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Frank, Where Are You?

Posted on : 20-03-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Comcast, Personal


This has been a fun filled week for me on a number of fronts. The week started with the usual fun from Lily (see prior post “So is it Time to be Frank” for prior antics). On Sunday I had to clean the bathroom, something I have been procrastinating on for a long time. I finally got to work on it. Little did I know but so did my dear Lily. While I was taking a break for a couple minutes, Lily woke up from her nap and decided she wanted to help out. She went into the bathroom and poured a whole bottle of bleach cleaner in the tub. We are still trying to figure out how she opened it (had a child proof cap on it at the time). So when I ended the break I went upstairs. I went to get one of the bottles of cleaner, but realized the bottle was empty. Needless to say I was confused (not too unusual for me). We had a bunch of clothes in the tub because that was not being cleaned yet and we did not get to the wash. Well I noticed the clothes were wet. As I went through the pile I started to watch the color of every item run off. After going through everything in my head, I could not figure out how this happened to the clothes. I then called Lily (having a heart attack in my mind) I asked her if she was in our room. She said yes. I then worried that she drank some so then asked a number of questions on that. It turns out she was trying to create a bubble bath in the tub. I then realized many of my favorite clothes were now the wrong color. So it was good to see Lily helping the economy as I spent a lot of money at Kohls, Walmart, and LL Bean replacing some of the lost clothes. This was the start of a good week!

On Monday I was starting in a leadership program at work. This is an intense one year program for selected people within the organization. It is really amazing to even be considered and even more amazing when you meet the others in the program. There are some really great people that earned the same recognition. This first 2 day session concentrated on changes at Comcast, meeting top leaders and becoming a community leader. In fact my first project will be leading an effort centered around our “Comcast Cares Day” on April 25th. No it is not recognition of the work of my team, but rather a community event where Comcasters, family and friends get together and do projects to improve the community in which we live. I will have more to come on this because I can really use everyone’s help in meeting the goals of my first project for this leadership program. Thank you in advance.

During the leadership program I also had the wonderful experience of meeting a few people from a charity called “City Year.” As part of the leadership program, members of the charity participate. This allows us to learn about leadership in community organization and they learn from our business experience. This organization works within schools and the community to mentor, tutor and become role models to our youth. They are really transforming themselves and the communities they serve. If you have a moment check them out.

My team really started to take the lead in places like Twitter and working to take over the efforts that we have started this year. I have to say I was never more proud of the great members of my team and their efforts to make sure our social media efforts are fully operationalized. So if you have not seen me on Twitter, I have been there, but my team has really been taking the reigns. This will allow me to concentrate on strategies and improving the overall experience for our Comcast Customers. My other team members on Twitter are @ComcastBill @ComcastGeorge and @ComcastBonnie. I also have to recognize my other team members because they have been doing the same in the areas they participate in: Sherry, Kim, Mark, Detreon, Vinisha and Steve. They helped myself and Comcast lead the way into social media for businesses, but now they are helping me become a stronger leader. This is why it all starts with people!

So that is what has been happening with me. I hope I can count on your support and help for my upcoming project for “Comcast Cares Day.”

Are You a Blogger? No Medical Care for You

Posted on : 04-03-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Business, Social Media


Driving in today I heard an associated press report that really had me concerned.  Many businesses have tried to find ways to change perception about their brand, sometimes going as far as creating fake reviews, such as the Belkin example.  But now some doctors are trying to influence reviews by making it part of their contract for care that patients can not rate their service.  Read the story “Docs Seek Gag Orders to Stop Patient Reviews.”  I think I feel a groundswell coming!

Do you see a day where everything we buy comes with a contract or terms of use forbidding talking about the business?  What if it was changed to say you can only say positive things, but not negative?  Is this going to change the game?

This practice will cause multiple issues for businesses, including doctors.  Lets look at a few:

  • Not Allowing the Positive Groundswell – If you are doing things right, your own Customers will come to defense of any negative commentary.  By having a rule like this they would be afraid to
  • Negative Commentary will Still Happen – If someone had a bad experience they will want to tell the world and rules like this will not stop it.  The web can be a very anonymous place.
  • Groundswell Just for Having the Rule – What I think will really happen is people will start tracking organizations that create rules such as this and advise everyone not to use them

This is a slippery slope.  I am not surprised it is being done, and I am actually surprised it has not been done by others.  This is being done by people who are short sighted and uninformed about the groundswell within social media.  If there is a fear of this discussion the best options are to create the right experience the first time, but also find ways that Customers, oh I mean patients, can provide feedback to your business.  Then take this feedback and take action to improve when possible.

This is personal for me because I have used the web to share thoughts on medical care and my child.  I elected not to share all the negative stories, to which we have many, but that was my decision and not one forced on me.   There are great organizations to help families share the course of treatment on the web, such as Caringbride.org.  Will policies like this be so restricted that families would not be able to communicate in the way they prefer? Or will it censor what they can say?  Could a website like Caringbridge.org be sued because someone said something negative about a doctor?

To the defense of the docs, they are not permitted based on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (better known as HIPAA) to discuss private patient information with anyone except the patient (and their insurance carrier) without written consent from the patient.   So they most likely would not be able to defend wrong information being written about them or clear any misconception.

I think it is time for some people to get past their egos and stop trying to prevent what will occur no matter what the legal mumbo jumbo has to say.  What do you think?

UPDATE:  While I was writing this the Consumerist posted “Warning:  Going to the Doc? Be Sure You Don’t Sign A Gag Order.”  In the post they talk about how RateMDs.com will create a wall of shame for doctors using the gag order.  Let the groundswell begin