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Digital Pharma: AstraZeneca joins the blogosphere

Published on 26/11/09 at 10:42am
Dominic Tyer
AstraZeneca's Health Connections blog

AstraZeneca recently launched its first official corporate blog, joining the likes of Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline on the blogosphere.

Now, just over a month since launch, AZ Health Connections' editor Earl Whipple took the opportunity in a recent post to look at what the fledgling enterprise means for the company so far.

He summarises what he's learned so far as:

• Keep content comprehensive, relevant, and meaningful

• Be transparent and communicate openly

• Provide information rapidly

• Become a valued voice in the conversation

• Go 'beyond the pill'

• Make it personal

Whipple is still establishing the blog's 'voice', but has taken steps to back up what could easily be an empty mission statement of 'engagement'.

The blog allows some (pre-screened) comments and includes a 'blog roll' of some of Whipple's fellow pharma bloggers.

Moreover, he picked up on and responded to a critical post by US industry magazine PharmaExec entitled 'AZ's First Corporate Blog Falls Flat'.

In response he wrote: "Can more be done to help provide accurate, balanced and timely information about our products, especially through social media channels? Yes, of course.

"What the PharmaExec blog post labels as 'close corporate scrutiny,' I see as responsibility. While adding any extra level of 'scrutiny' to the comments we receive may mean it will take longer for us to respond to a comment, this is how we will operate for now."

Whipple acknowledges the blog represents some of AZ's early steps into social media and says he hopes they "will lead to more meaningful and helpful conversations with those who care about our company and the medicines we make".

Some of AZ's other social media initiatives to date include a handful of Twitter accounts, including @astrazenecaus whose tweets are shown on the blog.

The company's other accounts are @azhelps, which mainly responds to tweets about access to the company's anti-ulcer drug Nexium, the general corporate @astrazeneca account and the careers-focused @astrazenecajobs.

The company has also set up the US-focused AstraZeneca Pharma and My Asthma Story YouTube channels.

Dominic Tyer is web editor for Pharmafocus and InPharm.com and the author of the Digital Pharma blog. He can be contacted via email, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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