Posted in Education, Politics, SocialMedia, Technology

Social Media in Healthcare and Local Government

Sharing the latest article I wrote for my Master’s in Public Administration course work at Bellevue University.  Check out the Healthcare Hashtag Project (link in references below).

This post offers a brief summary of an article found using the Elton B. Stephens Company (EBSCO) database on the use of electronic communications to serve clients of the healthcare industry.

Today’s technology allows many opportunities for patient-centered care.  Email, text messaging, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter offer today’s nurses a chance to modernize healthcare practitioner methods of patient interaction.  The article cites a Pew Research Center study reporting 85% of American’s are online, and 55% of these people are using mobile devices (Weaver, Lindsay, Gitelman, 2012).  These statistics suggest a public ready for new methods of interacting with healthcare providers.

Using modern communication technologies, nurses can educate the public about four changeable behaviors, identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as negatively affecting the health of Americans:

  • Lack of Exercise
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Tobacco Use
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Nurses are in the best position to use technology to improve the health and communications practices between healthcare providers and patients.  “Experience suggests that nursing leaders–and those who discover they can lead in this way–will seek the opportunities and efficiencies that electronic connections afford both their patients and them (Weaver, Lindsay, Gitelman, 2012).”  If nurses are in the best position to use technology in modernizing healthcare service delivery, could these same practices be applied to public administration?

City governments have access to the same no-cost solutions as other for-profit organizations.  YouTube and other social media offers free platforms for broadcasting and disseminating local government activities.  A quick search for local municipalities’ use of technology proves there is still a lot of room for improvement by our local governments.  The City of Papillion is a great example of a local government instituting best practices using electronic communication.

Papillion City Happenings YouTube Video
Papillion City Happenings YouTube Video

To remain relevant as a governing body, public administration must follow communication methods of the people governed.  “If conversation norms govern how often we talk and with whom, there are other structures that govern what we talk about and how we talk about it, not only in conversations but also in media and other communication modes (Gastil, 2008, p. 226).”

References:

City of Papillion. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from
https://www.facebook.com/CityofPapillion

City of Papillion. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from https://twitter.com/CityofPapillion

Gastil, J. (2008). Political communication and deliberation. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage Publications, Inc.

Papillion City Council for November 19, 2013 [Video file]. (2013, November 20).
Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=H6eRVtopGiY&feature=share&list=UUJtw2GjLfFIAueHjKT-1rdA

The healthcare hashtag project. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from
http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/

Weaver, B., Lindsay, B., & Gitelman, B. (2012). Communication technology and
social media: Opportunities and implications for healthcare systems.
Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(3). http://dx.doi.org/10.3912/
OJIN.Vol17No03Man03

Posted in Relationships, SocialMedia, Technology, Wellness

Viewer Discretion is Advised

I received feedback from those on my Facebook page that the picture I’m including here should have come with a warning. So, if you’re eating something, you might want to wait to read this.

Back on January 10th, I slipped and fell on black ice in a parking lot at work. A couple hours later I was in the hospital getting x-rays due to the enormity of pain & swelling. Because initially, there was no indication of a break in the bones…I was released with pain meds, told to elevate & ice and I should recover in time.

A follow-up appointment in February yielded another x-ray due to continued pain & swelling. Finally, around April, due to no explanation for continued swelling I received a referral to a podiatrist! After examination, I was given an appointment to have an MRI. After a whole month, at last, I received authorization through the VA health care system for a surgical consult from downtown doctors.

This appointment with a foot/ankle specialist at Ortho West revealed that not only had my ligaments been ripped off my ankle back in January, but on that day I received a fracture to my Tibia, as well as a 3cm vertical tear in my right peroneal brevis tendon. Because the fracture was never diagnosed or treated (getting off of my foot long enough for the fracture to heal), scheduling myself for the tendon repair would give me the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone! So, finally, on 8 July I was scheduled for the procedure~a couple of hours and 16 staples later, I was on my way to begin recovery.   If you want to take a look at exactly what happened in my case…I’m pasting a url to a YouTube video of the procedure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU7e669fZLA. If you have a weak stomach at all I don’t recommend you watch it.

Picture of the finished work on 8 Jul

Right Peroneal Brevis Tendon Repair!

What it looked like at home until 11 July!

Bandaged

Freed from the bandage 12 Jul

Reclining

Today, 15 July is the first full week post op!  I’m thankful to be home in my own environment, but this procedure took a lot more out of me than I ever could have predicted.  I’m thankful for a great family who has catered to every need…and to everyone out there on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & LinkedIn who’ve sent messages and posts of encouragement and support!

OrthoWest, the Orthopedic specialists, and the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital staff were fabulous.  I haven’t ever encountered a hospital workflow system that put people first like these two health care establishments do.  Their business processes, Information Technology and automation solutions were designed with the patient’s needs in mind.  If you need orthopedic consultation, I highly recommend this team of professionals!

I have spent my recovery time using distraction techniques like reading, being deeply engaged in social media, listening to my wife read to the family during lunch times, watching a few videos with the kids, listening to Pandora and sleeping!  I am so thankful for my family and the network of friends across the globe who’ve taken the time to inquire about my status and post notes of encouragement.  Many of these friends I’ve known for a couple of years now but have never met in person (thinking of a lot of #UsGuys pals).  This is just one example of how social media can be extremely helpful to the emotional well being of individuals.

Apologies if this post was a little disturbing (pictures/video) but when you have many people asking what happened…how’s it going…a blog is the best way to speak once~inform many!  I thank you for reading!  Hope you all are well and in great health!

Cheers

Posted in Business, SocialMedia

Socially Speaking – #UsGuys Connections

Lois Creamer
Lois Creamer

This last Tuesday evening, I had the privilege of a telephone discussion with a dear friend I’ve only known from an online interaction over the last couple of years.  We are both part of an online community called #UsGuys on Twitter and Facebook!  If you see the #UsGuys hashtag in your Twitter stream rest assured you are seeing the digital exhaust of some extremely social savvy people.

Each night around 10:00pm there’s a ritual known as #Nightshift #CheckIn.  I haven’t been as consistent in my check-ins due to the pace of life, but I know that any evening where time permits; I can jump into the stream and connect with other socially interested professionals.  My friend and I both discovered that we loved the old show, Walton’s Mountain that used to be a weekly television show in the 80’s.  So, I would bid her goodnight by saying good night Mary Ellen….she would respond by saying “good night John Boy!”  Its amazing how many incredible people I have met over the last couple of years in this group!

So, let me introduce to you my Mary Ellen ~ Lois Creamer is a professional speaker!  She’s quite the accidental entrepreneur!  She decided when she became a mother that her focus was her child.  Her time would be dedicated to pouring her passion and love into being a parent.  When her child entered school and she had some free time during the day, someone informed a gentleman who had a professional speaking business that Lois would make a great assistant.  He called her and asked her to come speak to him.  Although he was looking for full-time help, he finally relented to her firm offer of part time hours that would still allow her to be there for her child before and after school.

She was a quick study and after several years decided there was an opportunity for her to develop a business of her own on the speaking circuit.  15 years later, Lois Creamer is an invaluable resource consulting professionals and business teams from all over!  She traveled much of her early career but lately has been able to bring more clients to her town of St Louis, Missouri.  If you’ve never visited that part of the country you’re missing out.

I shared with her my future aspirations about the entrepreneurial  life and she encouraged me to consider talks in different venues.  “One of the best ways to spread the word about your business is to find opportunities to speak about it!”  She encouraged me, as she does others, to join my local Toastmaster‘s group to gain experience.  Because I’m a huge TED Talk fan, Toastmasters sounds like a great boot camp for the TED Talk big-time! 😉  Anyway, our phone conversation was our first connection beyond the electrons emanating from our screens I’ve had with Lois.  I’m forever stunned at how true to the personality I’ve come to know via our electronic connection is reflected in the real life connections.  I mentioned this fact to her about my Tweetup experience in the Twin Cities and how amazing that was.  If you or your business have not taken the social media plunge you’re missing out on some valuable connections you may otherwise never make.

So, for the readers out there, be encouraged if you too are considering your hand at an entrepreneurial endeavor.  Follow Lois on Twitter….and Lois’ blog at BookMoreBusiness for expert advice and practical assistance on how to achieve your dreams.

Posted in Education, Politics, Writing

Conversation with Congressman Lee Terry

Yesterday I was fortunate enough that my boss reminded me that Congressman Lee Terry was going to be at Petrow’s on 60th & Center for a couple of hours to mix and mingle with constituents.  These small morning gatherings at area restaurants and coffee houses give a more intimate, one-on-one opportunity for the public to express concerns and ask questions.

Congressman Lee Terry
Congressman Lee Terry

Since our daughter Megan has been following national politics and showed interest for the last three Presidential elections I asked if she’d be interested in attending.  Megan and I arrived at 8:15 and Congressman Lee Terry and a companion of his was already seated and deep in discussion with a few locals.  Megan and I were seated several tables away from his group so we took our menus and ordered breakfast.  A short time later, my boss and his wife arrived.  By this time several locals had arrived and pulled up chairs around the table where Congressman Terry was seated.

My boss and his wife engaged us in conversation about public education and some challenges presented in today’s academic environment.  The restaurant was getting crowded with the typical morning breakfast crowd.  In particular, I noticed an entire table of individuals signing!  I have always loved sign language~more about that later.  Channel 7 News arrived and video taped several minutes of conversation with the constituents at the table.  After they stopped filming and left, my boss suggested that if we wanted a chance to talk we just had to go up to the table and introduce ourselves.

Megan and I approached his table, he noticed us approaching and stood up, shook our hands and asked where we were from.  We had a seat at the nearest table and began talking.  She informed him that she is 17 years old and educated at home.  Megan specifically had two questions she wanted to ask.

The first question:  She was wondering what it was going to take to get more Congressional members working in a bipartisan manner.  He acknowledged that it would be best–and the American people were wanting more cooperation between Republicans and Democrats.  He stated that it was why he isn’t always popular because he does make it a point to try his best to “work across the isle.”

Her second question was about education and “why the strong emphasis on math and science; what about the arts?”  He shared with Megan “to be honest, I wasn’t the greatest in math either.”  He stated that in order to get most jobs in today’s economy you had to have good math and science skills.  He said that several of the people sitting at his table were from all over the local area–one individual owned a factory where there were 60 job vacancies!  There just aren’t enough skilled people to fill the jobs. I shared with him that I worked at Offutt AFB and he asked if I was going to be affected by the furlough.  I stated that I would be.  He said “We’re trying to arrange it so there isn’t a furlough!”  I shared that if we all were able to reduce, reuse, recycle, make simple….and that if there were more collaboration among agencies, perhaps we could work smarter with fewer resources!  He wondered what Megan’s plans were after graduation and she said she’s was still trying to figure that out.

Megan is a typical 17 year old who’s still searching for what she wants to do with her life.   She has many passions, interests and skills–she just doesn’t know yet what she wants to do with them.  She’s taken Latin, and is learning Spanish and Gaelic.  She’s a great musician ~ loves to sing, plays piano.  She has also rewritten the book, “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”  She decided she wanted a better outcome for Dorian and several years ago began her first draft.  She is on her third and final draft now.  Congressman Terry encouraged her to pursue her interest in writing.  He said, “I tell high school kids “You know what they call the best writer and speaker? — Boss!””  He said no matter what you do in life, you’ll be a success if you are able to write and speak well.

The companion with Congressman Terry stopped by and gave Megan Lee Terry’s business card and an information sheet with more information about the Congressional office.  He also encouraged her to go to the Congressman’s website and sign up for the Congressional Medal of Honor–a really big deal for a young person to be able to add to their resume!  He also promised that if we wanted, on his way out Terry would pose for a photo with her.  About a half hour later, Congressman Terry had to depart and I was able to snap this photo:

Megan and Congressman TerryIt was a great opportunity to meet one of our elected officials in a relaxed environment and have the chance to ask candid question and converse person to person.  If you are interested in an encounter of this sort you can learn when and where his next coffee conversations will be, just navigate to Congressman Lee Terry’s website and look at his Facebook posts.

On our way out, we had the chance to stop and visit with the remain people at the table where I noticed individuals signing and met a wonderful man named Joe and his friend/interpreter Monica.  They are attendees at the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception.  It was a gathering of people who used to belong to a bible study.

All in all, a great way to begin the weekend!

 

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Posted in Business, SocialMedia

How to Manage & Increase Your Twitter “Following” @ No Cost

This blog is the result of a light bulb coming on after observing some personal angst/confusion about “how” to be an effective follower.  My last post on this topic “What IS a Follower” in 2010 still has merit.  But I’ve decided that another post might help those of you who ask “How do I get beyond the limit of being able to follow 2000 tweeps?”

Remember, like I said in another post in 2010 about “Why I Tweet” I’m not here to “sell you anything” or make you chase annoying adds about some quick get rich course.  I’m here to help minimize confusion and guide newcomers along this social media landscape.  I’ve been “Twittering” and blogging for several years now and enjoy sharing what I learn.

So, onto the meaty part of this post.  How can I manage my throttled Twitter “Following” budget and still attract new followers?  There are two ways to “follow” twitter users.

  • The approach of pushing the “Follow” button on a users’ profile may or may not result in them following you back.  Remember the value of a Twitter account is in increasing the number of people your message can reach.  Every time you push that button you move the total number of people you can follow to some strange ratio of following to followers ratio that Twitter has set on each Twitter account.  So how do you get more followers once you’ve reached the 2,000 limit or that magic ratio limiter?
  • Another technique of “following” involves a couple of additional steps but is well worth your time.  List creation is one of the best ways to recognize people their profession or passion.  By creating a List with a catchy title (category), you can add people to your list (in effect, a behavior that allows you to consume the thoughts (tweets) of people who interest you.  The best thing about this form of “following” is that it does not count against your follower limits.  You’re not “following” them using the button method, your following them using a more powerful method of expertise management.

For example, some day I will complete a lifelong goal of publishing a book.  So I used that goal and Twitter as a resource to create a “Writeminds” list.  On this list of authors (hobbyists, newly published, seasoned authors and publishers) I have added over 400 Twitter user accounts who have identified themselves as being writers, bloggers, authors, publishers, or screen/script writers.

Here’s the magic/value of this form of following over mashing the “Follow” button:  By adding a Twitter user to a list I accomplish four simple things:

  1. I have recognized the aspirations or activities of an individual for something they are devoted to or passionate about.  Who doesn’t love to be recognized for their desire to become something they are working towards?
  2. I have created a simple way to better manage my time in searching for content related to a particular topic; in this example what are writers working on, talking about, sharing, revealing?  Its better than Google search results–I can make contact with the horses mouth.
  3. I have established a connection with expertise I could not have easily encountered by walking through town or browsing the phone book looking for “people” who might have the ability to help me along my journey.
  4. I have created value for others!  Anyone can subscribe to my “Writeminds” list and take advantage of the resource.  My list of authors most likely will not be the same as your list of authors so you can create your own and subscribe to mine.

When you “follow” people by curating a list of Twitter users who identify themselves with something that interests you, you immediately expand your virtual family with other birds of your same feather.  You also reward the individual you “follow” by recognizing their contributions!  The best part is, because you have recognized another’s talent, time & effort, many can’t resist following you by the easiest method out there (mash the button).  So, your follower count begins to rise because others begin to recognize you as someone who is offering something with no expectations in return.

Social media for professionals is a value based proposition founded in charity.  Go out of your way to make someone’s day.  Build a list, start adding people to the list and watch your follower count grow!  The greatest benefit of this behavior is you now can quickly stay abreast of topics that interest you with these interest “channels (lists)”  you’re creating on Twitter!  If happen to make (in real life~telephone, email, in person) contact with the people you follow using the list method, feel free to spend some of your follower limit by mashing that “Follow” button.

I’m interested in hearing how this method works for you~please share.

Cheers,
Ed

Posted in Business, SocialMedia, Technology, Writing

I Have a Book In Me

Thanks for reading!  There’s a question at the end for writers and authors…I value your input.

I just have to share a brief story about a friend/colleague.  He calls me up and asks for a few minutes of my time during a break at work.  So I say “Sure!”  Turns out Zach is an animal society non-profit volunteer and board member, and he wanted some advice on “improving” their website .   Zach stated that they already have a dedicated domain name and a website that’s currently out of date.

So, immediately the wheels start turning, my adrenaline gets pumping and dots are being connected at wicked speeds….I can just feel the synapses firing in my brain!

So my friend (lets call him Zach) says that their non-profit website is sort of “just there!”  The guy that volunteered to design and maintain their website moved to the East Coast but continued to maintain the site…until recently when his computer died.  Now they’ve turned to Zach for help.  He was looking for suggestions that would be cheap or free.  So I started off with some basic questions.

I asked what is the Purpose, Audience, and Goals of the website to the non-profit organization.  So I wrote those words down on the back of my printed out schedule for the day like this:

Purpose (of the site):  Membership, Volunteers, Fundraising

Target Audience (of the site):  Society Members, Volunteers, Contributors

Goals (of the site):  Raise Funds, Increase Membership, Increase # of volunteers

I mentioned that there was a huge difference between purpose & goals.  Purpose is why it exists, why you bother devoting any time to it in the first place.  Goals are achievable targets (increase fund raising by 5% per month, increase membership by 10% each month, gain 5 new volunteers each month.)

I asked him how the non-profit uses tech to engage their audience…apparently there is only one person who posts things on Facebook.  (I just did a search on FB and found nothing but external links)

I said, “Zach, if you’re not using free services like Twitter, Facebook, Quora, and LinkedIn to engage your audience, you’re missing out!  If you would begin using those services, within six months, I guarantee you’ll achieve all of your goals and increase the number of volunteers (under age 30) of your non-profit society!”

I told Zach that they asked for “help with a website” but what he needed to present to the board, was a business plan.  A domain name and non-interactive website are the same as a vacant lot or empty building!  It’s just a place–nobody’s going to come or even come back if there’s nobody to talk to.  I suggested that he deliver a proposal for a strategy to really give their society a long-overdue boost!  I suggested he take the page of notes and turn it into a quick 5-slide PowerPoint presentation to present at the next board meeting!

We agreed to get together later when we could devote more time to discuss the plan and he asked me for a copy of the notes I took so he could begin looking into the social media aspects.

My mind was on fire about this idea…I thought wow, that session was more than a brief visit/discussion, it was a consultation!  This sort of thing happens to me a lot, and I really enjoy it.  That is where a lot of my passion lies.  On my lunch hour I had to put the adrenaline to use.  I logged onto my Evernote account and quickly outlined my page of notes.  When I finished, I realized what was staring me in the face could be the table of contents for a practical book that would help literally hundreds of people.

So here’s my question!  Leaning on great advice from a dear #usguys friend @loiscreamer , I won’t ask “Does the world need another social media enthused business basics book for entrepreneurs?”  but instead…should I go the self- ePublishing route or traditional query letter path? I know I could churn it out in a couple of months, go through several drafts and edits, and be ready for publishing by year’s end.  What do you think?

Easter Day Update:  So, I decided to go for it and have taken the advice of several encouraging people to begin my book.  You can read more about it at the blog created specifically for writing my book here:  http://profitdiagnostics.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/book-petri/

Posted in Relationships, SocialMedia

Generosity of the SoMe Crowd (#usguys)

Need clothes, specialized expertise, rental space, airline tickets, new friends, a listening ear?  Where can you go and find other birds of the same feather?  Social Media ~ or SoMe as some refer to it!  Never before have a met a more generous, optimistic, considerate, philanthropic group of people in “one place!”

Seriously, if you put a question out there, somebody is going to answer you!  If you’re not skilled with the techniques of how to use the tools to the greatest advantage, just ask!  Someone generous with their time will educate you!  They may be on the other side of the world, but you’ll find someone compassionate who remembers what its like to be in your shoes.

I hate long surveys, and most people don’t like to participate.  But with a tool like Twitter, you’re forced to be precise!  One hundred and forty (140) characters isn’t a lot, but you can say so much!  In a previous post asking for book recommendations I asked for other books of a similar genre and solicited feedback from my followers.  Within two hours I had 25 recommendations!  Now that’s what I call responsive!

Again tonight, I asked “Survey Question: How many people would donate excess possessions to other #SM connections who may have need? #usguys #Philanthropy Again, because of my use of hashtags to a great group of people who call themselves #USGUYS, I had 4 responses within minutes:

Libby Baker Sweiger (@libbytalks) The first to respond replied – “Absolutely!” and retweeted my survey question.

Mark Berhhardt (@ImMarkBernhardt) The second to respond replied – “I’ve donated time & money to/through #SoMe contacts. Things? Sure would.”

Margie Arnett (@Giddyup2) The third to respond replied – “I would and have!” and also retweeted my survey question.  In a later tweet responding to my thanks, she said “Just mending the world within my reach”

Trent Bown (@Bowndairyman) The fourth to respond replied – “so much knowledge and time has already been freely shared w/me. Feel I need to pay it forward! #usguys” and after following up with a thanks for his response he replied “the thing is…. Social media & specifically #usguys has brought it out in me, reminded me the importance of it!

While I was typing this blog post…two more people (Eric Danzeisen @FunWithBulls & Brent Boersma @4GFarms) chimed in with “ME!” in response to my survey question!

What started this survey was a question a fairly recent Twitter follower & friend Jason Houck (@JasonPromotesU) asked if I knew of anybody who had any frequent flier miles for a round trip ticket they may want to donate. He has a friend who’s going into surgery Friday morning who doesn’t have any family in the area to be with him.  He wanted to fly out to be there for him. I suggested he put the question out to his followers. I tweeted his need and had Mark Bernhardt retweet. I have confidence that somebody somewhere has some frequent flier miles they may be willing to part with. He’s willing to trade services for the flier miles donated.  So, if you’re reading this and can assist in any way, contact Jason!  Remember, you can’t direct message someone that doesn’t follow you, so if you want to donate and he doesn’t follow you already, send him a tweet to establish the conection.

The lesson to learn or take away from this post is to realize the power of your connections.  What makes #USGUYS strong is nightly chatter and weekly Monday afternoon #usguyschat!  Unfortunately, I’m always at work during the #usguys chat, but I try to participate as many nights as I can. You quickly develop some incredible connections with awesome people when you dialogue with the regulars.  You learn a lot about yourself, others, and the world around you!

I encourage everyone who reads this to create a Twitter account if you don’t have one, start using it more if you do, and find a strong community of like minded people by searching the #hashtags!!!  A BIG THANKS TO #USGUYS!