I have lately had a hankering to be putting together more data bases that let me see more of what is going on in the world. I like databases. I like asking questions and getting answers. Data bases are, I think, like looking in a microscope. You see something very differently when you look at it up close than you can from far away.
One of the databases I have been working on is one that will be an on-going work in progress that focuses on the activities of pharma and social media. Accordingly I have entered into a data base every pharma Twitter feed, Facebook page, YouTube channel and Pintrest page of which I am aware. I have not yet entered into it every blog or Google+ page. But so far, I have identified over 200 pharma Twitter feeds, over 150 pharma sponsored or funded YouTube channels, and over 100 Facebook pages.
The fields that I am tracking in the data base include a number of characteristics – what type of page is it – corporate, product, disease/conditions specific (and if so, what disease?) and things like that. This can be very handy for assessing the social media landscape in a variety of ways. And one of the fields tracked for the Twitter feeds is the country of origin for the feed – which gets me to my point – but in a minute.
On my own Eye on FDA twitter feed, one thing that I have noticed when looking at my statistics is that (1) there have been some growth spurts in the number of my followers lately, and (2) that much of the growth seems to be happening from outside the U.S. I know this because I have watched the country of origin profile of followers who end up clicking on a link in one of my tweets and noticed that the proportionate number of those from the U.S. has been shrinking over time. While it used to be that around three-fourths of my clickers were U.S., it is now just over half.
As state above, I have identified over 200 pharma Twitter feeds and I assumed that most of them would be U.S.-based. On doing a sort on country-of-origin, however, I found that while the U.S. had a plurality of the feeds (89), it did not have the majority of feeds. The country with the second largest number of pharma-sponsored Twitter feeds was Germany (20).
Even though the database is probably lacking many existing social media efforts, there are enough to give me a good lay of the land.
Another of the fields being tracked is the number of followers each feed has – a time consuming field as it changes and needs to be updated to be accurate. The last numbers were tracked in the summer of 2012, but reveal that of the five largest pharma/device sponsored Twitter feeds, only the top two are U.S. based, followed by one in Korea, one in Switzerland and one in the U.K.
And so, you see, this is why I like data bases. They open my eyes and challenge my suppositions with real data….and I did not realize that pharma and tweets were so much a foreign affair.