Guest post: Trends come and trends go

By Brad Dodge on April 23rd, 2009

Michael McBride, Editor-in-Chief for Health Management Technology magazine, took the time to share his thoughts on the great results his publication is deriving from social media initiatives.

Trends come and trends go; however, one trend remains constant and that’s change. Changes happen all around us every day, and yet we selectively dismiss those we find irrelevant, as if that choice were not subjective. Take, for example, Internet-based networking. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and many others offer the opportunity to meet, albeit digitally, with other like minded or like experienced individuals for the sharing of ideas, problem solving and general support. Poeple who might visit a regular watering hole to meet with friends and discuss issues of the day, or who might consider golf an excellent locale to meet clients and construct business agendas, might also find social networking anathema to their way of thinking. To draw on vernacular … what’s up with that? How do the two experiences truly differ, and what’s really being resisted here?

For my part, I embraced social networking late in the game; however, recent discoveries have me re-thinking these opportunities. For example, as Editor-in-Chief of Health Management Technology magazine, for various reasons I sometimes find myself filling gaps in our editorial calendar at the last minute. Having never feared change, I sought a modern technological solution to this dilemma and, voila, I found Twitter. First, I discovered that I had completely misunderstood Twitter; I thought it was just another instant messaging technology, when in fact it is an instantaneous mass communications tool and an effective one at that.

I set up an account titled EditorHMT and invited a select group of contributors to follow my “tweets,” which mostly consist of requests for last-minute submissions to fill unexpected holes in an issue. The results speak for themselves. To date, the record for receiving and approving a pitch for publication after sending a tweet is three minutes. You read that correctly … three minutes, and the article exceeded my expectations, mostly in part thanks to my decision to target fully capable and proven sources, of which I have implicit trust.

Say what you will about today’s Internet-based technologies, but the proof is in the pudding. Since then, I’ve received many viable pitches and approved them in less than ten minutes following my initial tweets; however, three minutes remains the record. Incredible.

As an industry professional you have two choices; you can embrace your comfort zone and watch the working world draw further and further ahead of you, or you can recall how exciting it is to learn new and exciting things, grasp new tools and build your future.

Internet-based networking is here, it works and it’s an infant. A decade from now we’ll look back as we do today at the early 1990’s online shopping experience and we will recall those individuals who discounted online shopping as an experiment that would “never take hold.” Tell that to Amazon.com.