After deliberating on the best way to go about it, the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education recently announced that it has decided to dive into social media. It already has garnered more than 150 fans on its Facebook page, where the comments are overwhelmingly positive. The Alliance also can now be found on Twitter, under the handle of @allianceforcme, and on LinkedIn.

The messages from the Alliance itself so far are the same on all three sites—mainly information about ACME’s services and upcoming educational activities. However, the organization also has said on all three social sites that it will be tweeting its 36th Annual Conference, coming January 26–29 in San Francisco, using the hashtag #acme2011. A message from the Alliance also said that a new online community would be unveiled this spring.

According to Jeremy Lundberg, CEO of DLC Solutions and a founding member of the Alliance’s Social Media Working Group, the organization’s launching into social media came after a careful study of who it wanted to reach, what the objectives of using social networking tools would be, what strategies to use to engage that audience, and which technologies would best serve its purpose. “The technology had to fit the who and the what; we didn’t want to start with the technology and then figure out our objectives,” he said.

The main objectives, he says, were to encourage advocacy and research, drive membership, and increase access to education and training. The group also developed a social media policy that addressed the potential for abuse and privacy protections, among other issues.

In other Alliance for CME news, look for the details about its latest educational platform at the upcoming annual meeting. The online learning center, called the Competency Assessment and Lifelong Learning Series, or CALLS, is available at the Alliance’s Web site, CALLS’ core curricula consists of modules that correlate to the Alliance’s Competencies for CME Professionals: adult learning principles; educational interventions; performance measurement; systems thinking; leadership, administration, and management; and knowledge of the CME environment/lifelong learning and self-assessment.

The Alliance is kicking off 2011 with the introduction of several CALLS learning tracks. One is designed to help learners develop proficiency in CME; another is an exam prep course for those interested in earning the Certified CME Professionals designation. Three others are courses that enable learners to earn certificates in three Alliance Competencies: best practices in assessment and evaluation (Alliance Competency 3.2); directing physician self-assessment for learning and change (Alliance Competency 3.6); and facilitating improvements in healthcare by addressing barriers (Alliance Competency 4.6). The certificate courses are six-week online courses that a group of learners go through together with an online facilitator.