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From chaos to calm: how to make sense of social media

What do you know about chaos theory?
Chaos theory was recently described to me at a rudimentary level as being about the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. This got me thinking about social media and how to makes sense of what is being said online.

Did you know that on average around 6,000 tweets are posted every second? That’s 350,000 tweets a minute, 500 million tweets a day and 200 billion tweets a year – and that’s just one form of social media.

It’s fair to say that the way we communicate has been transformed by online interaction. We post, blog, tweet, “like”, “pin” and talk through online and social media mechanisms, all of which has an impact on commerce and industry today. They say “a brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is” (Scott Cook co-founder Intuit) and this causes problems for marketers, who for so long have been used to controlling the conversation with their consumers. Social media has changed this dynamic.

What does this mean for pharma?

Like any other industry, its customers are talking. Payers, patients and physicians all routinely use social media to share opinions and discuss treatments. We operate in the era of the “digitally native doctor” and the inquisitive, health conscious patient. However, many big pharma companies have been wary of social media, constrained as they are within a heavily regulated environment and concerned with issues around compliance. But if you truly want to be customer centric you do need to be in dialogue with your customers - and social media can allow that.

Which brings me back to chaos theory. How can pharma generate useful insights from the endless supply of tweets, blog posts and data that social media generates?

Read the full blog here

25th August 2015



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