25DCPsMay 24-30, 2010United Kingdom Edition CAD/CAM SYSTEMS | INSTRUMENTS | HYGIENE SYSTEMS | TREATMENT CENTRES | IMAGING SYSTEMS C3+ /C4+ /C5+ – GREATER COMFORT FOR YOU AND YOUR PATIENTS Designed for dentists, by dentists. Take advantage of exceptional ergonomics and stylish design at affordable prices. Enjoy every day. With Sirona. T h e D e n t a l C o m p a n y Telephone: 0845 0715040 e-mail: info@sironadental.co.uk www.sironadental.co.uk Sirona Dental Systems Ltd., 7 Devonhurst Place, Heathfield Terrace, Chiswick, London W4 4JD I magine if you will, a time with only three analogue television channels that fin- ished before midnight; no mo- bile phones and no home com- puters. The World Wide Web was unheard of. Letters had to be posted. That, ladies and gentle- men, was my childhood. Getting technical If you had told me I would be on Facebook this time last year, I would have laughed, told you I didn’t have enough time and re- fused to consider it. I have only learned to predictive text last year, thanks to the patience of a 14-year-old patient. Although I still can’t get to grips with text shorthand much to the amuse- ment of my friends. They say I send books not texts. Thankfully, our wonder- ful administrator (also my hus- band) set up a profile for me as the company and a page for us as CPDforDCP Ltd on Facebook last year. Six months on, we have more than 1,900 friends and it has allowed us to interact with dental professionals all over the country and produce courses tailored to their needs. Some of our courses are never advertised off Facebook, as they fill up di- rect from there. Listening to our friends in the business and being part of groups, has given us an insight into which direction we should be heading in our 2011 planning. All of this from the comfort of my own living room with a cup of tea in hand. Information and answers There is a lot of instant informa- tion at your fingertips and if you don’t know where to look, you can ask one of the many groups such as Dental Nurse Network or UK Dental Hygienists, or some- one invariably knows the answer or connects you to someone or some business who does. Many forms of CPD (free and other- wise) are recommended and links posted to these are avail- able to everyone. I have had conversations with oral surgeons from Israel, special needs’ dentists from Ger- many and found a lot of great articles through the group’s sug- gestions; while business coaches offer advice, and other business- es support each other. Perhaps I am starting to make it sound like a commune, but that is because that is what it reminds me of. There is a social side to this too, providing an environment for friendly debate and discus- sion, and an occasional moan too. There are a lot of fun groups with the one that managed to get Rage against the machine to 2009 christmas number one showing the power of this site. Not just the little people The British Dental Health Foun- dation said this in a recent press release: ‘Since introdu- cing the online strategy a little over two months ago, the Brit- ish Dental Health Foundation has seen traffic to its website in- crease by more than a staggering 35 per cent.’ The Foundation posts a va- riety of oral health advice, den- tal research and industry–based news. Chief Executive of the Brit- ish Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, has been aston- ished by the speed of its success. Dr Carter said: “When we first stepped into social network- ing we hoped that it would bring us closer to the public as another means of getting across good oral health messages. “Our plan was long term, to grow a steady following and slowly increase traffic to the website but its growth has al- ready surpassed all that we imagined. We trebled our three month target within the first three weeks and these figures have continued to rise. “We are making new rela- tionships with people of all ages, from all backgrounds on a daily basis – we really have fallen on our feet with it.” Not just for professionals There are many dental practic- es now on Facebook with their patients as group members, us- ing it to share newsletters, pro- mote the practice and interact in a positive way to develop new business. Companies can talk to them direct and a lot of business is done through Facebook and other social methods. And not just Facebook There are many forms of social networking which work in simi- lar ways, Twitter (too scared; might like it too much and start boring you all with my food choices and colour of socks: less is more), YouTube (watch out as we are on our way!), my space and many others. There are even companies that will manage these pages for you and your company so you can access your clients in as many different ways as possible, by text, tweet Facebook or email; provid- ing convenience and a form of communication suited to the client’s needs. Time to come on board So come on, join the social revo- lution in some form whether to meet colleagues and peers, connect with your existing cli- ents or find new clients, find information and CPD, or just to see what all the fuss is about. Find me, Mhari Coxon on Fa- cebook and, ever at the fore- front, find Dental Tribune on there too! DT The social revolution Social networking sites offer a good way to share newsletters, promote the practice and interact in a positive way to develop new business, says Mhari Coxon, who urges you to get with the times About the author Mhari Coxon is a dental hygienist practising in Cen- tral London. She is chairman of the London British So- ciety of Dental Hy- giene and Therapy (BSDHT) regional group and is on the publications com- mittee of its journal, Dental Health. She is also clinical director of CPDforDCP, which provides CPD courses for all DCPs. To contact her, email mhari. coxon@cpdfordcp.co.uk. Social networking is changing the way people communicate

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