Voices to Industry: Socialpalooza Event Recap

This past Tuesday, I got to attend a WEGO Health event Socialpalooza where Health Activists and members of the healthcare industry convened to discuss the importance (and growing potential!) of social media.

During the morning portion of Socialpalooza, economist and social media guru Jane Sarasohn-Kahn gave a presentation to industry members about the importance of social media. Her talk highlighted the lifestyle shifts occurring in our culture today and where social media fits in. As someone who has felt this shift in my own life, it was fascinating to hear Jane’s take.

Key points:

“Health is the new green” – health is something everyone cares about and it’s going to be the catalyst for the next big shift in peoples’ everyday living. It’s on our minds and envelopes a concept that far surpasses how we used to live.

We live DIY lives – and we want our healthcare to follow suit. Life moves fast, we want to have all the materials we can in order to do-it-ourselves. This means lots of options, clear accessibility, and that we expect to be treated as intelligent consumers.

We each have a Health Ecology.
More than just our doctors and medications; we factor-in so much when we think of our “health” including our finances, our family, our mental health, our exercise, the food we eat, and even our jobs. Healthcare companies need to consider our whole health when dealing with us (and expand their focus beyond just what pills or devices we need)!

(source: THINK-Health, adapted from Institute for the Future)

Next up was the Health Activist panel – where our “Voices to Industry” program comes into play. Boston-area Health Activists Karen Graffeo, Kerri Sparling, Rosalind Joffe, and Alicia Staley came together to speak directly the industry members about their experiences. Now, I have the pleasure of knowing these women’s stories already – but it was truly inspiring to hear them out loud, standing their ground when telling pharma and healthcare industry members what their health communities truly need.

A key thought going into the panel was, “it’s not the media, it’s the social” that makes social media so important to all of us who partake.

What all the Health Activist panelists agreed upon was that healthcare companies need to be transparent and honest – say who you are and what you’re trying to do. Patients want to know all the facts and, if all the facts can’t be shared due to regulations by the FDA – share what those particular restrictions are. Patients and Health Activists in particular can tell when someone masquerades as a fellow patient!

The Health Activists challenged pharma to actively regain the trust that many people have lost in them. Be authentic, learn the authentic voice of your audience and speak to them respectfully and as though they are informed.

Recapping their experience talking directly to industry, you should check out the posts by the Health Activists themselves! They were both entertaining and inspiring. I was honored to be in the room with such smart, savvy patient experts!


– Karen’s “Opening up Communications…”

– Kerri’s “The Big, Bad Wolf”

– Jane’s “It’s not the media, it’s the social – reflections on health activism online

This is just another way WEGO Health brings the voices of Health Activists to the forefront of health conversation. We’re always trying to find new, exciting ways to have you and your communities highlighted and heard. Read more about our Voices to Industry program here. We’ve gotten such awesome responses from industry and Health Activists alike – we can’t wait until our next in-person event!

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