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#hcsmca Meet-up during SMW-TO 2012

January 25, 2012

Toronto meetup planning committee wants to hear from you. Post by Yaser Alyounes. 

Login to attend the #hcsmca Toronto meetup here.

You might have noticed a few tweets recently about the upcoming Social Media Week (SMW), February 13-17, taking place in 12 cities across the world, including Toronto (Go Leafs). The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as we were just starting to plan the next #hcsmca meet-up in Toronto for the end of February. Thanks to a reminder from Dr. Shaleen Somji (@Drsomji), we thought that moving up the date to mid-February would allow us to participate and represent #hcsmca in this global event.

To quote the organizers of SMW, “Social Media Week’s mission is to explore how local and regional societies, cultures, and economies are becoming more integrated & empowered through a global network of communication.” During the week, the various online social media communities organize events across town and participate in the global event simply by registering their events online. This is a different approach than your regular conventions in the sense that online communities take charge of how, where, and when to conduct their meet-ups, with no restrictions or unaffordable fees. But what does that mean to the #hcsmca community?

Well for starters, looking at the list of events in Toronto, we see that there isn’t a single event under the Health & Wellness category  – yet. This can be interpreted in two ways: A) Healthcare organizations are lagging behind on taking an active role to participate in global & local social media events, and B) There is great potential for #hcsmca to be that unifying umbrella to represent the local healthcare social media community in such events and beyond.

Now to the fun part, crowd-sourcing of ideas. Many of you have attended previous #hcsmca meet-ups, while we hope to see many new faces during the next one. We would like to ask your input on what you would like to see during the next meet-up during SMW. I thought I’d provide a few questions below to help you get started. Please feel free to share any ideas you have.

Thanks for your input. We have some preliminary answers:

  • Q: Should the meet-up have a specific theme? And if so, what theme do you suggest?
  • A: Health and social media innovations. 
  • Q: What style/approach would you like? (e.g. Panel, Un-conference, presentations, etc)
  • A: Pecha Kucha
  • Q: Any venue tips? We need reliable wifi, good lighting for live-streaming and AV equipment.
  • A: Hard Rock Cafe on Yonge at Dundas
8 Comments leave one →
  1. Catherine permalink
    January 25, 2012 11:25 pm

    Hi Yaser:

    You did a great job explaining the SMW and how #hcsmca might be involved. It seems to me that the Health and Wellness category, since it is not yet filled, is presenting #hcsmca with a golden opportunity to lead the way under that umbrella as you describe.

    Should the meet-up have a specific theme? And if so, what theme do you suggest?

    As you know I have a personal interest in healthcare accountability, access to health records and my most important interest is in elderly, infirm and disabled people residing in long term care homes, and those languishing in hospitals without options for LTC or homecare, therefore I would naturally love to see these ideas as a part of a theme.

    As well, since Valentine’s Day is during the week SMW will take place, perhaps a “heart” health theme and it could incorporate your “umbrella” which could signify the stormy weather healthcare is currently experiencing on not only a provincial and national level, but globally!:)You could have sub-topics within the main theme i.e. Main theme under the “umbrella” could be Heart of Healthcare Matters (main) 2. Healthcare Social Media: A “Hearty” Debate 3. Patient Engagement: The “Heartbeat” of Personal Empowerment 4. Healthcare Acountability:The Public Pacemaker 5. Healthcare Communication: How to have a “Heart to Heart” Chat with your HCP

    It’s late and I’m tired so if my ideas are laughable, I hope they give someone some people a little amusement. I am much better brainstorming with others!:)

    What style/approach would you like? (e.g. Panel, Un-conference, presentations, etc)

    I’ve never attended a #hcsmca meet-up but I think the most initimate setting possible would be best, unless you’re expecting hundreds. I think small groups that could discuss topics and then present their ideas to the larger group would be good. I’m open to any format, though, as I’m not expert.

    Any venue tips? We need reliable wifi, good lighting for live-streaming and AV equipment.

    I will ask my daughter about downtown Toronto venues she may be familiar with and get back to you if she can recommend a good place. Do you have any idea as to budget or room size, how may people will attend? Will it be a licensed event, as in beer/wine/spirits? I’m hoping!:)

    So Yaser, that’s my feedback. Let me know if anything I offered is useful to you. Thanks for asking for input!:)



    • January 26, 2012 9:02 pm

      Hi Catherine,

      Thank you so much for your comments. I really love the idea of the Heart theme & it’s very creative; the entire planning committee loved it. If we’re not able to incorporate it into our meet-up, we will definitely try and incorporate it into something like Theme of the Month for our chats.

      To answer your question about the venue, we would want a room size that can take up to 100 people, preferably where we do not have to pay for the venue and people have access to order food and drinks


      • Catherine permalink
        January 26, 2012 9:27 pm

        Hi Yaser:

        Your feedback and that of the planning committee thrills me – thank you all so much!:)

        As I just tweeted earlier, I love the idea of the slogan, #hcsmca: The Heart of the Healthcare Community” – OR – #hcsmca: At the Heart of the Healthcare Community. Personally, I prefer the 1st option.

        I would love to see #hcsmca “branded” with significance, in a way that would distinguish it in a really positive and memorable manner, because its membership and mission are both so positive and memorable.

        The heart theme appeals to me because it has so many layers of meaning and yet as complex as an actual heart, the heart speaks a universal language that is understood by all. It signifies the core, the essence of our being, our bodies and emotions, the blood-pumping, life-giving organ . . .oh as you can see I could go on and on, but you’re so brilliant that I will just bore you!

        I have my daughter sussing out venue options – thanks for the specifics about what you will need in that respect. I’ll update with details later.

        I’ll keep you posted if I have another brainchild born, and you and the #hcsmca community are welcome to use my ideas in any way, at any time for any purpose you choose, or not.

        Thanks for inviting me to participate. I love #hcsmca and all the leading minds and open hearts that define it!:)

        With heartfelt gratitude,


  2. January 26, 2012 2:58 pm

    Hi Yaser,

    A few of us here at Hamilton Health Sciences are very interested in being a part of #hcsmca’s efforts to establish the health & wellness community at SMWTO.

    One topic we had in mind was:

    Bridging the gap between healthcare professionals who are “believers” and those who are “non-believers”. – There are many valid arguments on both sides of discussions around access to electronic health records, and social media access & engagement by healthcare professionals. How do we bring the two sides together?

    As for the style:

    Discussion based interactions seem to work with the #hcsmca group, but might benefit from panel speakers or brief presentations to get things rolling and keep things on track.

    We’ll be keeping an eye out for appropriate venues, and will certainly keep you updated if we hear of anything. @ScottLevely and @HJPullen, from the Hamilton Health Sciences Public Relations & Communications department, are both new to the #hcsmca talks and excited to get involved.


    • January 26, 2012 9:06 pm

      Hi Scott & Heather,

      Thank you for your comment. The idea of bridging the gap between early adopters and “non-believers” is one that we struggle with in healthcare. But as more healthcare organizations are jumping on the band wagon of social media, we are seeing more success stories that can be used as a selling point for those are remain skeptical about its value.

      If you have any particular advice or innovative ideas on how to accomplish that, we would love to hear them.


  3. Catherine permalink
    January 26, 2012 11:27 pm

    Hi Yaser:

    I just thought of another idea and cannot contain it as it began to germinate and now it’s sprouting without any help from me – aka inspiration!

    It would be so mood inspiring – celebratory and decorative – to incorporate red Heart balloons at the event – IF you and the planning committe can “see” what I envision!:)

    Imagine how these balloons could have a single paper inside each one and we could ask the panel and/or particpants – perhaps each table – to choose a balloon and then pop it with a pin (heart bursting with joy!:) not a heart attack – too negative. Anyway, the paper would have a topic or question etc. – It could also be used as a game and we could give little bags of heart candies to the winners.

    Okay, I realize I’m obsessing, but I am so excited and I believe the event could have such an influx of heartfelt energy and enthusiasm that would not only attract people to the event in a heartbeat, it would have them talking about it, via social media of course, for years!:) I think I have my hand on the public pulse, as most people love to be entertained, even when they’re learning, perhaps especially then. Fun is at the heart of every good memory!

    Until the next irregular pulsations of creativity overtake me, thanks for “listening” and have a great night!:)



  4. Catherine permalink
    January 27, 2012 8:36 am

    Morning, Yaser:

    What do you think of this? “#hcsmca: The Heart of Healthcare Communication” – another take on a slogan/theme I suggested above, and I think it has a relevant, open, inclusive, and inviting connotation.

    #hcsmca actually redefines, by its very nature, the Healthcare Community by opening it up to everyone, and by not keeping it contained to an exclusive insiders’ club of professionals. As a member of the broader public community, I love that all are welcome to participate and encouraged to feel included at #hcsmca! Heartwarming approach, don’t you think? :-)

    Have a great day!:)



  5. January 27, 2012 3:18 pm

    I also love the idea of the heart theme! What a great concept for the February meet up.

    Lots of good ideas have been brought up, for me, my interests in social media rise from being engaged in the community, reaching out and educating patients, and overall promoting health and wellness.

    In terms of the style/approach, it would be great to have some structure in terms of a panel or presentations, with an active/social component, ie a networking/get to know you/break out groups.

    In terms of venue, I know the three brewers (at yonge and dundas) has a big open area upstairs and it’s in a central location and accessible. I can’t think of anything else at the moment but I’ll think about it and see what I can come up with!

    Thanks Yaser and your crew for organizing this!


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