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what are your employees' trending topics?

Did you watch the Grammys this year? According to Twitter:

  • People sent 10,901 Tweets per second (TPS) as Adele won Record of the Year — the peak TPS moment of the night.
  • “Grammys” was mentioned in more than 5 million Tweets on Sunday between noon and midnight PT.
  • The most mentioned artists (in descending order) during that same 12-hour period were: @OfficialAdele, @ChrisBrown, @NickiMinaj, @Rihanna, Whitney Houston
What about the Super Bowl?
This year, the TPS peak was 12,233 Tweets. The spike took place in the final three minutes of the game, during which fans sent an average of 10,000 TPS. Madonna’s performance during halftime was a big hit, too—there was an average of 8,000 TPS sustained during her performance, with a peak of 10,245 Tweets.

Twitter has this concept of "trending topics". Simply put, when enough people are talking about the same thing at the same time, it is said to be trending. Twitter gives programmers some ability to slice and dice trending data. You can see what is trending in a local area, or at a specific time.

Trending topics serve a few crucial roles. First, they alert us to macro conversations and sentiments. In that regard, they are like instant focus groups on global interests, needs, concerns, and celebrations. The Broncos' inspired over 9,000 tweets per second. People went wild when Tim Tebow threw that winning pass. According to Mashable, twitter users mourned Whitney Houston's passing nearly 30 minutes before the news media shared the story.

The other day, a coworker suggested an idea which knocked my socks off. What if we could see the trending topics inside the organization? What if we could compare what the organization was talking about last year to this year? Could we learn to predict conversations and react to them - employee needs, concerns, excitements, joys?

That may be the single best ROI for an internal social media platform I've ever heard.

Google publishes their zeitgeist every year. It's a recap of the most popular searches. In 2010, the world was looking for information on the World Cup, the BP oil spill, Justin Beiber and iPads. In 2011 it was Rebecca Black, Battlefield 3 and Steve Jobs. Do all of those names or terms sound familiar? I bet your employees are also talking about things you might not be aware of.

Can you pull the same data on your organization? What were employees talking about in 2010? What kinds of information are they looking for today?

Leaders may want to say yes, of course, in 2010 we were going through a merger, I remember the messaging well. Others might point to employee satisfaction surveys. But those ideas are different. The Google and Twitter examples are grass roots data. They are reflective of the larger population, what the front lines are thinking and talking about.

I particularly like thinking about how internal trending topics might impact culture. During the Arhab Spring, words like Egypt and freedom trended. Those topics became more than news, they were rally cries for the feet on the ground. Would employees voice their ideas, creating a new vision for the organization? Trending topics could be a powerful tool for positive change within companies.

Power to the People [Part 1] - HCSM turns 1

Part 1 of a 3 part series The next level of growth In healthcare’s use of social media, must come from    the within the organization by involving all employees in the effort. Preface

For many healthcare provider organizations, social media has become an extension of external marketing efforts.  And while  big external wins, like viral videos or news coverage of tweets can help create internal momentum, too often these actions are little more than glorified sales pitches. To truly be successful in the use of social media, providers need to begin thinking about engaging their employees in the social conversation and. creating a team of online ambassadors who serve each other and their customers more effectively. In the case of healthcare, it means engaging the  entire staff of caregivers in the conversation about bettering the patient experience.

The story so far If seven human years equal a dog year, how would we calculate an internet year?

Only twelve to sixteen months have passed since early adopters got serious about social media in the healthcare industry. A lot has happened during that short period of time. Just recently the #HCSM twitter chat celebrated its first birthday. According to Ed Bennett’s Found in Cache, over 500 hospitals now have some kind of social web presence.  We’ve seen surgeries tweeted, the Pink Glove Dance go viral, doctors tweeting, and iPhone applications for hospitals. So what does the coming year look like for healthcare social media?

Most, if not all,  healthcare providers  share the collective goal of improving patient experience. Sometimes, this is expressed as clinical excellence; sometimes as increased efficiency. Regardless of wording, having an entire organization discussing this type of improvement can strengthen a provider’s ability to deliver care. Just as there is a correlation between engaged employees and good service, so too is there a connection between connected employees and empowerment.

During the past two years at the hospital where I am employed, we have seen how increased employee engagement has  improved everything from patient satisfaction to clinical outcomes.

Well cared for, happy employees serve customers with an exuberance that comes from a sense of pride that cannot be induced by coaching alone. The exuberance and best in class service I have observed  across multiple service industries is a result of establishing and sustaining a company’ culture of serving customers with pride, anticipating patient needs, and caring about positive outcomes. This type of culture is rooted in engaged employees who believe in the organization’s mission. And just as service emerges from a culture of engaged employees, social media must emerge from engaged participants.

Prediction This next year for healthcare social media will be an opportunity for progressive providers to grow in amazing ways. I say this is the year that organizations that truly embrace openness and transparency will move to the forefront. Social tools have a role inside of organizations. When they’re used to help flatten the org chart and promote discourse, the entire enterprise benefits and convey an important ethic that branding alone cannot match. The path has been paved in this last year. The very social tools that we have been using externally have an immense power when they are applied internally. More on that thought soon...


This post is shared with much gratitude to Meredith Gould for her editorial guidance