SXSW 2010: Brian Solis – Organizations need to socialize

Social Media has changed the communication landscape and also the world of business has noticed that. But a Facebook group or a Twitter account is no guarantee for successful participation in the communities of your customers. To achieve that you need to do more. “You need to engage”, according to Brian Solis, Prinicpal at Futureworks and one of the prominent thought leaders in social media.

“As a company or as a brand you need to participate in the conversations in such manner that your not only of added value, but that you also involve your customers in your marketing and service activities.” Because of that social media will have an enormous impact in the organsational structure of a company. “Any division within an organization that is effected by outside influence is goiung to have to socialize”.  Eventually social media instruments will become aminstream as email is today, but before that organisations will need to go through a process of cultural change.

Brian was at SXSW to promote his latest book ‘Engage’, in his words the book that starts where the current scial media books stop. “There is not a single book that goes into this depth, that tells you how to apply social media to your job, how to get resources, how to measure it and how to get support.” We spoke with Brian about his book, about cultural change and about SXSW 2010.

What if the Military had disclaimers like Pharma Ads?

A classic, but still a good one:

Thx Nadine, for the tip!

Top – Whatever

Funny thing about the end of the year is that apparently we all have this desperate feeling of creating lists of top whatever. End of last year I have been listening to the Top 1000, the best hit songs ever. On TV they showed the best TV moments of 2009. But also on the internet the Top-whatever-frenzy had taken off. So I thought I give you a bit of help in case you have been living under a rock last year. For everybody else, it’s always a good to check if you didn’t miss something. Case in point: memorize these lists and you are guaranteed to be seen as the next Social Media guru on birthday parties. Here we go:

Top 10 of Everything of 2009 (Time Magazine)

700+ Apps for the iPhone (Mashable)

9 Essential iPhone Apps for Cat Lovers (Mashable)

Top 10 Semantic Web Products (ReadWriteWeb)

Top 10 web 2.0 Trends (Stepcase Lifehack)

Top 2009 Social Media Trends for Moms (Mashable)

Top 10 moments in Social Media in 2009 (LA Times)

Top 2008-2009 Social Media Strategy Books (I Think)

Top 10 WTF Social Media Moments of 2009 (Ignite Social Media)

Top 10 Biggest Social Media Stories of 2009 (Vatornews)

Top 15 Recommended Social Media Books of 2009 (WindMill Networking)

And to top it off, have a look at these hilarious cartoons of social media in 2009:

Be well in 2010!

It’s the end of the year; time for reflection…

In the relatively short existence of DigiRedo we have completed many exciting projects, met inspiring many people and gained lots of interesting new insights.

We have come to realize that the implementation of new and innovative forms of communication requires vision, an open mind and the courage to abandon status quo. We therefore consider ourselves very fortunate to have worked with so many people who exhibit these characteristics and it is only when we reflect on this that we realize that much of DigiRedo’s success was dependent on the vision, courage and open minds of our customers. And for this we want to thank you personally.

Starting a company in the midst of one of the worst recessions in recent history is daunting. But it’s not as daunting as drinking a glass of water…That is, if you’re one of the billion people who don’t have access to clean and safe drinking water. It really puts things into perspective when you realize that more people die from drinking a cup unsafe water than all the wars put together. Hence, we at DigiRedo want to do our part to help eradicate this horrible problem by contributing to Charity: Water

‘Charity: water’ is a non-profit organization which gives people the opportunity to start their own fundraising campaigns to help bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Unique to Charity: Water – and most appropriate for DigiRedo – is the role that new media play in helping to raise funds. You can set up your own website, integrate with Facebook, Twitter and even build a community. The use of New Media result in transparency, knowing that all Euros or Dollars reach their destination. No huge overhead. Moreover, through New Media, contributors can track their gifts to the point of expenditure.

So, it’s time for action. Our DigiRedo campaign is called ‘Bytes for Water’ and you can contribute yourself by visiting our campaign website. In order to build one well for clean water, $5,000 is required. And with one well, we can provide one village of more than 250 people with clean water. For 20 years. Every $20 gives one person clean water for the next 20 years.

We have already kicked-off our campaign by contributing 20% of the target amount. By doing so, we of course hope that we are leading by example.

And that’s our wish for 2010. Learn about New Media and use it to make the world a better place.

We wish you and your family all the best for 2010.

René and Erik

Twitter in Pharma – Interview with John Pugh (Boehringer)

At the last DigiPharm congress we spoke to John Pugh, Director Corporate and External Communications at Boehringer Ingelheim. John is well known for bringing Boehringer into the Twittersphere, and has quiet some success with that initiative. Using Twitter to communicate with journalists -his primary target in his role as External Communicator- he “can establish a dialogue with them”, according to John himself.

John started in the new/social media space about ten years ago, the time that websites were still written in Comic Sans. You could call John a real internet veteran, in that respect. During DigiPharm 2009 he shared his vision of the future of pharma, and the role new media will have.

In our interview John talks about his passion for new media and the challenges pharma is facing when deploying new media into their communication mix. John is a firm believer of new media and focusses in the opportunities rather than the threats, like we see way too often around us. We need more johns….


The Social US Army

The US Army. An organization of 4.5 million professionals that safeguards the national and international territories. In this blogpost I certainly do not want to make any judgement about the intentions of the US Army when executing their duty, and whether it’s good or bad to show so much power in some areas of the wold. That is something everybody should make up their own opinion. No, what I do want to talk about is the way the US Army has embraced Social Media and provides soldiers to blog from their location abroad. Whether that’s a warzone or not. During Blogworld 2009 we had a short interview with a spokesman and -woman.

Rifle or keyboard
For the first time the US Army had a booth at the commercial exhibition place and looking at the sheer number of people visiting the stand it certainly was popular to talk to soldiers that so now and then replace their rifle with a keyboard. Totally against expectations the US Army has opened up blogging for a large number of US Army personnel, who can share their experiences with the rest of the world. According to their own words no filtering takes place. They even have established a new division for this: ‘the Online & Social Media Division’. “We recognize the informative power of Social Media to reach our target audience, and we are here at Blogworld to see how we can improve”, says Major Arata during our interview.

“We have a blog,, where everybody who is interested in finding out the lives of real soldiers can come. Currently we have 56 real soldiers blogging about their lives, unfiltered”, says a passionate Major Constantino (who, by the way, kept a very close eye on the PR lady rushed to us when we were conducting the interview…). Constantino: “We make the army more human. We are not some sort of digitized machine but we are real people”.

Army gimmicks
Main question of course is how they do it, unfiltered blogging. Whereas many organization don’t want to burn even their little toe, the US Army is providing full insight. Or so they say. Honestly, I can hardy believe that a platoon somewhere deep down in Afghanistan -accidentally- throws some confidential information on the net. But apparently they don’t bother too much. Arata: “We always say: we should educate and not regulate. That means that we should provide clear guidelines en trust our people.

The biggest goal of this initiative is informing the general public about the activities of the US Army and thus increasing the ‘goodwill’. According to both spokesmen they have succeeded in that, though a lot of work still needs to be done. That -coincidentally- a new person joins the army because of the social media activities, that’s good but not the main cause. And yet, looking at their booth with all the US Army gimmicks and give-aways it did look a bit like they were attempting to bring people in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely convinced that the spokesman and -woman truly believe in the power of blogging (though Major Constantino has to start herself blogging) and I think it’s wonderful that Social Media especially here found its place.

Now, if the US Army kan blog unfiltered, what can your company do?

FDA Launches Twitter Feed and Calls for Public Hearing on Social Media & Internet

In case you haven’t already heard, the two big pieces of news in the Social Pharmer world (over the last couple of weeks) both have to do with the FDA…

FDA Launches Official Twitter Feed
Firstly, the FDA launched it’s official Twitter feed on Sept 11th: @FDA_Drug_Info. You can find their Twitter information page here, which includes information on “Available Twitter Feeds” (I’m guessing that means they’re planning more than one Twitter feed in the future) and associated disclaimers. Not surprisingly (I guess), their disclaimer states “We are not able to respond to replies or direct messages. Please do not reply to tweets with any private, personal, or proprietary information. Send questions, comments to: or call 1-888-INFO-FDA“, which means that — for them — Twitter is merely another channel for disseminating information via one-way communications — not a medium for interaction or conversation.

While social media “purists” may call this heresy, I think it’s a reasonable initial approach (though they did launch FDArecalls a few months back) and even encouraging that they have at least taken the first step to try it out for themselves. However, others may refer to it as the Irony of Ironies, since we are all painfully aware of the fact that industry guidelines (currently) DO NOT exist for even the Internet, let alone social media. We’ll see how things evolve in the near future.

FDA Calls for Open Hearing on Social Media and Internet
Speaking of evolution…

In a surprise announcement last week (SEP 18th), the FDA filed a Notice of Public Hearing “…to discuss issues related to the promotion of FDA-regulated medical products (including prescription drugs for humans and animals, prescription biologics, and medical devices) using the Internet and social media tools“. The hearing will be held on NOV 12-13, 2009 in Washington, D.C. Here’s more from the notice…

FDA is seeking participation in the public hearing and written comments from all interested parties, including, but not limited to, consumers, patients, caregivers, health care professionals, patient groups, Internet vendors, advertising agencies, and the regulated industry. This meeting and the written comments are intended to help guide FDA in making policy decisions on the promotion of human and animal prescription drugs and biologics and medical devices using the Internet and social media tools. FDA is seeking input on a number of specific questions but is interested in any other pertinent information participants in the hearing would like to share.

While this announcement may be surprising to many, it’s been something that folks like John Mack have long asked for and discussed over the course of the last few months (it was also a big topic at the Social Pharmer Unconference earlier this year), as social media started to rise in popularity within the industry.

As you can imagine, the announcement has also drawn a lot of interest and chatter from the Social Pharmer crowd and here are some links to what are being said around it:

  1. Ignite Blog: BREAKING NEWS: The FDA calls for a public hearing to discuss promotion of FDA-regulated medical products using the Internet and social media tools (NOTE: this is where I heard it first)
  2. Pharma Marketing News: Pharma Influence Over 3rd-Party Conversations in Social Media
  3. Eye on FDA: FDA to Hold Part 15 Hearing on Social Media and Pharma – Finally!
  4. Walking the Path Blog: Why Non-Pharma Marketers Should Care About the FDA Public Hearing on Drug Promotion & Social Media
  5. Impactiviti Blog: Coming Up: A Big Week in Pharma Social Media

If you’re interested (and you should be) in following the conversation on this topic, the hashtag that has been established is #fdaSM. And if you’re thinking about playing a more active role in this, you should (1) read and take John Mack’s survey, (2) read Mark Senak’s blog on “What Companies Should Do Between Now and The Part 15 Hearing on Social Media“, and (3) register to attend the event in NOV at — see “How To Register for FDA’s Part 15 Meeting on Social Media” for help.

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