Social Media

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Robin Robinson

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Social Media Trends, Regs, and Apps Featured Briefs: Government Use of Social Media Grows First-Ever Tweet From a President Garners More Than 20,000 Responses Survey: Consumers Favor Pharma Input in Patient ­Communities Industry Gets More Time to ­Adhere to New YouTube Format TECH CHECK Apps, Tweets, and Videos First-Ever Tweet From a President Garners More Than 20,000 Responses There is a growing trend of government agencies getting into social media, including twitter, from federal regulatory agencies to local town offices and police departments. For example, the FDA has 10 twitter accounts and a blog. At the top, however, is the country’s Commander-in-Chief with an interactive lively tweet feed @whitehouse. President Barack Obama sent the first tweet ever by a U.S. president on July 6, 2011, during an event called Twitter Townhall. More than 20,687 tweets were sent to #AskObama on Twitter about the economy, healthcare, and other important issues. Twitter’s executive chairman Jack Dorsey read the incoming questions live to the President; the questions and @whitehouse summaries were retweeted by @townhall. ExpertLabs, a nonprofit, nonpartisan company that enables federal, state, and local government agencies to listen to the ideas and insights of citizens and helps citizens be heard by policy makers via Twitter and Facebook, recently posted an infographic that reviews the @whitehouse Twitter account for 2011. According to the infographic, the White House account posted, retweeted, or replied 2,997 times, and received 125,832 tweets from 42,902 unique individuals. In the year 2011, it added 658,611 followers to its existing 2 million. The most-replied-to tweet of the year was sent directly from President Obama: “In order to reduce the deficit, what costs would you cut and what investments would you keep,” he asked his followers. The most successful White House twitter campaign of the year may be the $40 question. In an effort to win approval to extend the tax cut, the White House asked constituents what they would do with an extra $40. More than 17,000 people responded to the question. The $40 figure was the average amount that American workers saved under the payroll tax cut. The White House even rickrolled a Twitter follower (rickrolling is a common prank that involves tricking someone into clicking a link to Rick Astley’s “Never going to give you up” music video). A tweeter sitting in a White House correspondence briefing posted his thoughts on it, describing it as ‘not entertaining.’ Moments later, he received a response from the official @WhiteHouse Twitter account that read: Sorry to hear that. Fiscal policy is important, but can be dry sometimes. Here’s something more #WHChat. { For more information, follow the White House @WhiteHouse and visit Survey: Consumers Favor Pharma Input in Patient ­Communities A recent Manhattan Research surveys shows that consumer expectation for pharma to be active in health communities is quite high. The study determined how consumers use social media and other online sources for prescription information and pharma interaction and found that 42% of online adults agree that pharma companies should be involved in online health communities for consumers. “This emphasizes why it’s so important that the FDA builds on the guidance it recently issued for off-label discussions,” says Maureen Malloy, senior healthcare analyst, Manhattan Research. “Patients are calling and many brands are trying to determine how to respond.” Interest in pharma involvement is significantly higher among certain audiences. According to the study, ADD/ADHD and bipolar disorder caregivers are the top groups that believe pharma should be active in communities, followed by epilepsy caregivers, cystic fibrosis patients, and rheumatoid arthritis patients. “These findings may make it more worthwhile for some brands to tackle the challenges around creating a social media strategy than others, despite the risks and complications,” Ms. Malloy says. The ePharma Consumer survey was fielded online in Q4 2011 among 6,634 U.S. adults (ages 18+). Key findings: » 42% of online adults are in favor of pharma companies having a presence on online health communities. » 19% of online adults do not believe that pharma should participate in this type of forum. » 39% of respondents are impartial. { For more information, visit Apps… Pfizer Israel’s bathroom app hits Apple’s Top 25 According to across-the-pond digital expert Daniel Ghinn, CEO, Creation Healthcare, Pfizer Israel deployed a smartphone app in September 2011 that reached Apple App Store’s Top 25 most-downloaded list in two weeks, after being downloaded more than 15,000 times. The app is designed to engage consumers and raise their awareness of overactive bladder syndrome. As a result, more than 1,000 patients who downloaded the app called the Pfizer patient helpline. Available in Hebrew language only, for the local market in Israel, the iPhone app, aptly called ‘public restrooms‘, uses location-based services to guide users to the nearest public restroom. The app lists public restrooms in cities around Israel and classifies them according to cleanliness, gender, accessibility, etc. Users can interact with the app and provide their assessment of the facilities. { For more information, visit or Facebook… Novo Nordisk responds ­appropriately to Facebook jabs In January, Novo Nordisk had its celebrity spokesperson campaign for Victoza seriously backfire when it announced that it would be teaming up with American cooking stars Paula Deen and her sons, Bobby and Jamie Deen, to launch Diabetes in a New Light, a national initiative to help adults find simple ways to manage everyday challenges associated with Type 2 diabetes. Within hours of the announcement, the company and Ms. Dean, known for her high fat, sugar, and starch recipes, took heat over the wisdom of such a partnership. Members of the diabetes community took to the company’s Facebook page to air their concerns. The basis for much of the backlash was that Ms. Deen’s TV personality had been hypocritical in touting high-risk foods while not disclosing that she was diabetic, and that Novo Nordisk was irresponsible in hiring her as a spokesperson and did not act in the best interest of its customers. According to critics, Ms. Deen’s behavior implies that diabetes can be controlled solely by a drug treatment, and that dietary behavior changes are not necessary. While some of the comments got ugly, Novo gained kudos from responding in a cool-headed, responsible, and helpful manner. { For more information, visit novonordisk. Tweets… Unintentional employee tweet wreaks havoc for Allergan Also in January, Allergan was in hot water with the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority in the UK. The regulatory authority ruled that a tweet that mentioned off-label use of Botox — accidentally tweeted publicly, instead of privately between an Allergan employee and a friend — violated its code. In the UK, Botox is also indicated for a number of prescription-only uses, including certain spasticity associated with stroke in adults. Even though the public communication was an error, the PMCPA determined that pharma employees are held accountable for their social media interactions, accidental or otherwise. Pharmaceutical company employees need to ensure that business relationships and personal relationships are kept very separate particularly when such business relationships are subject to the code, it said in its report, available below. { For more information, visit /files/2455%2020%20Jan.pdf. Videos… Largest social media HIV awareness movement launched at WEF To mark the launch of two initiatives at the recent World Economic Forum, the Social Media Syndicate and Business Leadership Council simultaneously broadcast its first social message through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media about ending HIV transmission to children. A new website includes more information, including a video, which encourages others to use social media to spread the campaign to hopefully billions around the world. The Business Leadership Council for a Generation Born HIV Free campaign was launched together with a Social Media Syndicate and is designed to reach billions of people around the world, getting them to join in action to take the number of HIV-infected births from 390,000 a year to zero within 48 months, making it the world’s largest social media movement of its kind. For more information, visit or Industry Gets More Time to ­Adhere to New YouTube Format According to our friends at Siren Interactive, Google is giving the pharma industry more time to prepare for its YouTube redesign, which was rolled out at the end of 2011. Starting in March, business channels that have yet to migrate to the new design will automatically be transitioned. However, due to regulatory constraints and longer approval times, pharma has been given until June 1 to make the change. Characterized by Mashable as “a slick new design, a revamped homepage with some pretty tight Google+ social integration and content discovery features,” the new format allows users to add clickable links to their Facebook, Google+, and Twitter accounts and other links. Most importantly for pharma, comments can still be disabled or moderated prior to posting, Eileen O’Brien, director of search and innovation, Siren Interactive, notes. Mashable also reports that the redesign’s aim is to promote repeat viewing of channels. YouTube wants consumers to view it much like they watch cable TV and has added features for easy segmenting, selecting, storing, and viewing the million of channels available. Competitor Vimeo also orchestrated a redesign with the same goal. The new format is reported to have clean aesthetics and larger videos. { For more information, visit and Send us your favorite industry apps, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, and Facebook links to

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