Social media, health care and PR’s future

June 17, 2009

Image courtesy of tumblr.comMy family is  trudging through the painstaking process of preparing my grandma’s house to put on the market.

Grandma’s been gone for more than a year now, and as I spend countless hours contemplating coffee beige vs. maple beige and tile vs. vintage hardwood floors, I can’t help but think about how pleased she’d be with the way her house is turning out.

I like to think of how proud she’d be of me, too.  Hey, someone has to be there to talk my mom out of putting a hideous wallpaper border on the bathroom wall!

I can recall spending hours on grandma’s living room floor as a child.  I wrote elaborate stories about horses, which were my obsession up until 5th grade.  Once my parents finally broke down and purchased a computer, I’d spend hours surfing the Internet and making basic HTML Web sites to show my friends.

And as I stared at the computer screen while typing at 90 WPM, I can still hear grandma say:

“When you grow up, you need to find a job where you can write and be on that computer.”

So here I am: a senior at Kent State, pursuing a career in public relations.  When I chose to major in PR, I never imagined that social media would play such a large role in my future career.  Today, I’m excited to see how social media is changing the way organizations communicate with their publics.

As an intern at Children’s, I had an awesome opportunity to put my social media skills to the test this week.  One of our patients headed to D.C. to advocate for children’s health care on behalf of the hospital.  The PR Department, which already uses many social media tools to communicate with employees and the public, decided to ask the patient to tweet on his trip.

I was able to teach the patiGrandma and Rebecca, 2006ent how to tweet and set up his Twitter account.  The story ran in the Akron Beacon Journal, and my picture was included on the front-page story.  Not many interns can say they pitched to a paper and made the front page!

With patients using tweets to advocate for their hospitals, what windows of opportunity will social media open next?

I’m thrilled to be a soon-to-be PR professional in such a pivotal era for the profession.  And heck: I think grandma would be thrilled, too.  However, I’m sure she’d make a comment about how my hair was in my face for the ABJ photo, and she’d probably ask me why any person would want to tweet, anyway.



  1. I thoroughly enjoyed your blog. I made sure to subscribe to keep up with you.

    Kent State has a great PR program. I’ve only heard amazing things. Allison Tomei, if you know of her, served on the PRSSA National Committee with me a few years back.

    Looking forward to future posts.

  2. Thanks, Ryan. I don’t know Allison personally, but as an active member of Kent State’s PRSSA executive board, I’ve heard her name many times.

  3. You amazingly demonstrated how social media can influence lives, and give hope to people. Businesses, individuals or public services can use it to make a difference. Your grandma was right.



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