Dr. Alan Glazier
Throughout history there have been numerous instances where accidents churned out businesses and technologies that ended up changing the world. ODs on Facebook is not one of them, but it was created by accident. It could have just as easily been named "the Accidental OD". I love telling the story.
In the early days of Facebook, one was able to organize friends into "groups". As the popularity of groups diminished in favor of the new Facebook "pages", the functions of the groups changed. As an enthusiastic observer of the advent of Google+, I was intrigued by how easily contacts are grouped into separate circles based on any criteria the user decides. I decided I wanted to try and see if Facebook could offer a similar function, so I "grouped" the OD colleagues I was connected to on Facebook into what I considered to be my own list. I called it "ODs on Facebook", a name intended for my reference alone, and started shifting Facebook connections into this new group.
Unbeknownst to me, one of the new features of Facebook groups is that they inform everyone that they have been added to a group. Needless to say, this hadn’t been my intention. Later that day my Facebook feed was clogged with messages from OD connections such as "this is such a great idea" and "this could be an interesting and informative group" and many other positive messages. I needed another page and group to manage like I needed a hole in the head.
Then I sat back to think about it. I decided that this could be fun, and maybe it could be novel and different. I participated in several discussion threads like OptCom and ODWire; maybe I could come up with a new angle. Based on comments I had heard or seen regarding other OD social networks, I created guidelines for publishing, hoping to keep off comments of political nature, job advertisements and other things that I knew annoyed people participating in other OD threads. I also decided to not limit the group to ODs, but to anyone involved in the industry. I reasoned that in order to be a true "social" network, it should be open to anyone who can add value to the "conversation", which is supposed to remain optometric and may include some "good and welfare" comments as well. So far so good - no spam or errant comments from non-industry folk.
That was September 9th. Since then there have been literally hundreds of posts and even more comments and "likes". Thought leaders like Jerry Hayes, Neil Gailmard, Gary Gerber, Al Cleinman, Richard Hom and a host of others regularly chime in and the page has really turned into a true social media phenomenon- over 500 members and growing rapidly. I have really enjoyed sparking conversation, learning from my fellow ODs and having the fun that comes from being social within my profession. It has also been rewarding to hear the positive feedback I've received from colleagues and I am glad I was able to create something that brings value to their professional life. Long live the "accidental OD" aka "ODs on Facebook". I invite you all to join in the fun! Request an invite and be sure to connect with me personally as well.
Dr. Alan Glazier is an optometrist and Founder/CEO of a large private optometric practice in the Rockville, Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. January 1, 2007 Dr. Glazier boldly eliminated all traditional marketing in his practice in favor of social media and search engine optimization with tremendous success. Dr. Glazier is author of "Searchial Marketing: How Social Media Drives Search Optimization in Web 3.0, which describes his marketing journey. He is a frequent lecturer on social and new media and blogs professionally at SightNation.com and for Jobson’s “Click” e-Newsletter publication. He moderates "ODs on Facebook", an incredibly active discussion for eye care professionals. He has been interviewed by Entrepreneur magazine, on Blog Talk Radio and by NetworkSolutions regarding his cutting edge use of social media. Dr. Glazier has been selected by the readers of Review of Optometric Business and Vision Monday as a “2011 Optometric Business Innovator" for his use of digital media. Dr. Glazier won the 2010 award for “Best Use of Twitter” awarded by the Northern Virginia Technology Council. His practice, Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care won runner up in the Small Business Tech Summit 2011 for their pioneering efforts in using social technologies to market their practice and was recipient of the first annual D.A.R.E. “Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Web” award conceived to honor daring optical retailers and dispensers with cutting edge online marketing efforts. Dr. Glazier is inventor on 4 issued patents and 9 pending patents in computer science and ophthalmology, and is CEO of Vision Solutions Technologies, Inc., a company advancing a novel accommodating intraocular lens that treats post-cataract presbyopia and low vision.