The Alliance for Continuing Medical Education has recently begun to explore whether social media is right for its membership of continuing medical education professionals.

This spring the Alliance quietly established the Social Media Working Group as an offshoot of the Membership Coordinating Committee. These are still the earliest days of the working group; in June a draft strategy was authored and submitted to the MCC for review.

Here are the current draft objectives of the Alliance's Social Media Working Group:

  1. Increase Alliance visibility and awareness.

  2. Inform the public on the Alliance's work, news, and events.

  3. Improve communication with Alliance followers, contacts, and members.

  4. Promote Alliance forums, publications, education opportunities, and events.

  5. Facilitate member and staff networking, collaborations, and partnerships.

These draft objectives were designed to be focused and actionable, and to represent a scalable pilot-project-ready launch strategy — the intention is that the recent and future actions of the Alliance can serve as a social media implementation model for its members.

Jeremy Lundberg, MSSW, CEO of DLC Solutions, Philadelphia, (Twitter ID: @jeremylundberg) and a founding member of the Alliance's Social Media Working Group, says, “It was clear from the beginning that the working group did not want to engage social media simply to say we were engaged. Instead we applied the POST social media planning principles: people (who); objectives (what); strategies (why); technologies (how). But clearly, the technologies are the final thing we considered.”

Lundberg went on to point out the importance of staying on top of changes and developments in the Alliance's social media strategy. “We are trying to think through how we can remain engaged and committed to social media tactics for the long run and as technologies evolve. As is the case with the education we produce, it is vital that we stay aware of formative assessment opportunities.”

Jann Balmer, RN, PhD, president of the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education, says of the Alliance board of director's recent discussion related to social media adoption, “The Alliance serves as a community dedicated to improving healthcare through education, advocacy, and creative problem-solving that aligns the Alliance with the emerging healthcare environment. The Alliance is exploring strategies for effective integration of social media technologies. We believe that the social media technologies can provide us with some unique and cost-effective channels to facilitate networking, learning, and advancement of the profession.”

Alliance officials caution that these are the earliest days of the organization's entry into social media, and there are no guarantees that progress will be smooth or quick-paced, but the initial assessment and planning steps that the Alliance has recently taken are real and they are worth watching.