One of my favorite parts of attending conferences is the opportunity to see national visionaries. That’s the opportunity I had at the Healthcare Internet Conference when Brian Solis took the stage for the Tuesday keynote.
Solis is the Principal of Futureworks, a social media research and consulting firm and the author of Engage!. He’s also the creator of the conversation prism, one of my favorite visuals for conveying the overwhelming breadth of tools and platforms available in the social media realm.
The way in which the Internet is used today is very different from the way that it was used only a few years ago. Online consumers are no longer passive viewers of content – they now create information, share information, discuss information and engage in very different ways. While there is lots of industry buzz around this Web 2.0 world, most of our organizations are still primarily using the Web as a broadcast channel – a very Web 1.0 approach.
This change isn’t easy. The challenges aren’t technical so much as cultural. For organizations to adapt requires new skills, new organization structures, and a greater acceptance of the need to engage with patients and health consumers with the tools that those audiences have embraced so emphatically.
The pace of change is only accelerating as the convergence of mobile, real-time and social boosts usage of these tools. Organizations that don’t begin to work social engagement into their strategy only face a growing gap between where they are as an organization and where their patients are.
Finally, the balance of power is shifting. Consumers in the Web 2.0 world are in control of what communications they receive and how they engage with individuals and brands. If you want to earn your way into those consumers’ trust zones, you will need to connect and engage with those consumers actively and provide quality information. If you don’t, someone else surely will.