A View from the Stage: the BDI Social Media in Healthcare Event

Photo on 2010-04-21 at 09.12 #3Guest blogger Gigi Peterkin is Associate Director, Interactive Media in AstraZeneca's Corporate Communications Department. She is a blogger, communicator, artist, digital junkie and obessed with products from that 'fruit company.' This is her first post on AZHealthConnections.

Last week, I had the opportunity to present to a packed house in midtown
Manhattan at the Business Development Institute (BDI) Social
Communications & Healthcare conference
. And I followed some top
presenters too. From Marc Monseau's succinct presentation, including the
thoroughly quotable one-liner "You can't copyright a conversation," to
Ray Kerins's unforgettable 'dangers of counterfeit medicines' video, and
a great presentation from Ann Aikin at the CDC. I could go on, but you
get the idea. Let's just say that by the time I took the stage, as the
next to last presenter and immediately before the highly-anticipated
Dosie Awards
, much of what could be said about how pharmaceutical
companies and the industry operate in social media had been said. And
said well.

Happily, I love talking about social media and dissecting how it works. So, for me to get onstage and talk about talking to people – well just short of nirvana. But what about for the 360+ people packed into the auditorium? At this point, I was glad I took my own advice when preparing for this moment: have a story to tell. Better yet, tell a story that other people are interested in hearing. AstraZeneca does have a story to tell: how we got started in social media and how we want to grow. So, I shared what we did well, and where we can improve. In short, I outlined AZ's step-by-step blueprint for "how we did it," with the it being creating a sanctioned space to engage in social media, to a room of people – many of whom were asking themselves, "How can we do it?"

What was helpful to that audience on May 11 in New York City may be not so helpful to another, specifically you, so I will not delve into the particulars here (see below for more information if you like). I will say this: in a regulated industry it is possible to have a conversation, to engage, to put forth a point of view and to read and respond to others. It needs to be done mindfully, yes. And 'rules of engagement' need to be clear, understood, and adhered to. Is there room for improvement? Of course, but isn't that the nature of invention and evolution – to seek improvement? We are all doing the best we can, and yes we can do better. For one thing, we can ask more open questions and be as responsive as possible to the comments we receive. Here, I'll go first. Where do you think we go from here?

More information:
As promised, if you want it, here's how to get it. Listen to BlogTalk Radio's recording of the BDI presentations. And what did 'they' say about what 'I' said? Check out what Kate Kaye (@LowbrowKate) had to say in her article AstraZeneca's Social Media Strategy Reflects Regulatory Obstacles.