An Ode to Ed

A good friend of mine, and a member of our Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory Board, is being honored today in Las Vegas, as he is being inducted into the Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame.

In discussing this honor with another good friend, she suggested that this would be an appropriate time to break out my poetic talents, which I generally reserve for wedding anniversaries.

Update: In the “give credit where it’s due department” I want to highlight the role Meredith Gould played in all of this. She’s the one who suggested to me (so I could suggest to Ed) that the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media take over management of Ed’s list. And she’s the one who suggested the poetic approach, given that my wife Lisa had shared with her one of my early compositions. So…pretty much every good idea I get comes from either Lisa or Meredith.

I concurred that with the magnitude of the honor being bestowed – and more importantly the contributions of the recipient – this is a time for rhyme. So, here is my…

Ode to Ed

I’m glad today to help bring praise
to a good friend who has spent his days
and nights for the last several years
allaying the unfounded fears
of supervisors and CEOs
and other social networking foes
whose attitudes sometimes seem bitter
against the use of Facebook and Twitter.

That healthcare hero of course is Ed
No surname needed, for once you’ve said
his first name in the health care space
It brings to mind the kindly face,
the smiling, friendly profile pic
that eerily resembles Old Saint Nick.

Like Santa, Ed’s brought lots of joys
by showing that these tools aren’t toys
that YouTube and LinkedIn can be good
in health care, and so hospitals should
make access open for their workers
and not assume they all are shirkers.
But wait! I mustn’t get ahead
of the real reason we are honoring Ed!

In the early days of 2009
after hearing many colleagues whine
that hospital leaders would not engage
the thought of starting a Facebook page
Ed knew that it would be a fait a-
commpli if he gathered data
if he could show that rivals and peers
had overcome initial fears
he knew the foes would change their minds
to keep from being left behind.

So Ed created his compilation
of hospitals across the nation
with Facebook pages or Twitter accounts
we watched the numbers steadily mount.
He overcame fear, uncertainty and doubt
with the greater fear of being left out.

‘Twas a labor of love, a manual one
until Ed decided ‘twas no longer fun.
So he vowed he would muster just one more drive
to update the list and create an archive.

But then I suggested that it would be great
if we picked up what he had begun to curate
and made it become a permanent resource
(acknowledging Ed’s founding role, of course),
That we would provide programming and training
so many others could help in maintaining
instead of Ed as an Army of One
by using crowd-sourcing the job would get done.

Ed quickly agreed, in response to my note
because it would give him the time to devote
to leading a task force that we had begun
(a Social Media Health Network one)
to stop the blocking of social sites
Ed wanted to help lead the fight
for access to these powerful tools
by healthcare workers, with proper rules
to maximize the benefits
for patients and the system. It’s…

been just four years since we first tweeted
and in Baltimore he greeted
me with warmth, as a gracious host
he truly is one of the most
Deserving of having his name
In the Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame.

While earlier I did declare
that since all already were aware
of Ed’s amazing gifts to us
his surname seemed superfluous.

But then I thought: What if some Doc
had spent four years beneath a rock?
Or for two decades like Rip Van Winkle
had been asleep? They’d have no inkle
of who it is that we acclaim:
Ed Bennett is our good friend’s name.

Please join me in sharing your congratulations through the comments below, and by tweeting this post with your greetings to Ed.

P.S. Mayo Clinic will be honored as an organization, too. But I’ll let someone else do that poem.

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

8 thoughts on “An Ode to Ed”

  1. Congratulations, Ed! And nicely done, Lee …. not everyone can get away with rhyming “fait a-” and “data”!

  2. Congratulations Ed! I’ve used his website on numerous occasions over the past few years, to help twist the arms of healthcare organizations that it’s okay to use social media.

    And nice job on the poem Lee!

  3. Lee,
    Thank you for honoring Ed in such a creative fashion! Coming from the corporate world into hospitals two years ago you can imagine how happy I was to be greeted by Ed on my first visit to Baltimore and know we were going to be working together. We are so proud of him and all that he has accomplished.

  4. I affectionately refer to Ed as the grandfather of social media. He certainly looks the part. Thanks, Ed, for leading the way. You have done much good. And thanks, Lee, for entertaining us with your poetic skills. Nice tribute.

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