• From resident to fellow…in social media.

Social media can be a scary, intimidating thing. The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media offers hands-on, rigorous training sessions to those who would like to apply social media to their work and make it a little less scary. Anyone can attend, including Mayo Clinic employees and volunteers, but also external professionals.

I attended the Social Media Residency as part of my Public Affairs internship at Mayo Clinic. In this role, I am involved in a variety of areas, but mostly internal communications. I create communication pieces about topics including employee achievements, patient stories, research, and keeping employees informed and aware of things happening at Mayo Clinic. In several of these roles, internal social media is considered, allowing me to create communication plans centered around these tools. I chose to attend the residency not only to hone my skills for my current job, but to make myself a more marketable candidate for future employment; social media matters, and more and more employers are looking for professionals well-versed in it.

I participated in the Social Media Residency at the Rochester campus on June 25 and 26. The two-day residency guided us through the use of many social media tools including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yammer, Pinterest, WordPress and YouTube. A social media expert presented each tool in depth, and we were then asked to discuss how we could apply each tool to our work areas.

A social media expert also sat at each table, providing feedback and answering questions throughout the residency. We explored the trenches of social media by posting, tweeting, blogging, pinning and videotaping. We gained valuable social media skills, interacting with each other through a Tweet Chat, and blogging and videotaping our reflections on the residency, . We talked, laughed, brainstormed, and left with a new confidence in social media.

As a final activity, the Social Media team asked each participant to create a two-page social media plan. Some shared their plan, discussing how they could utilize social media in their work and integrate it into their business plans. Certificates were awarded at the end of the residency, naming us all “Social Media Fellows.”

The Social Media team was enthusiastic and willing to answer any question, however elementary or complex in nature. The team sincerely wanted us to leave the residency with a deeper grasp on social media and an understanding of how it can be applied to enhance any organization’s mission or goals.

At times, I found myself thinking about Mayo Clinic’s Education shield, and its commitment to educating all who want to learn. I believe the Social Media Residency is a testament to that. It is not just in the medical field that Mayo Clinic is committed to educating; it’s in places some might never expect, like social media.

Throughout the entirety of the Social Media Residency, an inspiring, creative energy and genuine interest in learning circulated. It was an enriching experience, both to partake in and observe others learning in fascination.  I would recommend that any person, no matter from what field of study or industry, participate in one of the upcoming Social Media Residencies here at Mayo Clinic.

Written by: Katie Streater

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