I’ve just returned from deep in the heart of America’s Medicine Chest (Princeton, NJ), where I was proud to chair the Social Media for Pharma conference. The conversation included when FDA guidelines might be released, and if it even matters; the appropriate balance between sales and education; the role of the digitally empowered health care consumer; the clash between marketing and medical/legal review; and, of course, who’s doing what – and how can it be measured.
Below are a few selected comments from the esteemed faculty (attributed where appropriate, unnamed otherwise), and running commentary from me:
Wendy Blackburn (InTouch Solutions)– “True two-way dialogue between Pharma companies and patients is like sex in high school. It’s risky. Everyone is talking about it. Everyone thinks they want to do it. No one is really sure if anyone is doing it or not. It’s definitely happening.”
Pat Connelly (Millennium Pharmaceuticals) – “I have tried and failed with more social media ideas than anyone I know.” Good for you Pat. Remember what Thomas Edison said when asked why he was so successful? “Because I fail faster than anyone else.”
Tony Jewell (AstraZeneca)– “If I had known that our live tweet-up was an industry first, we probably wouldn’t have done it.” (That got a laugh – but I don’t think it’s true.)
Mark Karch (Appature) – “Data is the new black.” (That may be so – but does it make me look fat?)
Marc Monceau (J&J) on dealing with the “Motrin Moms” issue (which broke online after 5pm on a Friday) – “We had to be nimble and quick.”
Joseph Kim (Shire Pharmaceuticals)– “Inside pharma, social media mustn’t be a battle between cheerless eggheads and happy morons.”
Ron Petrovich (Mayo Clinic) – “We do not offer tiger blood transfusions – yet.”
Anonymous — “When it comes to social media, if you stick your head in the sand, you’re going to get kicked in the ass.”
Anonymous – “The rules of health care social media are like your dog’s invisible fence – you’re not sure where the perimeter is – but it’s shocking when you find out.”
Anonymous – “Whenever somebody says they’re being transparent, I suspect they’re hiding something.”
And to quote myself – “Social media is communications at the speed of life. As Marshall McLuhan wrote: “At electric speed, all forms are pushed to the limits of their potential.” (Replace “electric” with “digital” and it’s amazing how prescient McLuhan was. That’s genius.) That’s a wonderful challenge, to be pushed to the limits of our potential. If you are not ready to do so, it’s time to look for another job.
Onwards and Excelsior.