The future of hcsmeu chats: a poll

A number of Healthcare Social Media Europe (#hcsmeu) community members have reached out to ask me about the future of the Friday lunchtime chats subsequent to my having reluctantly withdrawn from regular moderation last May due to pressure of work.

Some long-standing #hcsmeu stalwarts have stepped into the breach to moderate when they could, but the irregular nature of recent events has frequently led to confusion.

Whilst the utility of #hcsmeu as a means of sharing information and conversation throughout the week is proven and seems set to continue, the future of #hcsmeu as a tweetchat is uncertain.

I am proud and grateful to have been associated with a community that has staged three real-life not-for-profit events and over 150 tweetchats. However, rather than let #hcsmeu-as-a-chat dwindle into irrelevance, I’d like the community either to agree to bring it to a conclusion, or to reorient it.

To that end, your contribution to the following poll would be much appreciated. I would also welcome your sharing your thoughts and ideas either using the #hcsmeu hashtag, or by adding them below as a comment.

Update: 5 November

The people have spoken: the scheduled chat is dead. Long live #hcsmeu!

14 thoughts on “The future of hcsmeu chats: a poll

  1. Did you vote? If you’re prepared to say so, it would be really helpful if you’d share which option you voted for, and state why you did so.

    I haven’t voted yet. I like the idea of themed monthly chats, but it remains to be seen whether they’d be any more successful than the current, faltering ‘chat-when-a-moderator-volunteers’ model.

    All other opinions and comments are most welcome. I’d really like us to come to a decision together about the #hcsmeu chat’s future.

  2. Hi Andrew,

    I voted for the themed option, having taken up moderating for a while I know how tough it was on quiet weeks. I’m not convinced the ‘as a moderator is available’ approach works as I think it makes it harder to have a well attended tweetchat.

    I would be willing to help out and moderate on behalf of a theme and Q submitted by someone else, but I cannot commit to doing this every month. I have personally taken a lot from the #hcsmeu tweet chats, learnt a lot from lurking, participating and moderating.


  3. Hi Gill

    Thanks for having taken the time to vote, and comment. Thanks also for your having supported our community as an ace moderator.

    For the avoidance of doubt: my ‘themed chat’ suggestion was predicated upon the expectation that the individual who proposes the theme and sets the questions *also* moderates the chat.

    Personally, I thought this was important on the basis that in my opinion if the chats are to continue, community members could usefully show a little more willingness to give as well as to take.

    In a community supposedly brought together by mutual concerns and a willingness to support oneanother, the notable absence of interest among the majority of participants in pitching in to help with the housekeeping has been the aspect of #hcsmeu that I’ve found most disappointing as its co-founder.

    There have been numerous and well-advertised moderator drives over the years, but the majority of folk seem unwilling to assume the modest responsibility of taking the reins of @hcsmeu, even once or twice a year. Existing mods offering to run themed chats with questions posed by others doesn’t really get us over that hump.

    To that end, if the majority view (as it seems to be at present) is to go with a themed chat model it will require this state of affairs to be turned around. It would be great to think that this could be the case.

    It would also have been great if the question setter/moderator could have written up a short blog post describing the outcomes — as has been tried by a few devotees in the past, with some success I thought 🙂 — but I refrained from planting that seed in this particular field of dreams…

    I still haven’t voted, by the way.

  4. Hi Andrew,
    I voted for the monthly themed version of #hcsmeu because it’s how #hcsmla is working these days. It improve the conversation but it requires time from hcsmla to remind people when the new #hcsmla will take place.
    I really believe that it is not time to let go yet, just that some people take longer to change and that many people do not like to make stuff happen but that is no reason for us to set our ways in a lower standard. I understand your feeling be ause I suffer the same with #hcsmla until I understood that if we want things to change we have to keep it up and not be let down by the great amount of people who would not help specially if it means doing it for fee..
    If you haven’t voted yet I really hope you do not vote for option 1.
    Best regards,

    • Hi Valentina

      Thanks for your comment. Personally, I’d have anticipated the themed chat labouring under the same burden that the scheduled ones did, namely an expectation on the part of participants that they’d ‘just happen’. That’s not going to happen now, and honestly I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Reviewing the archives from the past year or so, I don’t think it’s particularly uncharitable to say that little of any enduring interest emerged, and the lack of redistribution of the few arguments that did catch the eye meant that the impact of #hcsmeu-as-a-chat was negligible.

      From the outset I saw, and continue to see, a great deal more value in #hcsmeu-as-a-hashtag. The conversation is ongoing, and I’ve personally always enjoyed the to and fro of debate between one or two people in real time than shouting into the stream and showboating for soundbites RTs 🙂

      • Well, you are probably right 🙂 so #hcsmeu should follow its own path. I hope to still contribute to the hashtag because it has definitively given a lot to me.
        Afterall what we persue is the engagement and to produce a change, even if it´s a little one. in this era of aparently constant paradigm changes.
        As a morning chat for me it will certanly be missed but I guess as a continuous line of information we can make it even better (at least give it a try)

  5. I voted to stop the chats for the simple reason that they have ceased to add value. You are more likely to see a discussion of US politics on the Friday chat as anything remotely related to innovation within the intersection of digital technology and medicine/ healthcare. Its is time to stop the ‘ground hog day’ topics of conversation and actually get round to making something happen.

    The truth is that it is hard to move to a point of collective action, you tried many times to do this and to be honest, it did not happen. There are however many brilliant people who are acting on the spirit of #hcsmeu and as a means of sharing information the tag is priceless for me.

    Lets all move on and turn #hcsmeu into the best sharing mechanism for innovation in digital health and forget the back slapping every Friday.

    • Hi Alex

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      I agree with you that the utility of #hcsmeu-as-a-hashtag to share information and serendipitous conversation throughout the week is well proven and long established, and I can’t see any reason why that should change going forward.

    • Thanks as always for your support, Audun.

      I don’t think the end of the scheduled chat is by any means the end of #hcsmeu; we merely need to re-orient our approach to what #hcsmeu-as-a-hashtag is for. I’ve edited and resubmitted the Symplur entry for #hcsmeu to reflect the change in circumstance.

  6. Wow, what a milestone Andrew. As you know, I haven’t been in many #hcsmeu live chats for a long time now and certainly haven’t recently added much value to them personally, so I did not add my ‘voice’ to the voting. The channel has moved on so much since the early days of #hcsmeu which I do and will continue to look back on with genuinely fond memories. Meeting so many new friends in the #hcsmeu weekly chat, often long before finally meeting in real life at some event or another, introduced a new concept in collaborative learning.
    Thanks to you and @whydotpharma for making history… here’s to the next era of 24/7 #hcsmeu!
    …couldn’t say all that quickly in 140 characters 🙂

  7. Wow, I went on holiday for three weeks at the end of October and returned to find this sad news! I obviously didnt vote from the sunny beach that I was residing on, and I’m not sure what I would have voted for had I been here.

    I’ve been an avid #hcsmeu attendee for just over a year. In the early days of that there was a lot of really useful conversation, some great debate and I learnt a lot from other participants. It was a great induction to the digital pharma world for me.

    Recently though, to agree with Alex, the chats have become less useful, and have digressed to less relevant topics (less relevant to me, not necessarily to everyone). Recently there have only been two or three people at the chats on a number of occasions, which itself limits the conversation you can have.

    In all honesty, I think the right conclusion has been reached. If there were enough people who wanted the chats to continue, then this conversation would never have happened as the chats would have just continued on their merry way.

    Whilst it is a sad day to see the demise of an industry flagship, I think there should be hope that the digital pharma landscape has progressed so far that the chats are no longer vital – pharma must have learnt something about what to do and how to do it.

    Thanks to everyone involved for making #hcsmeu possible in the first place – I for one don’t doubt that it has had significant impact upon the sector and has certainly connected a lot of people who might not have met otherwise.

  8. Pingback: A New Refrain: entering The Walking Gallery | STweM

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