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The Society’s Social Media Team is working on a new strategic social media plan, drafted by Jon Lebkowsky and currently under discussion within the team. The initial draft of the plan follows below.  (Send comments to jon.lebkowsky at


Our goals for social media reflect the those suggested by the goals committee consisting of members of the organization.

  • Clarify the SPM mission; help people understand why they should care about participatory medicine. Curate knowledge about participatory medicine.
  • Involve members via social media in the organization and in the movement it represents. Catalyze and support personal learning networks and learning communities around the concept of participatory medicine. Help identify and strengthen connections between affiliated bloggers, practitioners, professionals, and organizations.
  • Increase the organization’s visibility to media, healthcare professionals, and patients.
  • Attract new members to the society.
  • Increase revenues to the Society (by attracting new members and donors).
  • Promote SPM pilot initiatives as they’re developed.
  • In addition, we should be focused on building attention for the blog and the Journal of Participatory Medicine, and attracting contributors for both.

Also, more generally: we are building a movement with a sense of community. We are catalyzing conversations and making connections every day that serve to build force for patient empowerment and participatory medicine.


Our current social media presences:

  • e-Patients blog, curated by ePatient Dave deBronkart, who also does much of the writing. The blog needs more contributors, and we need to expand its presence and emphasize its relation to the Journal.
  • Facebook pages for the Society and the Journal. Do we need two Facebook pages? Or should we focus on the Society page?
  • Twitter account (S4PM) for the Society and (JourPM) for the Journal.  We’ve focused on building more traffic for S4PM, but it’s still useful to have JourPM to post journal links etc.
  • LinkedIn Group: potentially one of our most powerful assets given the potential to connect with professionals and potential content contributors as well as donors.
  • SPM-Member email list has proved to be a powerful tool for internal communication. We should be monitoring the list, make sure the organization is responsive to its members, make sure any issues that are raised are tracked to resolution.
  • The founders took some time in Second Life; we might want to do more work there.
  • Hashtag: we use #whypm but it needs more “marketing.” It’s not as widely known as it might be; some use the longer #participatorymedicine.

Public Relations

In order to attract attention and links and spread the word about what we do and why individuals and organizations should become members and support our work, the Society should publish occasional if not regular press releases.

Guidelines for press releases

Press releases should be clear, direct, and simple.

Releases should be accurate (double check facts).

Releases should include calls and pointers to community (e.g. links to our social media presences and conversations).

Share press releases first with SPM-Members, get their feedback, be prepared to revise.

Social Media Guidelines

When you’re posting as SPM or JOPM, remember that you’re not being you, you’re representing the Society for Participatory Medicine. We’re all volunteers; nobody’s looking over your shoulder or telling you what to say. You’re a smart advocate for participatory medicine, and helped by these guidelines, you’ll use your best judgement. However it does help to remember that you represent something bigger than yourself and your own interests. (If you have questions of judgement about posting something, feel free to email Jon Lebkowsky to discuss.)

  • We’re peer to peer, we should have an authentic human voice, not an “expert” voice.
  • Don’t think of our efforts as marketing. We’re not selling anything. We’re catalyzing conversations and supporting a movement that’s growing and evolving. The movement owes a lot to our efforts, but we don’t “own” it. Don’t be promotional or preachy.
  • Think before you speak (or write). Keep our goals in mind and consider whether your post is constructive, helpful, or interesting. Don’t reinforce stereotypes. Don’t be mean or negative. Focus on the positive, offer solutions instead of complaints.
  • Spend some time listening. There are a lot of conversations about participatory medicine and related subjects. Each member of the SPM Social Media Team, as well as others within the organization, should take some time every week to search, surf, and experience what’s being shared that’s relevant to our work.
  • Stay in the conversation. Make some time every day to stay in the flow and be responsive. Time is a challenge for all of us, but you can accomplish a lot but remembering to make some time every day or work SPM social media into your flow.


We advocate and we’re helping build a movement.  While we’re not a marketing organization, some of what we do could be categorized as social marketing and can benefit from defined campaigns. The goals and effects of any campaign should be to

  • Create relationships
  • Build communities
  • Sustain conversations

Face to Face

People want to have conversations about, and be part of, the movement. Our social media platforms are powerful tools for engagement, but we should also engage our current and potential constituents with physical meetings and events.

Meetup Everywhere: This is’s free platform that allows organizations to set up a framework for many meetups to form. We can strongly encourage our members to instigate local meetups using the tools. Meetups are an excellent way to sustain ongoing face to face conversations and attract new members from within the larger Meetup community.

Event kit. SPM has held some effective social events on both coasts. We can create a kit or “recipe” for events so that any member/supporter can create a local social event.

Measuring success

Gangadhar Sulkunte of the Social Media Team has started maintaining statistics for SPM social media. He is currently retrieving monthly totals of the following:

  • JourPM Twitter followers
  • S4PM Twitter followers
  • Society FB active users
  • Society FB Likes
  • Journal FB Active users
  • Journal FB Likes
  • LinkedIn Users

We also collect Google Analytics for the web properties, though it’s not clear that we’re analyzing these statistics or using them to drive strategy.  We can also collect metrics specific to any campaigns we launch. This area needs additional development with guidance from the Board and members of the Social Media Team.