FDASM started as a twitter hashtag related to the FDA public hearings on the use of internet and Social Media for the promotion of FDA-regulated medical products FDASM evolved to represent the entire journey to guidance, and now… Has become synonymous with the conversation about safe & effective online communications by pharmaceutical and medical device companies
You have the people, the passion, and the purpose – but what was missing was a way to harness this dialogue and channel it – to get everyone moving in the same direction, to create a philosophical platform which would unite and ignite them… in essence, to fuel the fire.
The wind was blowing in the right direction. Hadn’t rained for years. Lots of combustible kindling. Let’s face it, the convergence of social media with an aging population in a new administration that was planning to lead with a strong foot forward in terms of regulations they would deploy to ensure the public health’s safety. You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect storm of elements that were simply waiting for the slightest breath of spark. But that’s not always the case. And when we talk about creating movements in healthcare, we need to fully understand those environmental conditions in order to maximize the probability of creating the kind of firestorm necessary to make a movement take off. if the conditions aren’t right, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done – it simply means that more effort will be required. More nurturing. It’s much easier to capitalize on the energy of a moving object. Obama is a testament to that. For healthcare, that might mean creating awareness, educating and creating an emotional connection between the subject (disease, drug or otherwise) and the person you are trying to “move”. Social Media is a powerful channel for that because you are often already connected to other people, and those people can be the vehicles to connect you to a belief or cause. We have to remember, successful movements, while orchestrated, need to be real and authentic. In the case of FDASM, we had people with true conviction that were willing to carry the torch. They just needed a place to light their flame, and a place where they could let the light of their fires shine. Enter FDASM.COM.
FDASM.COM is an aggregation engine that has helped to capture, harness, and channel the energy of the people who believe the process which the FDA has initiated is relevant, important, and worthy of attention – and that the use of the Internet and Social Media for healthcare communications can be both extremely effective, but also extremely dangerous if mis-managed. But it wasn’t always this way – in fact, to be honest, that’s not what it was designed to be at all!
What FDASM.COM looks like today, and what powers it.
They say “necessity is the mother of invention”… and thank God, because I desperately needed some order in the twitterverse.
I have to be honest with you, no matter how much I consider myself tech-savvy, and some might even call me a twitter power user, I detest almost everything about twitter from a user-experience perspective. It’s convoluted, confusing, and oftentimes downright frustrating. That really hasn’t changed much for me. In fact, my frustration pre-dated all of this FDA-stuff… I had been trying for some time to figure out a way to bring order my universe. That path led me to experiment with different twitter aggregator technologies.
By the time the FDA hearings were announced, I had already created several topic / user / perspective-focused dashboards that aggregated relevant twitter conversations. Most of them were primarily developed to serve me, give me a easy way to see all the conversations of the people or topics I cared about. Sure, I shared these with my peers, but that’s about it. Except for the last one – which is where I explored how to apply this “aggregation” model to healthcare. Diabetes Nest was primarily developed as a tool for twitter-newbies or voyeurs who want to read the conversations or discover who to follow, without having to deal with all the hassles of Twitter and the various client apps.
And what I learned through this process is that aggregation alone can create value. If you really think about it, some of the most valuable services out there created value simply by creating “one-stop-shopping” – whether you’re shopping for concert tickets, food, or information. In my case, I had a very specific need I was trying to meet.
The FDA topic was quite important, and I found the conversations taking place on twitter were far more insightful than anything I could get my hands on in the mainstream media. Not only that, but they were current. So what I needed was a tool that could keep up with the breakneck speed at which information was being produced. Twitter, despite it’s confoundedness, was exactly that tool. But while my organization and many of our clients are quite technology savvy, for a variety of issues Twitter was not a universally-adopted tool. Still, I wanted to make it very easy for those folks to access this information. So taking what I had learned from aggregation in the past, and converging it with a need I had in the present, the site was born.
So after exploring several dozen twitter aggregators I found one I liked on Widgetbox (called Tweetblender), and used it to create a stream based on the hashtag #fdasm, then uploaded it to my scratch pad of experiments called “Ignite Labs” and called it a day. Well, not quite. Now I had another problem to solve, which was the name . Here I was trying to make things easy for everyone, and yet I was going to create yet another name for someone to memorize. I don’t know what I was thinking, I why I would even venture to check if the domain was available, but I thought, let’s just see . In looking back it still didn’t strike me as something that “inspired”… it was more, heh, ok, it makes sense, it’s available, why not? Oh, and lookie-here, so is the username on twitter. It’s a wild, crazy world.
And so it is that FDASM.COM was officially born, October 29, 2009.
When the FDA began sending communications regarding the public hearings, a few things struck me. The information was intended for attendees and presenters – and was being only sent to them. There were lots of little details and valuable information contained in those communications. In addition, I started noticing people asking each other in the twitter stream about details surrounding the hearings – information which I had at my fingertips (in my email box).
So I took the content provided by the FDA, added it FDASM.com, and let people know about it. What happened next was wild. People started tweeting about the resource like crazy. They were praising me and Ignite, and also making suggestions for additional content.
Grateful for the sudden attention (we all have egos), and invigorated by the warm welcome from the twittersphere, I thanked right back and added logos to FDASM.com (“Proud Supporters”) of those tweeting about to the site (with permission of course). Soon after, people saw the logos and asked if they could support the cause too – I instantly obliged – adding their logos, but simply asking for a re-tweet in return (as it seemed unfair to the others I had listed). Ultimately, everyone and anyone was welcome to join the movement! (yes, even competitors). So I told them how to join by creating clear and simple instructions. And the requests poured in.
And poured in…
Shwen suggested I create a badge “I Joined the Movement”, so I did. Eventually making it easy to grab and share.
And people did!
I had momentum, as everything was building towards the hearings. As that happened, people started writing articles and blog posts. Having a difficult time keeping track of it all, I started a google doc. And then it occurred to me, share this with everyone too ! In fact, let them add other articles they find.
And that’s when I also started receiving people’s “sneak peeks” at their FDA testimonies. I asked if I could share those too, they said yes, so I did… Then it occurred to me – let’s invite everyone to share? That way we know if we’re being redundant. That’s when I discovered Health Central was doing the same thing. So we partnered!
As content kept building, people simply found it easier to direct people to FDASM.com rather than providing all the details about the hearings – so they could instead focus on sharing their perspectives – and not regurgitating the facts
The more links and references, the more it becomes the defacto destination for “everything related to the FDA, Internet, and Social Media”. And as the hearings came upon is, it became the destination that was cited by most media outlets covering the story (which of course drew more traffic, more attention, and drove people into the conversation).
THANK THEM – AND THANK THEM OFTEN!
Be prepared, willing, and able to revise and expand upon your theories of what works and what doesn’t!
And most importantly, FAIL FORWARD. It’s the only way to learn, grow, excel, and succeed.
FDASM: The Making of a Social Media Movement
The Making of a Movement 3.11.10 | Social Health 2010
“ In 2010, each of our brands has a strategy and marketing platform that will be less about a singular event , less about a moment, more about a movement . ” As Frank Cooper, senior VP-chief consumer engagement officer at PepsiCo Americas Beverages
<ul><li>A Movement is a cause which unites people who share a common belief, creates an experience that feeds and fuels their passions, while moving them toward a shared goal </li></ul>
What Makes a Movement Work? + + People Purpose Passion
#FDASM hashtag Part 15 Public Hearings The Guidance Process The Conversation about safe & effective online communication by pharmaceutical and medical device companies about their products, companies, or services A Movement?
How did the FDASM Conversation become a FDASM Movement ?
Mobile Version 24/7 Free Chat Room Partner Resources Instructions for Submitting Comments to FDA Video interviews of speakers from hearings Archive of hearing webcast and links to all available presentations Blog Widget with Updated Feeds
And most recently… Library of all comments submitted to FDA Interview with the FDA
Performance Overview (10/29/09 – 3/9/10) <ul><li>12,000+ Unique Visitors </li></ul><ul><li>100+ Supporters (logos) </li></ul><ul><li>800+ Twitter Followers (@fdasm) </li></ul><ul><li>Ave Time on Site: 1:44 </li></ul><ul><li>65 Countries Visited </li></ul><ul><li>270 Websites linking to FDASM.com (including 3 pharma company intranets) </li></ul><ul><li>50% of traffic comes from direct URL </li></ul><ul><li>12,258 Tweets containing #fdasm (119 days) </li></ul>
<ul><ul><li>1 tweet every 15 minutes for the past 2,865 hours! </li></ul></ul>
Top 10 Visiting Organizations (min. of 25 visits per organization) AGENCIES PHARMA / MEDICAL OTHER Edelman Genentech FDA Lally McFarland Novartis Univeristy of Michigan Health Ed Abbott Haymarket Media FCB Lilly WebMD CommonHealth Johnson & Johnson Institute of Int. Research Fleishman Hillard GSK Boston University True North Aventis Behring Elsevier Science Publishers Roska Genzyme Ernst & Young Lehman Millet Medtronic John Wiley Publishers WPP Group Bayer Dept. of Veterans Affairs