping browser to date, and requires a separate download. Statistics on usage are not readily available. • Sidewiki commentary is only visible to other Sidewiki users, so users with standard browser configurations will not see Sidewiki content. • Commentary may be shared using other social media such as Facebook and Twitter. © 2009, imc². All rights reserved.
  2. 2. 2 Google Sidewiki POINT OF VIEW • Although anyone may download and use the software, anonymous comments are not permitted, as use of the Google toolbar and Sidewiki requires a login. • Sidewiki comments are displayed according to rankings, determined by a Google algorithm based on quality and user ratings. Entries scored as useful by other users are more likely to display first. Sidewiki on Your Websites Site owners are not given access to moderate the Sidewiki comments posted on their sites; they can only participate in the conversations. If site owners do participate in the Sidewiki, they can claim ownership of the site, once verified with Google using their webmaster tools (which link the site to a Google account). Owner comments receive special placement as the top entry on the Sidewiki. Site owners can also view Sidewiki content through an API data feed. The Sidewiki Data API allows owners to get a list of entries written for a specific page or from a specific author. There is also an option to embed a custom gadget on your webpage to display Sidewiki entries. Visit http://code.google.com/apis/sidewiki/ for details. © 2009, imc². All rights reserved.
  3. 3. 3 Google Sidewiki POINT OF VIEW Like other users, owners can report abusive commentary. However, Google only moderates content it considers illegal, spam, or malware. Review Google’s content policy (www.google.com/accounts/TOS) for specific details. Implications for Pharmaceutical, Device and Other Healthcare Websites Currently, Sidewiki activity is very limited and comments have only appeared on high- traffic public websites, like NYTimes.com. However, Forrester predicts Sidewiki will have “millions of users by this time next year.” 3 Although not a reason to panic, Sidewiki raises a lot of questions for site owners, particularly in the pharmaceutical and device industries. Some of these questions will be tackled individually as companies develop corporate guidelines for social media. Others will be resolved through warning letters and other guidance from FDA. And hopefully, a few concerns will be addressed by Google or third-party products as Sidewiki is further updated. © 2009, imc². All rights reserved.
  4. 4. 4 Google Sidewiki What’s good? POINT OF VIEW • The Sidewiki does not alter or obscure the site content or design—or give the user reign to do so; it resides in a panel adjacent to the site and is expanded manually by the user. The commentary is contextual to the page, but the software does not attempt to integrate commentary within the page itself. • Google Sidewiki enables contextual social media for your website without any required investment by the site owner. Conversations about healthcare products—treatments, medicines, and even doctors—are happening among consumers and patients across the social media space (see inset snapshot of Twitter references for Pfizer’s Chantix). But, most industry marketers have been reluctant to bring these conversations into the context of a brand environment (for a variety of reasons). One way to view Sidewiki is just like Google’s beta release—a “test and learn” opportunity for social media and your brand. Bottom line: if you have a good brand, anything that enables people to talk about it and share information is a good thing. What’s bad? • Although Google has committed to controlling spam within the tool, the extent of this moderation is vague. Comments from competitors within the Sidewiki are possible, and Google’s response to such placements is not yet clearly defined. • Negative commentary, within Google’s guidelines, cannot be removed. According to Google’s Program Policies4, “Just because you disagree with certain material or find it to be inappropriate doesn't mean we'll remove it.” • Comments regarding off-label use and adverse events are a possibility within the Sidewiki, as with other social media. Pharmaceutical companies’ roles regarding such reporting are ill-defined. • Effect on SEO is unknown; however, expect to see some effect on Google search rankings. What’s next? • Adoption rates of Google Toolbar are not reported, but it is assumed the installed base of users is relatively small. The software only works within recent versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox. Given that the Sidewiki software is in beta, it is not expected to be widely used in the near term. Mass adoption by the typical online healthcare consumer will take some time. • Others will follow suit. Google Sidewiki may be the first, but it is not the last Web commenting platform. © 2009, imc². All rights reserved.
  5. 5. 5 Google Sidewiki POINT OF VIEW Where do we go from here? Google Sidewiki may be crashing your party with uninvited commentary about your website, your product(s), or your company, but marketers are not completely powerless. • Educate yourself and your risk management teams—Download Google Sidewiki and check out the commentary on yours and others’ sites. See for yourself what’s happening with the software and where the commentary is occurring. • Claim your website(s)—Add and verify your site in Google Webmaster Tools, then create a webmaster entry. Use this opportunity to introduce your site to Sidewiki users, reference important safety information, include Medwatch language for reporting adverse events and remind users that comments in Sidewiki are not controlled or moderated by your company. Include online and offline contact information as well. • Monitor the conversation(s)—Watch for Sidewiki activity on your Web properties, listen to what users are saying, and learn from the information. Consider responding if appropriate and report abuse or violations of Google’s Program Policies; Google relies on users to inform them of inappropriate material or activity. And, if your website happens to be the victim of spam, competitive attacks, or inappropriate material, give your Google rep a call to discuss your options. Collectively, industry can open a dialogue about Sidewiki within a highly regulated environment. • Consider the big picture—Think about Sidewiki as part of a larger social media discussion that identifies opportunities and manages risks accordingly. Participate in or provide written comments to FDA’s public hearing on Internet marketing and social media tools2. Incorporating social features within healthcare, pharmaceutical, or device websites may be a better option, offering more value and convenience for users, while providing more control for companies. A thoughtful, intentional social media strategy will allow healthcare companies to participate in the discussion on your terms rather than let the conversations happen around you. Google’s Sidewiki may be a party-crasher, but the best approach may be to extend an invitation to its users. The digital world is fast moving in this direction, becoming more and more about the conversations between brands and consumers (and between the consumers themselves). Use Sidewiki as an opportunity to initiate or continue discussions about how your company and brands can best participate in social media and to plan for managing the inherent risks. Sidewiki may not have been invited, but it’s here. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. © 2009, imc². All rights reserved.
  6. 6. 6 Google Sidewiki POINT OF VIEW Works Cited 1. Bernoff, Josh. The Growth of Social Technology Adoption. Forrester Research. October 2008. 2. FDA will host an upcoming public hearing on "Promotion of FDA-Regulated Medical Products Using the Internet and Social Media Tools," November 12-13, 2009, in Washington, D.C. More information available online at www.regulations.gov; reference Docket ID: FDA–2009–N–0441. 3. Bernoff, Josh. Corcoran, Sean. Sidewiki: Dealing with Google’s Land Grab. Forrester Research. September 2009. 4. Google Help: Sidewiki Program Policies. http://www.google.com/support/toolbar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=157295. Accessed October 1, 2009. For additional information, please contact: Lauren Lawhon, Vice President, Strategy, imc² health & wellness lauren.lawhon@imc2.com 214.224.1159 Dallas New York City Philadelphia 12404 Park Central Drive, Ste 400 622 Third Avenue, 11th Floor 1100 E. Hector Street, Ste 100 Dallas, Texas 75251 New York, New York 10017 Conshohocken, Pennsylvania 19428 214.224.1000 212.430.3200 610.729.1310 © 2009, imc². All rights reserved.

×