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Learning How 'Social' Media Tools Can Build Your Practice's Impact

The dynamics of and participation in social media, as it influences your web presence, takes on new importance as you evaluate your practice's presence on the web. This edition of CLICK explores a few more noteworthy extensions of social media via the growth of “location-based” social media sites and the emergence of Ning—a new service that our contributor, Dr. Alan Glazier, is just starting to explore. Such trends are the territory of CLICK, Vision Monday's twice-a-month e-newsletter that helps brief ECPs about web technology and internet developments.

See what other practitioners have to say by catching up on what happened at our first CLICK Conference, “Social Climbing,” sponsored by Hoya Vision Care. Want to see what happened at the Conference? Check out the special re-cap in our CLICK Archive. Those archives are easy-to-access and feature dozens of stories, tips and interesting ideas. It's located at

Have you tried something new on your website or launched a special social media campaign? Tell us about it and we'll consider it for an upcoming feature in CLICK.
—The Editors

in focus

So, Where Are You Now...?

NEW YORK—In its first report on the use of “geosocial” or location-based services, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project finds that 4 percent of online adults use a service such as Foursquare or Gowalla that allows them to share their location with friends and to find others who are nearby. On any given day, 1 percent of internet users are using these services.

Location-based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla use internet-connected mobile devices’ geolocation capabilities to let users notify others of their locations by “checking in” to that location. Location-based services often run on stand-alone software applications, or “apps,” on most major GPS-enabled smartphones or other devices.

The survey's key findings include:

  • 7 percent of adults who go online with their mobile phone use a location-based service.
  • 8 percent of online adults ages 18-29 use location-based services, significantly more than online adults in any other age group.
  • 10 percent of online Hispanics use these services—significantly more than online whites (3 percent) or online blacks (5 percent).
  • 6 percent of online men use a location-based service such as Foursquare or Gowalla, compared with 3 percent of online women.
  • There are no statistically significant differences by household income or educational attainment.

Some of these “geosocial” services emphasize social networking functions, and can notify friends on the service when the user is nearby. Users may also be able to leave comments or reviews for a certain business or other location, which may be viewed by later visitors. Other services take a gaming approach, in which check-ins are used to unlock “levels” or “badges,” or can be used to earn a certain title (such as “Mayor”) when the user has checked in to that location more than any other user. (Here the mobile device’s GPS function is also important to help prevent people from checking in to places they are not at physically, which is considered a form of cheating.) Such detailed real-time information about customers’ habits is very attractive to businesses, who may share special deals with users, or reward “mayors” and other frequent users with free or discounted services.

Location-based services such as Foursquare or Gowalla are significantly more popular with younger internet users; 8 percent of online adults ages 18-29 use location-based services, significantly more than online adults in any other age group. Wireless internet users, unsurprisingly, are also more likely to use location-based services, especially those who connect to the internet with their cell phone. Seven percent of all adults who go online with their mobile phone say they use a location-based service, as well as 5 percent of all wireless internet users.

Additionally, the ability to report one’s location is a feature that has recently been added to many pre-existing sites such as Twitter and Facebook. It is possible that as the lines between different types of services become increasingly blurred, it is difficult for respondents to always pinpoint exactly what sort of software they are using—especially on their mobile devices. Pew’s recent report on the rise of apps culture, for instance, found that 11 percent of cell phone owners are not sure whether their phone is even equipped with apps.

This report is based on the results of a telephone survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project conducted between Aug. 9 and Sept. 13, 2010. The survey was administered to a sample of 3,001 adults, age 18 and older, using a combination of landline and cellular telephones. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. The sample margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for the general population and plus or minus 2.9 percentage points for internet users (n=2,065).


Using Ning to Amplify Social Networking With Other Groups

By Alan Glazier, OD, FAAO

ROCKVILLE, Md.—Thousands of educators, teachers, professors and nonprofits are using a site called Ning. Ning lets people create their own “facebooks” and enables people to upload photos and videos, participate in discussions, connect with friends, advocate causes, all within a social site where you control the look, feel and usability. Businesses benefit from the social aspects in Ning to inform customers as they might with a traditional website.

Ning is described as a branded social destination or digital hub that gives you control over the look, feel and features of a website and really allows users to create and monetize in a sensible way. Instead of being “forced” into a traditional Facebook template, you have your own template to use as you’d like.

Ning says they “touch 80 million people globally, every single month”—a sizable network. Their core subscription plan is $19.95 a month, and that gives you an unlimited number of members and a choice from a huge range of features, from blogs and photos and events, and everything you need to get started.

I set up Ning recently, a site called Eye Information Network, and am working on building my community. I felt there was an opportunity in having a custom social media site where I could control the look and feel of my content. I ultimately want it to act as an interactive “newsletter”—by having patients sign up, so they can participate and not just read about us from the sidelines; feedback will be a big part of it.

So far, there are a handful of medical professionals using Ning, and many small medical businesses. If Ning sounds like it might be a good fit for your social marketing efforts, you can visit Ning and sign up for a month's free trial. Be sure to connect with my new Ning Profile when you do.

Alan N. Glazier, OD, FAAO is the founder/CEO of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care in Rockville, Md. A search and social optimization consultant, he is now a regular contributor to CLICK and also writes a regular blog for Glazier is at and his regular posts can be found via his Twitter handle: @EyeInfo, his blog: and his website:


cool tools

Google Logos

Did you know that Google's “doodles” logos are an international phenomenon? Doodles are the decorative changes that are made by Google to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, the lives of famous artists and scientists. They often change on the search engine’s famously-minimal home page. Turns out there’s a location in Google where you can find all of Google’s doodles. Also on this page, is a link to the details about the annual Doodle4Google contest where kids in grades K through 12 are invited to work their artistic creativity upon the Google homepage logo. The 2010 and 2009 winners are posted here. If you or someone on your team is feeling creative, Google says, “The doodle team is open to user ideas; requests for doodles can be sent to The team receives numerous requests so even if we do not get back to you about your request, please know that we do look at and consider all the requests that are submitted.”

Turn Your Own Handwriting Into a Type Font


Perhaps you’d like to extend your penmanship and letter-writing into a digital medium? Perhaps you’d like your signature on an e-document to reflect your real signature? This service site, based in the U.K., offers a range of font-translating software/services, some are free, some for a premium. They work with mail-merge programs, can be used for desktop publishing, web design, invitations and more. The site also says it can help people with disabilities by creating a handwritten style for their communication needs.

sites to see

CIBA Vision has re-launched, after months of research designed to identify practitioners’ needs and serve their interests. brings all of CIBA Vision’s web-based services and sites together through one portal. Information is organized on a “dashboard.” Content on now falls under four primary categories: The Products section will lead to more in-depth information about the company’s product portfolio; The Ordering sidebar, which provides direct access to all of the familiar lens ordering systems; The Education section which leads to the CIBA Vision ACADEMY FOR EYECARE EXCELLENCE (AECE) which serves education needs through all stages of practice, and The Business Management option, which also connects to the AECE and its proprietary tools designed to help to increase profitability and patient retention.” Said Rick Weisbarth, OD, FAAO, CIBA Vision’s VP, professional affairs, “Over the course of the first half of 2011, we will announce more site updates including a private streamlined login function, personalization options and new interactive features.”


In continued support of Coppertone polarized prescription lenses, Vision Ease Lens (VEL) has launched a new consumer website to help people learn more about the premium protection benefits and proven technology used in these products. Several videos educate consumers on the importance of sun protection and the dangers of HEV light and UV exposure. The website includes a provider lookup tool, allowing customers to locate Coppertone prescription sun lens providers in their area. “The website is a larger platform to not only tell but show the quality of Coppertone lenses,” said Jay Lusignan, marketing communications manager at VEL. “Our interactive section has many unique features such as the ”see the difference” section that shows the glare reduction Coppertone lenses provide, as well as a UV Index tool that gives consumers their local UV index.”