New Media – Feeds and Aggregators

The pharmaceutical industry has been slow to embrace new media.  There are a number of good reasons for this.  Any highly regulated industry, such as the pharmaceutical industry, has to be careful and concerned when considering new media strategies.  That doesn’t mean that they should consider them at all, however, and that is a good topic for a posting in and of itself.

But in the meantime, I want to talk about feeds.  Not long ago, the FDA introduced RSS feeds to its Web site.  For those of you not familiar, a feed allows a person to subscribe to your output. 

As many of you know, Eye on FDA allows you to subscribe either by email or by subscribing to a feed.  A growing number of readers are subscribing by feed rather than email.  A fan of Eye on FDA (and I appreciate you all) can, instead of email, choose an aggregator that pulls together the information that he or she wants to read.

For example, I use Google Reader.  I have chosen several outlets that put out information in the form of news releases and have subscribed to their feed through Google Reader.  Then I go to my Google Reader page and there waiting for me are news releases from all of my favorite sources, so that I can read them in my own personal sort of newspaper.  The FDA not only has this service, but so does PhRMA.  In fact, PhRMA has a tutorial on their site about RSS feeds. 

But in looking at other organizations and pharmaceuticals, one doesn’t see the same offering, generally speaking.  GlaxoSmithKline offers a feed, but many others that I checked do not.  That is an oversight.  Some offer emails – that is very yesterday.  Investors, in particular, would like to subscribe to the press releases of companies in which they invest as would analysts, among others.

It is time for pharmaceutical companies to look at how they are communicating in the new media milieu.  This is just one aspect of that.  Anyone who is just posting press releases the old fashioned way, and sending them over the wires, is behind the times.  It would be like only advertising on radio, when there is television!

This is just one step, among many, that pharmas need to take in new media.

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3 Responses to New Media – Feeds and Aggregators

  1. Kyle says:

    Agree completely, it amazes me that more folks aren’t using RSS feeds. But what I find interesting is the ability now to use services like Twitter or Jaiku to communicate with people (who have selected your content) through a variety of platforms.
    Using these systems would be especially important for an organization like the FDA who need to push out info fast to a variety of people. They are in their infancy now for sure, but eventually the mashup of RSS into micro-blogging will enable this method.
    /kff

  2. Brian says:

    Speaking of RSS feeds, you’re auto discovery feed isn’t correct. I know there’s that nice big button on the right, but I use “Google reader subscribe grease monkey script” that detects the auto discovery links and puts it in the upper right corner and clicking it sends me straight to google reader.
    Anyway, you should fix them because I just realized that I’ve been subscribed to your blog via http://www.eyeonfda.com/eye_on_fda/atom.xml
    which apparently hasn’t worked since June of 2006.
    I think I might have too many feeds since I didn’t even notice that you didn’t have anything new.

  3. Cuber Don says:

    Following your post about feeds, I browsed the web sites of the national health authorities in Europe (and the EMEA as well), in a quest for feeds.
    Feeds are a nice way for the agencies to “push” the information to the pharmaceutical industry and the public, but the results are showing that if one wants to be kept informed, the best option is still to browse all the different web sites of all the national agencies (and the European one as well) and “pull” the information.
    The results of my “quest for feeds” are here: http://ectd.wordpress.com/2007/04/20/european-health-authorities-quest-for-feeds/