Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Social Infusion at #NHF2012

Social Infusion is "where online friends become offline friends." Hundreds of people in the bleeding disorders community interact with one another online through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and more, but many have never met face-to-face. With the National Hemophilia Foundation's 2012 Annual Meeting (aka #NHF2012) drawing thousands of community members to Orlando, this was a great opportunity for those "online friends" to get together and take those online friendships offline.

The Irish are renowned for knowing how to throw a party, so this year's venue was Raglan Road Irish Pub, located in the Pleasure Island section of Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World® resort, just 4 miles from the Orlando World Center Marriott (where the conference was held). The pub, owned and operated by an Irish company, was built entirely in Ireland, then shipped to Orlando. They provided great food, beers and spirits, plus live entertainment featuring Irish-born musicians and dancers. We provided some of the hemophilia community’s most influential social media users and (thanks to our generous sponsors) free drinks, and swag bags that included a shot glass, sunglasses, a clip-on cell phone case, a stylus pen and more. We hosted approximately 100 people, including consumers, NHF staff, HFA board members, pharmacy owners, mobile health developers, pharma marketers and the producers of Stop the Bleeding! A comedic web series.

The event started out a bit crazy. We were supposed to get in the room at 8:30 pm to set up, but that didn't happen, so at 9 pm there was a rush to set up the registration table and distribute lanyards & swag bags to attendees who were waiting. Thankfully, several people offered to help and we got everyone settled in quickly. I was impressed to see many of the NHF staff/employees in the room. I know how busy they were and how hard they had been working to make #NHF2012 great. I appreciate their support when they could have been catching up on much-needed sleep.

Like any good party, it seemed to get more wild and fun as the night went on. Everyone transitioned from sitting and having friendly conversations to chasing down new friends to pose for photos modeling the fashionable eyewear provided by My Blood Brothers in the swag bags. Other items included: MicroHealth t-shirts, Social Infusion shot glasses, Accurate Rx stylus pens and Hemophilia Scholarships phone cases.

Overall, I think everyone had a great time. This event is not meant to educate or entertain people. It's simply an opportunity to come out to a social setting, meet and mingle with hemo friends from all over the U.S. and to leave with a deeper connection to the community and its members.

Please take a moment to thank our sponsors who generously support the online hemophilia community and made Social Infusion possible this year, by connecting with them online for more great content, including more photos from Social Infusion (hint: posting this week).

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