Career Advice: Why Social Media Can Make A Difference!

Posted in Articles, Career Advice, Social Media

Back in the old days, I scolded job candidates for having an active social media presence especially those persons who posted party pics or politically-charged comments on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc feeds.  However, the advent of fine-tuned privacy settings,Snapchat (where things go away without leaving much of a digital trace) and a broader understanding of the importance of social media for those entering job market or looking to transition to the next opportunity has changed the role that social media can affect a career.

While I can drone on about it here on my blog, I highly recommend an article that appeared this Sunday’s NY Times business section. The points that the author maker are valid and I recommend that new job candidates and experienced job seekers take a look at it.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

FDA Announces Social Media Guidelines–Yawn!

Posted in Social Media

After a very long blogging absence, I decided that it was time for me to begin to write posts on things that continue to pique my interest.  The recent announcement that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally released its long awaited guidance on the use of social media in the life sciences industry including pharma, biotech and med. devices.

While words like long awaited have been used to describe this monumental announcement, I think nobody really cares anymore about what the agency thinks about social media!  Put simply, despite some interested starts and stops, social media is not an integral part of the life sciences industry and likely will never be.  In the beginning (about a decade ago) social media transformed a number of industries by introducing transparency and engaging stakeholders to improve their bottom lines. Unfortunately, the modus operandi in the life sciences industry, by virtue of it business model, is opaqueness not transparency. Further, life scientists and life science employees are not the most social individuals and their use of social media for business purposes is almost non-existent. Consequently, social media and the life science industry are not a good fit!!!! Finally, early players in the life science social media space including Novo Nordisk and J&J have already leveraged what they could using social media and have moved on.

In summary, while it may be a banner day at FDA because the agency finally released its social media guidelines, I do not think anybody really cares anymore. The trajectory of social media is on its downward slope and it is no longer fresh or new (except maybe in the minds of pharma/biotech executives).  In fact, social media is no longer new media and is now considered a standard staple of all communication platforms. While many industries benefited from social media it was never a priority for the life sciences industry and industry executives (and US regulators) did everything in their collective power to ensure that social media did not interfere with the secrecy and intentional opaqueness that dominates the industry.

Until next time,

Good luck and Good Job Hunting

Healthcare and Social Media

Posted in Social Media

I received this infographic from an organization that is promoting a Masters of Public Health program.  It is interesting and I thought I would share it with BioJobBlog readers.
Healthcare and Social Media
Source: Healthcare and Social Media

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

FDA and Social Media: Much Ado About Nothing

Posted in Social Media, Uncategorized

Since the inception of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms, many life sciences companies, mainly big pharma, have been anxiously awaiting regulatory guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration on how to use them. Interestingly, FDA did issue some guidance in 2012 on it use last year but many drugmakers felt that it was insufficient and not detailed enough.  Despite the lack of clearly defined regulatory guidance, many companies took the social media plunge anyway. And according to a recent survey of regulatory actions and letters conducted by Mark Senak author of the fabulous EyeonFDA Blog the agency has done very little to thwart the social media strategies implemented by drug companies. In fact, there has been no obvious increase in the number of warning letters or violation letters regarding the use of digital or social media as compared with traditional media violations.

Senak drew this conclusion after analyzing 173 warning and notice of violation letters (advertising and media related) that were issued by the agency from 2008 to 2012.  Of the 173 regulatory letters that were issued, 675 violations were cited and only 43% involved digital media.  And, for the most part, most of the cited violation had little to do with the digital or social media vehicle used but more to do with the message being delivered. For the full report click here.

What does this all mean? While it is difficult to draw any firm conclusion, I believe that the bottom line is that the importance and significant of the long awaited FDA guidance on the use of social media has been overstated. Put simply, if you follow the existing rules guiding advertising and print media, companies ought to be able to craft a regulatory-compliant social media communication strategy without the fear of running afoul of the agency.  Those who violate the existing rules will likely be caught and have to clean up their acts.

The bottom line. Many drug companies have been able to mount very effective social media campaigns without getting into trouble with FDA.  The key to success is following the rules and implementing a digital/social media campaign that has passed internal regulatory muster to insure that everything is in order and regulatory compliant. Companies that have made the investment into digital/social media will be successful whereas others that jump into the game without taking the time to understand the rules of engagement will fail.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!

 

 

Statisticians and "Big Data" Analysts in High Demand

Posted in BioEducation

When I was a graduate student back in the dark ages, I took an advanced statistics course and then briefly worked in a laboratory where statistical analysis of data derived from animal models of disease (in this case the guinea pig model of tuberculosis) were essential. After leaving that lab, I developed an appreciation for the power of statistics (when appropriately designed according the laws of parametric statistics) and actually used statistical analyses of in vitro data for my PhD thesis. Unlike me, most of my contemporaries never understood statistics and thought that statistics can be used to manipulate data to confirm any hypothesis put forth by an investigator.

Imagine my surprise when I read in today’s NY Times that statistics are one of the hottest new career opportunities in technology and related industries. This is because billions of bytes of data (aka "big data sets")are generated daily and someone (usually a statistician or a person with knowledge of some arcane statistical analyses) is regarded to tease out trends and interpret the data. Companies like Google, Facebook, as wells as marketers, risk analysts, spies and companies that engage in competitive intelligence are desperately seeking new employees who understand applied statistic, analytics and trend analysis.

According to a recent LinkedIn survey, from 2009 to 2011 the number of new jobs with titles related to analytics grew 53%. Unfortunately, there are not enough trained or qualified persons available to fill these positions at most of these companies. Because of workforce shortages, universities like Stanford, Harvard and North Carolina State (NC State) have created graduate programs to train students in statistics and advanced analytics. 

Ninety per cent of NC State advanced analytic students (a 10 month program created in 2006) annually found jobs. The average graduate’s starting salary for an entry-level job is $73,000. Stanford and Harvard statistics department graduates head to Google, Wall Street and in many instances bioscience companies and start with salaries of over $100,000.

Not surprisingly, competition for entry to these programs is getting fierce. NC State takes only 40 new students per year in its program (185 applicants last year). Moreover, this year, Stanford received over 800 applications for 60 openings in next’ years class; nearly twice the number of applications that it received three years ago.

Like it or not “big data” and analytics are de rigueur and persons with advanced analytics training may be the new rock stars. That said if you like statistics or love to look for trends in large data sets then a career in analytics may be right for you. Now, you have to figure out where to get the training.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!.

 

A Christmas Present From the EyeonFDA Blog: Who’s Who in Life Sciences Social Media

Posted in Social Media

The incomparable Mark Senak, author of the EyeonFDA blog and social media enthusiast, offers a gift this holiday season to those of you track social media use by life sciences companies. Mark has assiduously compiled a list of the life sciences companies that use social media and their platforms of choice.

It is a comprehensive list and must have for all of you pharma social media junkies out there!

Happy Holidays!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!

 

An Analysis: Big Pharma and Social Media Usage

Posted in Social Media

A study conducted in November 2011 by Cegedim Strategic Data, a market research and promotional audit firm analyzed the world’s top 100 pharmaceutical companies expenditure on traditional promotional (marketing spends) and then compared that spending with their presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Not surprisingly, Pfizer, Novartis and Merck (the world’s largest big pharma companies) finished in the top three for traditional promotional spending. However, their use of social media i.e. Twitter and Facebook varied widely. For example, Pfizer—the top promotional spender—was first in its number of Twitter followers and third in the number of likes on Facebook. On the other hand, second ranked Novartis was fifth in the number of Twitter followers and in seventeenth position for likes on Facebook. Finally, third ranked Merck was fifteenth in the number of Twitter followers (third for the number of tweets) and in the tenth position for the number of likes on Facebook (but has more pages than any of its Facebook competitors).

Other notable companies included:

  • Johnson &Johnson, eleventh in promotional spending and number two on the number of Facebook likes
  • Roche, number fifteen on the promotional spending list was ranked number two for the number of Twitter followers
  • Proctor and Gamble which ranked a distant 54th in promotional spending was number four on the Twitter follower list

What does this all mean? A whole lot of nothing because nobody can determine what effects the use of social media has on the bottom line for most pharmaceutical companies. Unlike other industries, where social media can be used to sell products, it cannot be used for direct promotional purposes in the life sciences industry. While most people will tell you this is because of the lack of guidance by FDA on the use of social media, the bottom line is that social media will never be allowed for direct-to-consumer advertising in the pharmaceutical industry. That said, pharma and biotech will have to find other uses for social media including clinical trial recruitment and retention, adverse event reporting, employee recruitment and retention and education and outreach.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Tweeting (and Liking)

 

UK Regulatory Agency Considering Using Social Media for Adverse Events Reporting

Posted in Social Media

Over two years ago at the beginning of the social media/pharma debate, I proposed that social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook would be great for adverse event reporting for drugs, biologics and medical devices. At the time, the suggestion was largely ignored and relegated to the category of “unlikely to happen anytime in my lifetime.” 

Imagine my delight after reading a post on today’s Pharmalot Blog which suggested that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)—the UK equivalent of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—is considering whether to allow the public to use Twitter and Facebook to report side effects and adverse events.

According to the Pharmalot post:

"The MHRA is now “actively working on introducing other ways of reporting to make it easier and encourage more reporting,” Mick Foy, the MHRA group manager for vigilance and risk management of medicines, tells GP. “Applications for smartphones, improved web reporting forms and the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook are being carefully considered as potential routes for reporting.”

While the MHRA is considering the use of social media, it is not clear that the agency will ultimately adopt Twitter, Facebook or other mobile applications for adverse event reporting. Like in the US, possible adverse reported in the UK must meet several criteria before they are verified and considered to be reportable adverse events. Despite potential problems and pitfalls, the fact that the MHRA is even considering social media as a means to improve adverse event reporting is laudable; considering the fact that FDA has yet to provide guidance on the use of social media in the US life sciences industry. Many companies, social media advocates and mobile app developers have been waiting for the said guidance for almost two years now.

Like it or not, social media is now part of the social fabric of today’s world. Rather than fighting its implementation, life sciences companies would use their considerable creative talent to figure out how to integrate and leverage social media (in non-promotional ways) to their benefit.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Tweeting and Following!!!!

 

Link Longevity

Posted in Social Media

As a blogger and an occasional Twitter user (believe me I would tweet more if I didn’t have to work for a living), I have often wondered how much of an impact that the links I post have on readers and followers. While there is little doubt that the posted links persist into perpetuity, it was not clear how long people continued to click or follow the links after they were posted. That is; until now!

According to new research by Bit.ly, the URL shortening service, most links shared online don’t live very long. The longevity of different links was determined by calculating the “half-life” (the point at which a link received half of its total online clicks) of links posted on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, e-mail or chat clients.  

After analyzing 1,000 popular links on Bit.ly, it was determined that the average half-life of a link on Twitter was 2.8 hours. Links posted to Facebook lasted slightly longer at 3.2 whereas the longevity for e-mail and chat links was 3.4 hours. Interestingly, the average half-life of YouTube links was 7.4 hours and that of news-related links was a mealy five minutes! 

The conclusion—people spend way too much time watching videos on YouTube and pay little attention to current events. Duh, like I didn’t already know that!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Link Following…..