Memories of ePatient Conference Past

In a few days, it’s going to mark (and it’s crazy to myself typing this) my 3rd year in a row attending the ePatient Connections conference (aka #ePatCon on Twitter). It seriously seems like yesterday since I first started going to the conference back when it first started in 2009. My former collegeue from the Detroit Medical Center, David Ellis, who’s the current editor for the Health Futures Digest website (check out their Twitter page here if interested: @HFDigest) had invited me to tag along with him to check out what the health/social media conference was all about and ever since then, I’ve been fascinated and interested in going every single year. So this year, I’m very excited to be not just attending, but actually speaking at the event this time around and wanted to take a brief look back at the years I’ve been there and why I’m excited to be heading back.

The first year there, the initial image (shown above) that I saw at the conference and (is one of the main reasons why I love attending) was with the very unique set-up with well-placed roundtables, loads of available plug outlets, plenty of free Wi-Fi, and last but not least, a nice sized “Twitter Screen”  displayed on the side of the main room and was a flat screen TV which constantly showed the live tweets going on with those in attendance sending posts using the given #ePatCon Twitter hashtag. While this set-up may not sound like much to the casual social media user, at the time a couple years ago when social media was finally hitting its stride, I saw this and was surprised (and mostly appreciated) that this conference wasn’t the ‘same old-same old’ I’ve seen before at different meets.

Instead of the standard “sit there and stare at the speaker” kind of conference, the ePatient Connection meet was just that…”connected”. With having the set-up of the fun “Twitter Screen” and the encouragement of attendees to tweet and discuss in real-time what they are seeing on stage, I felt that it was a very cool and innovative way to help people further engage each other there at the conference. While some attendees reportedly (and semi-jokingly) called the group of folks in front of laptops tweeting & chatting away during some presentations the “Twitter Trouble Tables”, I felt that the move here provided the conference a nice unique feel to it by providing a lot more great conversations amongst both the presenters and the speakers themselves.

And besides the great set-up, the people that I had the great opportunity to both see present and also chat during the conference were very awesome to say the least. The presentations I saw were extremely interesting and cool ranging from a talk from the CDC on how they used the power of social media to help get good word to the public about preventing the H1N1 Flu pandemic [remember that?!? :)] which was was going on at the time to conference creator Kevin Kruse gettting the results from a genomic test that he participated in days ago live on stage. And on top of the presentations, I got to meet up with people like Dave DeBronkart aka “e-Patient Dave”, who I had the great pleasure of interviewing for an article (click here to read) and Dana Lewis, who is creator and current moderator of the excellent weekly #HCSM (health care social media) Twitter chat, and whom I had a great chat with at the conference.

So after concluding my time at the conference in 2009, the first thing that I wanted to do once I g0t back to Detroit was to honestly turn right back around and start making plans for myself to attend the conference for next year.  So I did just that and one year later, I attended the conference again and ended up enjoying it even better the second time around. I naturally took full advantage of the Wi-Fi hook up there, met up and chatted with some more great folks, and ultimately enjoyed the entire session with all of the very fascinating talks, particularly with this seriously emotional and inspiring talk from Regina Holiday (pictured above) that literally had the entire crowd in tears (a MUST WATCH here:

So after attending the ePatient Connections conference two years in a row in Philadelphia, I now am excited for coming back again not just as an attendee but now as actually one of the presenters on stage (see my talk title here). I do admit ahead of time that it’s going to be initially pretty odd to be on the other end on the same exact stage that I’ve been viewing and tweeting about in the last couple of years.  But I am so excited and very appreciative of the opportunity to share with everyone the nice work we do with our social media efforts at the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) and hopefully also represent my good ol’ hometown of Detroit as well. #ePatcon….here I come 🙂

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What Hulk Hogan and Wrestling Can Teach #HCSM

I admit that I’ve been a long time fan of professional wrestling…you know…the one with Hulk Hogan, cage matches, and steel chairs. As silly as it may sound initially, I’ve actually learned a good deal of general life lessons from the crazy world of wrestling and think that some of these lessons can also apply to those who want to get into the equally crazy world of #HCSM (health care/social media).

Creativity Is Key

Hulk Hogan

The main thing that draws fans into watching professional wrestling is seeing all of the crazy, creative looks and personalities of the wrestlers themselves.  Even if you’re not into or knowledgeable about wrestling at all, the one household name that everyone in the world at least knows about is with the most popular wrestler of all time…Hulk Hogan (shown above). The man, who rose to mega-popularity in the 80s with the dubbed nationwide push dubbed “Hulkamania”, was known mostly for his trademark red & yellow wrestling gear, giant blond mustache, infamous battles against foes such as “Macho Man” Randy Savage & Andre The Giant all while waving an American flag and his flurry of sayings for young kids such as “Better say your prayers and eat your vitamins”.

To some, it may have (and still is) the corniest thing in the world to see, but no one, wrestling fan or not, could deny that the guy was kind of hard to not pay attention, especially with his unique, creative style. So hospitals and health systems who want to make an impact in the world of #HCSM need to be just like Hulk Hogan…recognizable….pretty unique…and just plain cool with their social media efforts. Hospitals should try to think “big” and really create projects that are really different than everyone else’s and possibly haven’t been done before in the #HCSM world. Before Hogan, no wrestler was truly as “larger than life” than him and that’s the kind of aspiration that places should have with letting the public know about their social media outreach.

Don’t Be Too Gimmicky

“Duke the Dumpster”

For every “Hulk Hogan” in pro wrestling, there is sadly five other wrestlers who are really, and bluntly put, pretty darn lame. A lot of wrestlers in the past wanted to naturally get noticed by fans, so they thought of some of most crazy (not in a good way) gimmicks to take on. Some of these very short-lived wrestler gigs included: “Duke the Dumpster”…a guy who dressed up as a garbage man and used a metal can as his primary weapon of choice; “Mr. I.R.S.”…a dude who wore a very smarmy business shirt, tie and pants, threatened people with tax audits, and had a trademark move called “The Write-Off”; and the infamous “Doink The Clown” whose gimmick was simply…you guessed it…dressing up as a clown. While these wrestlers did enjoy their wrestling-related “15 minutes of fame”, people were very quick to forget about them and laugh years later if they happen to remember anything about their not-so-great gimmicks.

Hospitals and health systems need to avoid becoming the next “Doink The Clown” with their #HCSM efforts by not succumbing to any of the perceived social media gimmicks that exist out there. Sometimes if a hospital (or a general brand/company for that matter) finds success doing one particular thing on their social media channels and sees that they’re receiving some good attention with it, they naturally want to duplicate the same exact formula to try and get the same exact results. But if a hospital had some great success, let’s say, doing a group “flash mob” video (you know…the “surprise” dances that big groups had done in public) with their workers for YouTube, and wanted to focus on doing JUST more “flash mob” videos instead of doing anything else on social media, then they would be the equivalent of “Duke The Dumpster”…fun at first to look at….then gets pretty boring, predictable, and unintentionally funny after awhile. Don’t be like “Duke”.

Stay True To Yourself

John Cena

And if one lesson holds truer than any others here is with the look of the most popular wrestler currently with John Cena.  Cena is easily the most known wrestler out there today and the main reason why a lot of fans flock to see this 10-time World Champion is simply because the man stays true to himself in and out of the ring. By that, I mean that the man doesn’t come out to any crazy gimmicks…John Cena is the guy’s real name…he dresses the way that he does in real-life and in the wrestling ring with a t-shirt, baseball cap and shorts…and he just says what’s on his mind…nothing more, nothing less.

When Cena first started, he actually did try to have a said gimmick. His was of an “Eminem-type rapper”, who wore baggy pants, backwards caps, and attempted to down his opponents with “battle raps” before matches. While that went over initially well at the time, the crowd eventually got tired of hearing him do this and Cena realized that he had to change up his style. So once he stopped being like “Doink The Clown” (i.e. gimmicky) and decided to just be himself, he ended up being just as popular as a modern-day “Hulk Hogan”. If a hospital wants to do a social media campaign focus on “rapping doctors” and the doctors themselves aren’t comfortable in participating in it, then the push will eventually backfire because they are being true to themselves.

So in the end, hospitals and health systems need to aim big with creating innovative #HCSM projects and aspire to be like “Hulk Hogan”, avoid doing repeating the same efforts and doing ‘old hat’ social media gimmicks that have been done before in order to not be like “Duke the Dumpster”, and in the end if they be like “John Cena” and be true to themselves, then they should find some good success in the world of #HCSM.

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“What Sesame Street, Chuck Norris, & Sneakers Taught Me About Twitter”

Recently I was invited to attend and speak at the 140 Characters Conference (aka #140conf) on Twitter over in New York City. This week prior to my talk, I wrote a special guest blog for #140conf entitled “What Sesame Street, Chuck Norris, & Sneakers Can Teach Me About Twitter” (which you can read here), in which I talked about what I was anticipating with the interesting line-up of talks at the conference. So now after watching these talks, I think that I have to officially change the title of this blog post to “What Sesame Street, Chuck Norris, Sneakers, Superheroes, Paper Planes, Deepak Chopra, & More Taught Me About Twitter” simply because I couldn’t find the room to fit all of the great talk topics into one title.

So first off for my original title, this is what I learned:

Sesame Street taught me about…the power of engaging multiple audiences. Dan Lewis (@DanDotLewis)’s talk described how he used the Twitter page for the oh-so-still awesome and classic long running children’s TV show Sesame Street to help reach not just the kids watching the show on a regular basis, but also the parents who may be watching right along with them too. So this taught me that companies/people shouldn’t sometimes  just focus on their “plain as day” main audience, but also be aware and focus on the other types of related audiences around who may want to tune into your content as well aka “going outside of your circle”.

Chuck Norris & “sneakers” taught me about…the power of knowing one’s audience. Through both talks on “Chuck Norris” & “sneakers”, I learned that one can use Twitter to really get to know one’s audience. With @IanJSpector, creator of “Chuck Norris Facts” & the great folks at @Sole_Camp, they both talked about using the medium to identify the wants, needs, and tastes of their very unique audiences through good old quality interaction on a real-time basis.

Above: "LIVE via Skype...*drumroll please*...Deepak Chopra 🙂

And with the other talks, there were seriously SO MANY good ones (from “mac-n-cheese” to “Firefly” to the oh so fabulous “Lupus Ladies of Twitter”) that demonstrated the true power of Twitter with doing overall social good in the world with the great communities that use it. “Superheroes” with @cspenn‘s talk & his example of people using Twitter for earthquake relief taught me about how “ordinary people” can rise up to become “superheroes” in their own communities; “Paper Planes” with @jackhidary’s talk & crazy-awesome, impromptu, conference stopping paper-plane building contest with the audience, taught me about how imagination and teamwork can go a long way in doing good on Twitter; and @DeepakChopra’s Skype talk on “Happiness” taught me simply that Twitter could be used to ultimately help spread…well…happiness 🙂

Above: Pre-"Paper Plane" madness, Jack Hidary showing off "Homer Simpson's brain" for his talk on neuromarketing

Overall, I learned SO MUCH from the #140conf meet in New York City that my tiny blog post here won’t give it the full justice it deserves. @JeffPulver, the person behind #140conf, and every single attendee and speaker at this conference deserve the biggest kudos in the world for starting up and maintaining this great collection of people united simply by the world of Twitter. I personally am very honored and excited to be part of this spectacular group with my two #140conf presentations so far (shown below) and I’m so appreciative to have had the opportunity to represent Detroit and my great team at Detroit Medical Center (DMC) in New York City and see ultimately how much positive power a seemingly tiny 140 character tweet can have on the world.

My Talk at #140conf New York – June 2011

Vodpod videos no longer available.

My Talk at #140conf Detroit – October 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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“Detroit 1-8-7”…Good for TV…Great for Detroit

Before I discuss in short why I believe the TV show “Detroit 1-8-7” is great for viewers and great for the city of Detroit, I first have to admit something. I honestly admit that when I first heard about the idea of a television show called “Detroit 1-8-7” being produced, I thought just from the title alone and the seemingly increasing negative perception of Detroit at the time, that it was going to not be good at all.

As a long-time Detroiter myself,  the only things that I was hearing at the time about Detroit frequently in the media was: 1) How bad our “crazy” ex-mayor Mr. Kwame Kilpatrick during the infamous text message scandal …2) How bad our coveted “Big 3” (Chrysler, Ford, GM) auto industry was taking a hit…3) And last but not least…How bad our major football team the Detroit Lions was with having one of the worst season records in NFL history. So to hear that a show with the police code for homicide in its title and was about Detroit, I was bummed that it could further damage the already hurting image of the city to the main media.

But wow, was I wrong!

After the show started getting its overall feel with character-focused stories in its 2nd and 3rd episodes (with the pilot episode coming off like a “test run”), I was instantly hooked. Instead of putting a major focus on the negatives of the city, which could have easily “glorified” and focused on the murder cases and various crimes in Detroit, they instead made the show about people unifying to help stop the bad in the city while showing off what Detroit is all about. The show comes off as a really well –written, basic “cop show” that just happens to be in Detroit without making the city look like an crazy, apocalyptic nightmare. Just a normal great town trying to better itself and make an overall “comeback”.

And not only this, it still gives me great joy every episode when I’m reminded of the fact that this show was actually FILMED IN DETROIT, as opposed to other known shooting locations like Toronto or Minnesota being portrayed as “Detroit” on film (looking at you “Detroit Rock City!!).

When I see images like this every week of the sights and sounds of Detroit…



…it seriously makes me both excited and very proud to be a Detroiter here.

So with the season (hopefully not series) finale of “Detroit 1-8-7” airing this Sunday, I really hope and pray that not only do our loyal, awesome Detroit viewers and supporters tune in to help keep the show alive, but also for anyone from across the nation who remotely loves good television to tune in as well.

In the end, the show has done a tremendous job of portraying the city in a good light while also helping out the Detroit and Michigan film industry as a whole with providing jobs and boosting economy. And overall, it would be a darn shame if a great show like “Detroit 1-8-7” isn’t given a second chance to really prove its worth amongst the best “cop shows” done on television so far.

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Welcome to the “Not Quite 007” Blog

Hello everyone! This is my official welcome message to you all for my first official blog entitled “Not Quite 007”, which is simply named after my last name of “Bond” 🙂 I’ll explain more about the title in my next post! The main focus of this blog in short is my musings on “social media, pop culture, and a lil’ bit in between”.

Initially my first blog entry was going to be “Why It Took Me 6 Long Months to Start My Blog!!” as a nice intro/joke to explain why I never got around to writing on this page once I created it back in September 2010. But I decided to change it up to start with a topic that’s a little more current and pressing for this week.

So if you like, check me out 🙂 and please feel free to stop by again this time next week to see my newest entry! Have a good one.

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Finally starting me up a blog….thought up a hopefully cool name…now just have to get content 😉

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