Revisiting Social Networks: Will They Matter For Behavioral Health?

Posted by:

I’ve had some great discussions these past few months with mental health professionals about social networking.  The questions raised and the experiences shared have been invaluable.  I’ve received emails from behavioral health care companies and from individual practitioners all looking to make sense of a topic that seems to be all the rage.  You simply cannot hide from social networking.

The problem for many, including myself, is trying to figure out what role it can effectively play in our careers.  Unfortunately, it tends to bring up more questions than answers.  Here’s my attempt at simplifying things a bit.

It’s my belief that the best social networking tools for mental health professionals are NOT LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the like.  The two main social networking vehicles that will have the most impact in terms of building market share are Blogging and the creation of online communities through free social networking sites such as  I believe either of these are an effective starting point and can serve as a great foundation for you.

Blogging Revisited

I’m always surprised when social networking experts forget to mention Blogging as an important piece of the puzzle. I’m surprised because I believe Blogging is the absolute best social networking tool out there!  I enjoy it for a number of reasons but perhaps the greatest benefit I get from this activity has nothing to do with the number of subscribers or the amount of people who visit my Blog.  Blogging, for me, has created a shift in how I approach my profession.  It has given me a vehicle to express myself creatively and has given me a level of discipline I did not have in the past.  The rest will follow.

This video clip of Tom Peters and Seth Godin helps explain this point far more eloquently than I can.


Is Social Networking Right For Your Business?

Obviously, there’s a lot more to the social networking revolution than Blogging.  The choices appear endless and that’s part of the problem.  How can you make sense of it all?

Be honest, how many of you have created two or three social networking accounts, added a few friends on each and quickly lost steam as you ended up seeing no real value in what you are doing?

I’ve learned the hard way that simply signing up for a Facebook account or getting people to follow you on Twitter doesn’t mean you’re using social networking in a way that will help professionally.  Many marketing efforts and tools, both online and offline, fall on deaf ears not because they aren’t useful but because they’re not linked to a process that’s focused on offering value and building trust.

The video below speaks to the pitfalls of social networking and stresses the value of building real relationships vs. falling for the allure of “fake networking”.  If you’re thinking of leveraging social networking then the ideas offered in this brief clip will be interesting and helpful.




  1. Katherine Gordy Levine  August 18, 2009

    Thank you. I am learning. Have a yes, buts. Yes, all can be a waste of time, but all are tools and if the only tool you have is a hammer, then all you do is hit nails or pry them out. When you are creative you can think of many ways to use a hammer, but it still remains mostly useful for hitting and prying.

    The major networking mantra I hear is you have to give to get and net working is about where you feel most comfortable giving.

    I also think you need the skill of turning talk to action and making that action pay off in the way you want.

    Thank you again for sparking some thoughts.

  2. David Diana  August 18, 2009

    The giving part is perhaps the most powerful form of marketing. If it’s genuine then it is quite powerful for a whole variety of reasons. And I also agree that sometime is a hammer is a hammer. If you accept that it will help reduce frustration! Thanks again for your comments. Very thought provoking!

# #