Using Ning to Connect your Community

Last week, I had the honor to participate in a Webinar facilitated by Techsoup to share with a group of nonprofit/library representatives who wanted to learn more about how to use Ning to connect their community. You can browse through the Powerpoint presentation below and, if you want more, you can listen to the entire webinar here.

What if Twitter and Facebook vanished?

Am I the only one who felt this way? No, not like an atomic bomb had gone off… but rather that the web attack targeted at a pro-Georgian blogger that took down Twitter and partly affected Facebook, LiveJournal and Google, was simply unbelievable! And it made me wonder: “What if Twitter and Facebook vanished?”

Until now (to my limited network security knowledge) the DDoS attacks were sort of like getting back at “the man,” at the big corporation, in retaliation for something.

But yesterday’s attack was different. It was aimed at an individual (I don’t know how powerful or influential of an individual, but a single person nonetheless). It can be compared to taking down an entire city with an atomic bomb just to quiet a single voice.

What are the things I am most impressed with?
1) An attack of this scale is possible and Twitter is vulnerable to it, as well as FB, Google and LiveJournal too, to a certain degree).
2) Because this kind of attack is possible and because we’ve gotten to depend so much on social media and the Web for our communications, as crazy as it sounds, this kind of attack partly accomplished its purpose (while disrupting the day/s of many more people and groups, naturally).
3) In the future, attacks of this kind could become more common, because of (1) and (2). So organizations (and individuals) need to think about building redundancy in terms of the channels they use to communicate and disseminate information (while keeping them manageable -not easy, I know). Companies like Twitter need to look real close at what happened in order to protect themselves (and their users, in the process) from such dramatic disruptions in the future.

Become A Partner With The Patient Blogger

Last week I did a presentation alongside Kerri Morrone in a conference aimed at people from the pharmaceutical industry. We tried to get three main points in the presentation:
1) We’re people first: not far from the concept of “Call Me Patient, Not Consumer” I wrote about a few months ago.

2) Trust is key in this space (arguably in all spaces) and it works both ways. An important step to build trust is to start humanizing pharma more. Pharma can humanize itself more in many ways: starting with putting a name and a face to the building, the company name and the stock; thinking of the patient as people (as just mentioned).

We may not be getting hit by a hurricane every day but the cost of health care and the barriers to access to care make it harder and harder for people with chronic conditions to get the care they need. Pharma should find creative ways to emulate efforts like P&G’s “Loads of Hope” initiative to help Katrina victims with their laundry after the hurricane – so many people need help today.

Can you make patient assistance programs easier to find? Easier to enter? Broader? Things like these could go a long way to help build up trust from people towards pharma. A place to start may be to mine your organization for stories of people working in pharma because they were driven from within by a personal connection to a particular condition.

3) Adverse Event data is a good thing: Adverse events (AE) seem to be the elephant in the room most pharmaceutical companies are running away from when it comes down to working with online communities and patient blogs. Not engaging patients may save pharma the “trouble” of dealing with AE but it also results in missing opportunities for dialog.

Here is the presentation: