I recently ran a version of my social media workshop for a group of health care librarians and information professionals in Liverpool. The group were LIHNN (Library and Information Health Network North West) and HCLU (Health Care Libraries Unit). (For further information about them see their web site at http://www.lihnn.nhs.uk/). I was forewarned that many of them have limited access to social media. Several confirmed that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs were all blocked in their workplace, yet most of them came from organisations who had set up YouTube channels, Twitter streams and Facebook pages! This raises an interesting question: if they receive a query about, for example, an event listed on their Facebook page or the content of a video on YouTube how are they supposed to respond if they are not able to check the content at the time of the enquiry? I find this mass blocking of social media web sites by organisations totally bizarre and ludicrous. The blocking is not even consistent. Slideshare may be blocked but other presentation sharing sites are often accessible. Add to this the antediluvian technology most of them are forced to use – in particular IE6 – and we end up with organisations that are out of touch with their users and communities, and have no idea what is being discussed or said about them.
But health care librarians and information professionals, and health care practitioners are an inventive lot. There is plenty of evidence of them having circumvented the barriers put in their way. The excellent Liz Azyan published a series of blog postings on social media and health care just before the workshop took place and they provide plenty of examples and support for those putting together a case for access to social media.
The postings are:
- Social Media for Medical Practitioners http://www.lgeoresearch.com/social-media-for-medical-practitioners/
- Social networks for medical practitioners http://www.lgeoresearch.com/social-networks-for-medical-practitioners/
- Web 2.0 & social media for patients http://www.lgeoresearch.com/web-2-0-social-media-for-patients/
- Cool Health Related Web 2.0 & Social Media Stuff by and for Patients http://www.lgeoresearch.com/cool-health-related-web-2-0-social-media-stuff-by-patients/
- Slideshare presentation slides for social media and web 2.0 for healthcare http://www.lgeoresearch.com/7-slideshare-presentation-slides-for-social-media-and-web-2-0-for-healthcare/
- E-Learning: Web 2.0 & Social Media examples and quotes for Health Informatics http://www.lgeoresearch.com/e-learning-web-2-0-social-media-examples-and-quotes-for-health-informatics/
The Liverpool workshop participants were equally innovative. During the practical sessions they were able to test out social media for providing up to date information on their services and current awareness to their users. The winners were wikis for creating mini-websites and Netvibes for presenting RSS feeds and current awareness. The NHS Bolton Library wiki at http://boltonpct.pbworks.com/ and Shrewsbury and Telford Health Libraries Netvibes Team Knowledge Update at http://www.netvibes.com/sathlibraries are just two examples. There was also a great deal of interest in Twitter and blogs for at least monitoring “conversations” on health related topics and their own organisations, and word clouds for analysing the content of documents.
Facebook did not win any converts, nor did Second Life.
My PowerPoint presentation for the day is available in several places, and you should be able to view or download it from at least one of them: