FEED ME – The Growing Use of Feeds

J0407144I thought it would be good to take a minute and talk about the growing use of feeds in pharma communications.

I have commented in the past about feeds – for example that the U.S. is growing in its acclimation of use of feeds well before EuropeThe FDA issues its press releases by RSS feeds as do a number of pharmaceutical companies as well as PhRMA, while some pharma companies are still wondering what RSS feeds even do. 

RSS Feeds stands for Really Simple Syndication.  You can gather feeds from important organizations that issue press releases by feeds and get them delivered to your own sort of "newspaper" that you set up.  Excellent resources are set up for this – you can use Pageflakes or Googlereader, or other feed aggregators that pull all the feeds you are interested in and put them in one spot for you to view.  It is much more efficient to receive the feeds on your "home page" for feeds than to get 10 emails with news.  Hence, the really simple part. 

It is particularly useful for investors who may want to track all of the companies that they invest in and see what is going on.  They have a page to turn to, rather than have to sift through emails, or worse, visit each Web site that a company has to see what the latest news is about the company.

One thing that I’ve noticed is the greater use of feeds here at Eye on FDA.  I have two subscription options.  You can subscribe to this blog by email, or you can subscribe by a feed, which will place the posting on your aggregator (Pageflakes, Google or some other that you choose).  When I first started the subscription service back in June of last year, about 80% of subscribers chose email. 

Today, about half of all daily subscribers (and we are nearing the 1000 mark!) are going the email route, while half choose feeds.  It is a small indication, but one not lost on me, that readers are gravitating to feeds and becoming more sophisticated in their readership of blogs and gathering news. 

Ten years ago, to get your news, you read the newspaper or watched the news on television.  Today, you can gather the news you want through feeds.  News, in short, is becoming more and more personalized.

That makes it all the more incumbent for pharma, which has been the tortoise in the race to embrace new media, to start thinking about the hare that is so far ahead.  In short, get with it.  As an industry, you have catching up to do – not only to put your news out on feeds, but to be gathering your own news on feeds. 

Communicators in pharma industries not using feeds to gather news on competitors and regulatory developments are like people who are still using faxes to send press releases. 

Hey, don’t feel bad about it.  The word "blog" still shows up in my Microsoft spell check!  But still, get with it – you are falling behind.  Get fed!

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