I am honored to talk with Dr. Alan Glazier, an inventor, successful optometric practitioner and a thought leader and published author on social media and search optimization for small medical businesses. In this installment of Tips4EyeDocs Daily, Dr. Glazier talks briefly about his recent endeavor, “ODs on Facebook”, one of the fastest growing communities for optometrists on Facebook.
1. Why did you start ODs on Facebook?
The entertaining and true story is that ODs on Facebook was an accident. In the early days of facebook, it was possible to “group” like lists of people without notifying them they were in the list, sort of like what Google+ is doing with their “circles” now. It wasn’t as sleek and easy as Google Circles, but it was a way to organize your connections. One day I decided to put my OD connections together in a “group” list, but accidentally added them to a “group”, which unbeknownst to me, notified them that they were put in the “group” I titled “ODs on Facebook” for my own reference. Suddenly posts started appearing in the group like “Alan, what a great idea” and “This is fun” – all of a sudden I found I had another group to manage and I needed that like a hole in the head.
2. What direction do you want this group to go?
I started to think about our direction when over 300 people joined in the first 3 days. I realized something interesting was going on; there was some kind of unmet need in social media that the group might fulfill, so I started observing the comments and conversation, started throwing open ended “teaser” questions to see who was out there and how I could get them to contribute. Optometry has some great social networks, some of them like Optcom and ODWire which were really ahead of their time, but I also knew there were some things about these “lists” that drove people away, so I decided to craft guidelines that would make ODs on facebook different. There would be no political discussions of any kind, no advertisements in the stream and the format groups allow creates a different feel – a “flow” unlike the older style discussion threads (it also wouldn’t clog up anyones mail feeds). Something I decided would help it stand out is to open it up to industry people who were non-ODs. I did this because there are already boards where ODs can talk amongst themselves; on ODs on facebook, the people who help us and the people we help have the opportunity to learn more from each other about each other, which can only help. I decided to suppress there ability to promote their products so it would keep the thread more informational and conversational, more “social” as facebook is the mother of social media sites. I think “ODs” is light, fun and full of awesome clinical and practice management wisdom. I was especially proud that the thread has regular contributions from optometric thought leaders, so it’s taken on a mini-journal kind of feel where the OD can grab a lot of pearls in one place.
3. What can optometrists do to make this site more fulfilling for them?
1. Connect 2. Lurk 3. Introduce yourself and tell us about your “OD” life and/or personal life 4. Find the threads where you have something to contribute and join in the fun.
In a few short months, ODs on Facebook has grown to over 500 ODs who enjoy the friendly banter and exchange of ideas that only and “eye-only” audience can enjoy. I’m a member and lurk. When I have the time, I contribute. “ODs on Facebook” is an example of social media in health care.