As anyone who has followed my activity over any period of time will know, I'm a big fan of the power of social media to power business and careers if not entire industries, trends, movements etc. I'm a participant (some more, some less) in many different platforms for different purposes (some personal, some business). Consequently when a new online network comes across my radar it piques my interest.
Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with Alexandra Thompson who is the Webinar & Community Manager for future science group in the UK to talk about the new online social network they are building around regenerative medicine.
Describe RegMedNet to us.
RegMedNet is a social network designed especially for the regenerative medicine community, aiming to help them showcase their news, views and insights to the rest of the community, and easily access those of others. By talking to authors and editorial board members of our journal and members of the regenerative medicine field at conferences, we realised there is not really one place where the whole community, including all disciplines and nationalities, could easily connect and communicate: we wanted to design a site that would act like an online, international, multidisciplinary conference, where people can showcase the latest news, share insights, debate hot topics, make connections and learn – but at any time and from any place.
What is lacking in other online activities or forums that you hope RegMedNet will address?
There are a lot of existing blog sites, websites and social media sites out there already, but with RegMedNet we have done three things. First, we have made it extremely easy to join and use, knowing time is a constraint for many in the community. Sign-up is free and has no lengthy forms or processes, and posting your own content and following others requires only a couple of clicks. Second, we have all the best features of various other sites together in this one network; blog posts, video posts, video chat, following, etc. Lastly, we have structured the site to cut out the noise you can get with social networks, making it easy for you to get the precise content you are interested in. You only get email alerts about people you choose to follow, but you can still visit anyone’s profile and view their content. Also, the site is organised into different ‘channels’ of interest such as ‘Research’ and ‘Industry developments’, so it is easy to find content relevant to you.
How does RegMedNet interact with people’s existing social media activity?
The idea for RegMedNet is that often people have more to say than say a Tweet but less than a published paper, which can also take a fair amount of time from submission to publication and therefore sharing! A lot of people have blogs already, and you can post those on RegMedNet or link over to these existing blogs, so RegMedNet becomes the hub of knowledge for all things regenerative medicine. You can also easily share content from RegMedNet to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter, so you still get positive feedback into your social media streams.
Are you looking at using RegMedNet to supply additional interactive media content that supplement published papers in the journal?
We certainly are. A disadvantage with the traditional publishing model is the lack of showcasing of large numbers of video or image files. You can not only share these on RegMedNet, but also encourage further discussion of articles. You could show video tours of your lab or institution discussed in an institutional profile, a conference talk to supplement your conference report or a video of a protocol discussed in your research article. The possibilities are endless!
For those new to your site, how would you propose they start?
By signing up of course! Followed by completing their profile to showcase to the rest of the community who they are and what they know. There are various how-to guides in the RegMedNet channel to help users, but I hope that everyone will find the site fairly intuitive as it is designed with ease and simplicity in mind. If members are entirely new to blogging and vlogging, so am I! It is just about sharing what you know or think; as long as you are being respectful to others you can approach both however you like. Of course, as the Community Manager I will always be happy to help by offering advice and answering any questions.
What are you hoping people will say about RegMedNet and how it has helped them?
We have designed the site because we truly believe in the power of regenerative medicine. It is not only a priority investment for the future of healthcare, but offers hope to indications with no cure such as Huntingdon’s disease. Therefore, if people say that RegMedNet is a useful tool helping them to learn, connect and work together, which should help move the field forward more quickly and effectively, we would be delighted. I hope that down the line people say that it has helped international collaboration and standardization, as well as the unification of different disciplines encompassed by regenerative medicine.
What would be a successful first year look like for RegMedNet?
Community sites can take a long time to set up, so if we have a steady number of people signing up and then using the site over the next year we will be happy. By RegMedNet’s first birthday we are consistently getting positive feedback about the network, hearing that it is a useful tool that is helping its members to connect and collaborate etc. as hoped, I will be thrilled.