Category Archives: Social Media

Dine Out Boston! Restaurant Week Continues

In Boston and surrounding suburbs, 200-ish restaurants take part in the Restaurant Week promotion run by the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Twice a year, for two weeks of weekdays in March and August, participating restaurants offer fixed-priced meals. For the last 13 years, this promotion has run successfully. According to the sponsored website for Boston’s Restaurant Week, after a much-needed makeover, the name changed to Dine Out Boston.

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This year, a new feature was added to the promotion. Three pricing tiers are offered: Lunch $15/$20/$25 and Dinner $28/$33/$38. This expands the promotion’s reach into a larger consumer market with more affordable choices at Greater Boston top restaurants. That is good news for participating restaurants to get greater exposure, and good news for foodies that can now afford to sample some of Boston’s finest cuisines.

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Dine Out Boston has also joined with the Freedom Trail Foundation as a charitable partner. All participating restaurants donate $100 gift certificates that are auctioned off through DOBauction.com to benefit programs run by the Foundation which creates the “most successful ideas for how to experience American history”. A copacetic arrangement.

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One other benefit for diners is the American Express bonus offer. Each enrolled card receives a $5 credit on any purchase over $21. An easy task with a lunch for two at one of the many choice restaurants participating. Offerings include many different cuisines in Boston and surrounding towns, all of which are sure to delight.

Getting word out about the promotion is spread through the Restaurant Week Boston website, a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, a  very funny YouTube video, Google +  and Instagram accounts, Pinterest interest and a huba-huba blog.

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This blog links readers to frequently updated content and encourages comments and interaction. Since the promotion is currently ongoing (March 16-21 & 23-28), the social media penetration is deep and engaging.

For all those who always wanted to get a taste of spectacular cooking from some of the finest chefs in Boston at can’t-pass-up prices, give Restaurant Week a try. Dine Out Boston!

 

Do You Trust?

When trust is lost, can it ever fully be regained? There are many ways trust can be broken; through betrayal, theft, lying, disrespect, disloyalty, unfaithfulness…the list goes on. How many times can one have their trust broken before the point of no return is reached? Does a flirtation on Facebook with an old flame constitute betrayal? Does posting discreet photos online equal disloyalty? Can sexting be construed as being unfaithful? Can a husband’s deeply cutting remarks be interpreted as disrespectful?

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All actions that breaks the trust one has with another person has varying levels of hurt and anguish. When sorry will never be spoken, can one still forgive? Can trust ever be rebuilt to its original state? What if a business partner stole from your company? Would you feel the same if it were a friend instead that stole from you? Or re-tweeted rumors on Twitter? Or started false rumors? How about straight-out lying to your face? Or embarrassing you in public? Does breaking a date equal breaking trust? Slander? Talking behind your back? How much one is connected to the person who is doing wrong will determine if the trust can be mended.

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Dealing with people and trust issues is difficult and complex. Social media does not make it easier on people to be faithful, loyal, kind or respectful. Tweets, posts, comments, videos, photos, they all can go viral and complicate matters. Once your circle of friends and family catches wind of disturbing events or gets involved, trust is more difficult to give back. Once given, there is no guarantee that trust will last, be appreciated or be returned. People are only as good as their word, and once crossed, will a second (or third chance) be warranted? When is it time to cut ties and move forward?

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Of course, I am talking about people and not products, (broken trust with products is a topic for another day). I do not have any answers to if trust can ever be rebuilt, mended or regained. That is a deeply personal choice, up to the individual who was slighted. Having the opportunity to blog about this dilemma has helped me see more clearly, even if a solution wasn’t reached. I welcome any feedback, advice or wisdom on the topic of trust.

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Why Social Media is Important for the MedTech Industry

Why is Social Media Important for the MedTech Industry?

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MedTech companies finally have the chance to build relationships with medical professionals, keep up with innovation and share medical information about the medical technology it delivers. The MedTech companies that embrace change and create value for the medical professionals that use their products with a robust and engaging social media campaign can create innovation that exceeds expectations of consumers.  According to the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, the MedTech industry should use social media in the following ways:

■    To market products and build loyalty among customers
■    To create a feedback mechanism and a customer relationship tool.
■    To find partners and to collaborate in all segments of the product life cycle (Johnson, 2010)

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Choosing the right sites is critical to the social media plan in order to touch upon all valid points.

Four popular websites provide networking, relationship building and educational opportunities:

1. LinkedIn is a professional networking website, with over 1.5 million healthcare professionals registered for networking, relationship building and professional development.  A search for “medical devices” on LinkedIn yields 479 groups, such as the Medical Device Professionals Network with more than 13,000 members.  (Johnson, 2010).

2. Twitter:  Twitter is a micro-blogging site where one can find industry news updates, share information and connect with other medical professionals or vendors. Eleven reasons for medical professionals to use Twitter is stated below, according to Pallimed (Sinclair, 2010):

Networking (with people you do and do not know)
1. Network with medical professionals in their discipline (doctors and doctors)
2. Network with medical professionals outside their discipline (doctors and pharmacists)
3. Network with medical professionals within one’s specialty (ER nurses and ER nurses)
4. Network with medical professionals outside one’s specialty (ER  nurses and hospice nurses)

Learning:
5. Following search terms related to your field to see what people are saying
6. Finding media reports about one’s field to find what your patients might be reading

Supporting:
7. Extending the reach of topics important to you
8. Giving words of support to those in your Twitter network

Influence:
9  Posting journal articles, news, blog posts, conference highlights from others supporting your cause

Educating:
10. Posting links or quotes to talks, articles, blog posts written by you or your team
11. Posting links or quotes to talks, articles, blog posts written by others

 3.  Facebook: Facebook is the world’s largest social network with an easy to learn platform for medical professionals to use. Medical web times writes that “information that is typically recommended by their friends creates an opportunity to catch their attention with a great headline and a link back to your medical web site.  From here you are free to continue the story and offer a call-to-action” (MWT, 2013).

4.  YouTube: This platform has a special section for education-EDU. According to the YouTube website: “Whether you’re doing research for a project, need help with homework, or just want to learn something new, YouTube EDU features some of our most popular videos” (YouTube, 2013)

Knowing what your audience needs and expects is crucial in delivering their needs and exceeding expectations. This chart shows that 66% of medical professionals prefer to receive educational materials, which can be done using social media and content marketing (HLD, 2012).

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According to Communications Congress “Medtech companies should exploit the opportunities of social networks and invest more in the online dialog with customers and a more professional style of communication. Social networks are the communication centers of the future. Target groups become main stakeholders via social media. Companies must begin the dialog in the network, listen to customers, and learn to moderate and shape the discussions, for instance via Facebook, Twitter, or special knowledge forums. The social media activities must be approached strategically and be provided with sufficient resources” (BVMed, 2013). This is very true and an urgent matter for the bulk of the MedTech industry.

Fewer financial resources are eminent until the Federal Government removes the 2.3% Medial Device Tax (IRS, 2012), however a MedTech company can see where their efforts are going through metrics and analytics to better allocate funds. The following chart details the 5 categories of social media measurement:

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Consistency with enough resources is key to any social media campaign.

Conclusion

Social media can change the way the MedTech industry markets new and innovative products, communicates and builds relationships and shares medical information. Consumer expectations of value not being derived entirely with the product itself, but with the “whole package” that the MedTech company can deliver. Even if resources are tight, starting a social media campaign is cost-effective and gentle on the budget compared to traditional efforts. The MedTech industry has an opportunity to overcome their reluctance to participate fully in the social media realm and become as technologically advanced as the products they promote.

BVMed. (2013). Communication conference: Medtech underestimates the power of social media. Retrieved from BVMed: http://www.bvmed.de/themen/kommunikation/oeffentlichkeitsarbeit/pressemitteilung/social-media-wird-in-der-medtech-branche-noch-unterschaetzt.html?language=2

DHHS. (2013). The Health and Medical Technology Industry in the United States. Retrieved from Select USA-Department of health and Human Services: http://selectusa.commerce.gov/industry-snapshots/health-and-medical-technology-industry-united-states

HLD. (2012). How Healthcare Professionals Prefer to Comminicate. Retrieved from health link dimensions: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/22025485651098877/

IRS. (2012). Medical Device Tax. Retrieved from IRS: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Medical-Device-Excise-Tax:-Frequently-Asked-Questions

Johnson, H. (2010, August 6). As Social Media Evolves, the Device Industry Must Also. Retrieved from MDDI: http://www.mddionline.com/article/social-media-evolves-device-industry-must-also

MWT. (2013). 10 pros & cons for medical prasctices and soicl media networks . Retrieved from Medcical web times: http://www.medicalwebtimes.com/thetimes/medical-headlines/top-10-pros-cons-for-medical-practices-using-social-networking-web-sites

Sinclair, C. (2010, February). Twitter for Medical Professionals: 11 Uses in 9 Steps. Retrieved from Pallimed: http://www.pallimed.org/2010/02/twitter-for-medical-professionals-11.

YouTube. (2013). Medical technology. Retrieved from Education: https://www.youtube.com/education?category=University/Medicine/Medical%20Technology

A Name To Call Our Own: Syfy

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Since the Sci Fi Channel was born in 1992, many people were mistakenly referring to the Sci Fi Channel with different spellings and configurations: SciFi Channel, Sci-Fi Channel, SCIFI Channel and on and on it went. The brand name Sci Fi was confusing because the network was using a GENRE (Science-Fiction) for a brand name and did not have an original brand name of its own. As reported in the New York Times: “We couldn’t own Sci Fi; it’s a genre,” said Bonnie Hammer, the former president of Sci Fi who became the president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions. “But we can own Syfy”.

The seemingly weird spelling of the new brand caught many off-guard: Syfy with a Capital S and a small yfy = one-word branding. There were those who scoffed, ridiculed and out-right laughed at the rebranding decision. The Business Insider Strategy Webpage called the rebranding to Syfy a “disaster”, claiming that around the world, the spelling Syfy is slang for syphilis (an STD).

The Syfy Channel did take it on the chin from loyal viewers and hard-core sci-fi fans. Sci Fi president, Dave Howe (and Bonnie Hammer’s successor) defended the rebranding and said in an interview with Fast Company:

“We were very strategic about how we positioned it, how we communicated, how we made sure our audience didn’t think that this was just another excuse to abandon the genre. We were very specific about why we were doing it and about  why we were about creating a brand that was extendable into new platforms. Then we had a whole roster of sci- fi/fantasy shows that reassured people that actually we were going to be a bigger and better sci-fi/fantasy network as opposed to one that was going sci-fi light.”

Michael Engleman, Executive Vice President and Marketing/Global Brand Strategist for Syfy explained that the Sci Fi Channel rebranding needed during an interview with Boston.com:

“We wanted to create a brand that was broader, more relatable. In a lot of ways our branding was catching up to what we were doing with our programming. We were already pushing the boundaries of the traditional definitions of nonfiction with shows like Eureka and Ghost Hunters.’ So how could we recalibrate our brand to be still firmly rooted in the genre of  science fiction but attach ourselves to this much larger idea, which is the idea of imagination? How do you create a name, how do you create a brand that will open doors to audiences that wouldn’t identify themselves as science fiction fans”?

VP Craig Engler discussed in an interview with Tor.com that the brand had three key reasons for a change:

1. We needed a brand that’s portable and can work in places like Netflix, iTunes and on DVRs. In those environments we can find ourselves competing for space on a text-based menu system where “sci-fi” and “Sci Fi” are indistinguishable.

2. We needed a brand that can support new businesses

3. We needed a brand that’s seen as inclusive to potential new viewers, and a brand that reflects the broad range of imagination-based entertainment you’ll find on our network.

To help with the rebranding task, the executives of Sci Fi channel went to Proud Creative, the self-described creatively-led multidisciplinary design studio based in London. Their website boasts being known for “delivering appropriate and memorable solutions”.

In collaboration with ManvsMachine Studio, Proud Creative listened to what the Sci Fi channel wanted “an ownable and distinguishable brand identity; retaining the positive associations from the genre of science fiction, whilst appealing to a broader audience and embracing the benefits of imagination”.

Well, it looks like Proud Creative did just what the executives asked for and helped deliver a memorable logo and new branding that encompassed their genre, audience and ideas of imagination with Syfy.

The name change also came with a new tagline “Imagine Greater”, instead of the Saturn-like planet logo of the Sci Fi Channel. This new slogan encompasses all that the brand thinks of as imagination boasts the Syfy website: the full landscape of fantasy entertainment, the paranormal, the supernatural, action, adventure and superheroes.

This new brand is memorable and could be trademarked, a giant advantage over the old Sci Fi name that could not be trademarked due to is broad genre attachment, and trademarking can lead to other associative branded Syfy Ventures (like Syfy Games or Syfy Kids).

When researching how and when the Syfy one-word name spelling was first thought of, then Sci Fi VP Craig Engler discussed in the same interview with Tor.com that the origin of “Syfy” went as far as a year back, when a new hire Michael Engleman was brainstorming one bleary-eyed night:

“We specifically began considering Syfy about a year ago, when Michael Engleman joined the network as our new VP of Creative. It was a great time for us to get the perspective of someone new, and Michael happens to be a creative genius, which helps enormously”.

In Michael’s own words in an interview with Up-Load.com:

“I knew how important our roots are, and knew where we wanted to go in the future, and I asked myself a simple question. What if we could change the name without ever changing the name? Five minutes later, with a ballpoint pen and a piece of scrap paper, Syfy was born”.

A creative genius indeed. The Syfy rebranding is a success. And now it is on to bigger and better things. The “Imagine Greater” slogan and what it means to encompass all things imaginative from using social media to choosing programming diversity for a broader audience and a bigger marketshare for the Syfy Channel will be discussed further in my next blog.

I’ll be back, Geeks!

To Sneak in a Peaceful Moment…

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Unplugging. The act of literally unplugging (or turning off) all devices, TVs, music players, or anything electric that demands our attention is difficult for most people nowadays, especially for the well-connected. Information overload is common with a constant stream of data, news, gossip, emails, tweets, posts and requests coming directly into our lives through the technology we use. I unplugged on a warm, sunny autumn afternoon and went forward with the unplugging experiment at hand.

Armed with a big wine glass filled with cold, clear ice cubes and sparkling Cupcake Prosecco, I staked out a serene spot on my back patio where I could unwind. As I walked over to the wicker love seat set up against an old-fashioned fieldstone wall, the sound of the ice clinking together in my wine glass sounded like wind chimes on breezy morning. This sound made me smile. As I took a sip of the glorious, sparkling liquid in my glass, the smell of the Prosecco was crisp and sharp; the taste…smooth and fruity. The bubbles danced on my tongue as I savored the sweet, fizzy wine before swallowing that mouthful of joy. I settled down onto the love seat with my wine glass in hand, and I pulled three big pillows in around me, which created a feeling of my own cozy, backyard nook.

The afternoon was slowly fading away, but the sun was warm and steady as it bounced off of the fieldstone wall and back onto the love seat where I was seated. The heat generated from the sun’s reflection on the stones made me feel toasty and comfortable, even on a mid-October day. I turned my face toward the glowing rays and closed my eyes as I soaked in pure happiness. I sighed heavily and relaxed more deeply into the cushy love seat, with my smile wide and my mind wide open. I cleared my head from all the day’s stresses and concentrated on the warmth of the sun. It was a glorious snapshot in time.

As the minutes ticked by, I slowly sipped my wine and listened to what was going on around me. I heard families of birds chirping wildly as they prepared for a cold night. I perceived the swish of leaves swirling to the ground, falling from the Mighty Oak in my back yard. I recognized the continuous buzz of stink bugs (but thankfully, did not smell them) as the sun started to set. Even the occasional sound of passing cars on the street in front of my house could not snap me out of this delightful experience.

I opened my eyes after what seemed like days to see that the sun had slipped behind the trees, and a coolness settled into the air. With my Prosecco almost finished, I reluctantly left my comfy corner of paradise and went inside for a sweater. To my surprise, an hour had passed, and I felt refreshed and happy. Just as quickly as my backyard escapade began, it ended as life intruded and needed my attention. What I did learn from this experiment is that unplugging definitely had it benefits. It allowed me to enjoy well-deserved time alone and to sneak in a peaceful moment.

Syfy…Engage!

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In 2009, the Sci Fi Channel underwent a chancy rebranding to encompass more genres than science fiction, space and monster movies. The new name Syfy was a one-word brand that could extend into new platforms and demographics. Today, nearly five years later, Syfy has incorporated action-adventure, mystery, fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, monster/disaster movies, unscripted reality shows and the WWE with the classic sci-fi genre essentials.

According to Craig Engler, Syfy has also integrated social media marketing and viewer engagement into not just something the brand does, but as a part of the brand itself, as a part of who they are. The results are a broader audience, diverse programming and an expanded brand presence, with Syfy viewed in more than 98 million homes.

The success Syfy is enjoying today didn’t happen overnight. According to Dave Howe during an interview with CoCreate:

“We were very specific about how we positioned it (Syfy), how we communicated and how we made sure our audience didn’t think this was just another excuse to abandon the genre.”

Understanding their audience, the psychographics behind why they are watching, viewer behavior, their consumption of media and the way they can accept imaginative ideas was key to identifying and pinpointing untapped markets.

The genre of science-fiction is largely seen as a geeky-white guy thing, but Syfy research showed that women, Hispanics, African-Americans and the under 21 crowds were just ripe for the picking. Show like Being Human, Face Off and Defiance (a video-game/TV show hybrid) has taken hold of these demographics.

According to an AdWeek report, Nielsen showed that this is the current audience and reach:

  • Syfy is in 98 million homes. (Nielsen)
  • Syfy is the best place to reach Igniters. (Simmons)
  • The gender skew of the channel is 56% male and 44% female. (Nielsen)
  • 47% of Syfy’s audience is A25-54; 42% falls into the A18-49 demographic. (Nielsen)
  • Syfy’s original programs rank in the Top 10 in their respective timeslots. (Nielsen)
  • Among 18-34s, Syfy posted double-digit gains for both men (17%) and women (21%) in Q1 2012 compared to Q1 2011. (Nielsen)
  • Syfy has been a Top 10 network for 17 years consecutively. (Nielsen)

In order to capture the essence of Syfy, the slogan “Imagine Greater” was created to identify Syfy as “a media destination for imaginationbased entertainment.” Many interactive strategies for communicating and distributing content online emerged on multiplatforms, including:

Syfy Sync– Live two-screen app which uses audio content recognition to allow viewers to access exclusive content at various points in Syfy shows and socialize it instantly

Syfy House of Imagination – Interactive website and film

Syfy Everywhere – which provides viewers exclusives and full episodes of their favorite shows anytime, anywhere from any device, and will soon be released on Xbox.

Syfy Ventures – which serves as the business development and enterprise unit for Syfy with three key goals:

(1) develop immersive trans media experiences

(2) create robust new revenue streams

(3) launch targeted products and services that exemplify its “Imagine Greater” tagline worldwide.

Syfy’s rapidly expanding portfolio includes four major business lines:

  • Gaming
  • Kids
  • Online & Mobile
  • Consumer Products

From these lines emerge five consumer sub-brands:

In order to expand the brand and keep the brand fresh, a smart campaign aptly named “Igniters” was created. Igniters targets artistic, highly imaginative consumers that not only sparks trends but have a say in “driving consumer behavior for new products and brands by sharing it instantly through social media and portable, everywhere access”, stated a Syfy press release, adding that Igniters are very active in social media, in touch with fans and the base of the Syfy audience, and are innovators who can influence others.

It went on to say:

“Through a custom study conducted in partnership with PSFK, Syfy demonstrates how and why this consumer is more powerful today than ever, creating a new marketplace – The Imagination Economy.

According to Syfy, PSFK and Simmons, Igniters are those who:

  • FIND THE NEW: Insatiable need to constantly be in-the-know about the latest and greatest everything.
  • DO THE NEXT: Must-have mentality drives them to try, do and buy the next big thing.
  • SHOW THE REST: Vocal in telling everyone about their latest finds. Because they’re at the forefront, people listen to what they have to say.

This campaign will not only expand the Syfy brand beyond imagination, but drive the marketplace it created, and I think that’s the idea!

With all this going for Syfy, I believe that viewer engagement, social media activity (Syfy Social provides unique social experiences 52 weeks a year via Facebook, Twitter and other social media) and the creativity of the human mind will keep Syfy, and fans alike, around for generations.

So, let’s make it so!

 

Social Media Demographics and Targeted Strategies

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A study on demographics for Social Media sites was released on the Business Insider website, with some surprising results. According to Cooper Smith, an influencer and author of the study published on October 5, 2013, brands and businesses “need platform-focused social media strategies”, and I agree with this opinion. In my industry, MedTech Marketing, a strategy that will target certain demographics is a sound plan.

For instance, the results of the BI study which showed that LinkedIn is an international SM site and is used by professionals mostly during the day. The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report in 2010 that claimed that the US medical device market is the largest in the world with imports supplying about 33% of the market. Other information on the demographics of SM platforms was brought to light, such as gender, income, and ages of each major social network, mobile activity, activity peaks, and how the international uses social networks. Armed with this information, Medtech brands and businesses can seize opportunities on LinkedIn, target their marketing and messaging and produce more sales.

What was not mentioned was the psychographics, or “why” the user spends time and effort on SM sites. The end-user of Medtech products are patients and the healthcare providers that use them. In addition to knowing the demographics of SM platforms, understanding the psychographic differences in motivations and attitudes toward using the product will help the Medtech marketer with the task of marketing Medtech products across other segments and into new territory without trying to be everything for everyone.

Social Media and the Job Search

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Job searching can be a daunting task. When one wants to break into or advance within the medical or healthcare industry, that task can become overwhelming.  Knowing someone within that facility (or a particular department within a hospital) may be able to help you put your foot in the door, or put a bug in the ear of the right person, however it does not guarantee that your resume will be seen or read.

Social media (SM) has improved the undertaking of job searching by giving both sides of the coin opportunities to get to know each other better through SM sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Yes, resume content can be viewed on most SM sites, but this doesn’t always attract recruiters or those hiring. According to the MedMasters, candidates need to “develop a brand”. I agree with that assessment. I believe that if a person maintains a SM site and creatively brand themselves, the chore of job searching can be less of a chore.

A personal brand is developed over time to reflect the type of person you want others to see. To start with the task of developing a personal brand, one must first think of your personal brand as an investment (of time, sometimes money, and effort).  Setting goals of your public image is important because you want to convey who you are, what you are about and what you represent.  Try to keep your brand fresh by adding words of wisdom learned or listing areas of expertise. Keep your skills sharp by continuing to learn what it is you know and desire to know. While maintaining your SM sites, comment on other posts, build relationships, get involved with influencers in your field, and get others to notice you and your personal brand.

These simple (but albeit time-consuming) tips may be able to sky-rocket your resume to the top of the pile and help the recruiters and hiring employers view you as valuable and employable. Just remember that SM sites may be the first-step for job seekers, but building a note-worthy brand and maintaining the SM sites that employers will view you in a different (and more positive) light than not having a personal brand at all.

http://medmasters.com/news/how-social-media-revolutionized-the-job-search/#!