Social Media Lessons from Oprah: You Have a Calling

I’ll start by saying I’m not an Oprah fan. Don’t take that wrong. It’s not that I don’t like Oprah. It’s just that I’m not a fan. I’ve never watched her show, and honestly I’ve been genuinely concerned about the state of mind of anyone who publishes a magazine with a picture of herself on every cover every month.

Actually, over the years I have gleaned a few tidbits from the supermarket tabloids. Oprah battles weight gain. She has frequently been close to death or bankrupt. And, oh yes, Steadman is an alien (I think). But you who follow her already knew that.

I do recognize talent and persistence and am amazed when anyone does anything well every single day for 25 years (4,561 shows!). So I set the DVR for 5 p.m. PDT yesterday and taped her final show.

Ladies and gentlemen, Oprah has a message! And it’s a message that can apply to us in the world of healthcare social media. If you missed it, or if you didn’t, here are some Oprah quotes from her final show:

This is what I was called to do. What I know for sure from this experience with you is that we are all called – everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out what that is and to get about the business of doing it.

Every time we have seen a person on this stage who is a success in their life, they spoke of the joy, they spoke of the juice that they received from doing what they knew they were meant to be doing.

You have to make a living. I understand that. But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you in your own way can illuminate the world.

What I want you to know, as this show ends, each one of you has your own platform. Do not let the trappings here fool you. Mine is a stage in a studio. Yours is wherever you are, with your own reach, however small, or however large that reach is.

So what does that have to do with us, those of us who have decided to give our time, our energies, and our commitment to this crazy, ever-changing world of healthcare social media?

I have three takeaways.

Identify your own personal calling

You can refer to it as a calling or passion or drive or a sense of purpose or the “why” behind what you do. Social media is a wide-open territory. Sure, we do this for a living, but it is a double bonus if you are fortunate enough to match your own sense of calling with how you make your living. Find out how social media fits for you and develop your niche.

Discover what your community needs

By community, I don’t mean the people who live in a specific geographical area. I mean the people who gather around your social media efforts because they want and need the sense of community you offer. Don’t just do social media to do social media. Dig deep and find out what your community really needs and talk to that. Help your community get what they need.

Connect with your community on an emotional level

While we are listening and tweeting and posting and videotaping and measuring and reporting and trying to figure out ROI and worrying about HIPAA and starting over day after day, we can’t forget why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Many of the people who depend on us and our organizations – our patients and our communities – are scared and worried and hurt and sick and discouraged and do not know where to turn. By using social media for its best and brightest purpose, to connect and encourage, educate and enlighten, we can provide a little hope and comfort and assurance.

You can read Hive Strategies’ 7 Core Values at the Heart of Successful Social Media for an idea about the “why” behind what we do.

For some of us, this is what we’ve been called to do. As Oprah said yesterday, “Whatever you are supposed to be doing, carry that forward. And don’t waste anymore time. Start embracing the life that is calling you, and use your life to serve the world.”


How we help

Hive Strategies helps hospitals engage patients through social media. We don’t manage social media. Instead, we help hospitals develop an effective social media strategy and mentor them through the implementation process. Start a conversation. Email us or call us at 503-472-5512.

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