Blogging can reduce isolation, says Robbo the remote pharmacist

Full Frontal - Micallef Pharmacy Sketch

The Full Frontal Micallef Pharmacy Sketch, it’s all part of the job, says Robbo (Image from the Youtube video)

Blogging as a business marketing tool is often used to create content that cuts through the clutter of competitors and distractions.

But what about as a tool to bridge the gap between an isolated community or business and far flung readers or customers?

Enter Robbo.

Robbo is a pharmacist living and working in a remote indigenous community in outback Australia, about 150kms from the NT/SA/WA border.

In a random tweet last night, Robbo tweets as @bitethedust, he caught my attention with a link to The Life Of A Retail Pharmacist (see the video below).

It was just a link to a comedy sketch by the Full Frontal crew from a number of years ago. According to Robbo, it is pretty accurate portrayal of the unsatisfactory part of the job of being a pharmacist.

What struck me though, was that while Robbo clearly enjoys life in this remote community, he can also dip into conversations and relationships with people worldwide through his personal endeavour to share thoughts and observations of life and pharmaceuticals from a place unlikely to be a trending topic in social media circles.

This is someone who ‘gets it’, who understands that social media and social networking can be tools for engagement and discovery.

But there is something else that Robbo’s work does that highlights a change underway in our society.

I haven’t got time for that nonsense

When I first started travelling throughout the Northern Territory in 2008, meeting with small businesses and organisations and exposing them to some business-savvy ways of using online tools, I had to invest a good portion of time in just dealing with the reaction from ‘fair dinkum’ Aussies that they didn’t have time for that nonsense.

In many ways, I applaud that initial reaction. The last thing you want to do is let some fast-talking outsider swing by and get you sharing and chatting just because he says so. Heaven forbid. There are enough SEO hawkers, slippery Google AdWord ‘official’ experts and domain name shonksters doing the rounds and preying on small businesses to make that the CORRECT reaction. At least at first.

However, most of the reaction is simply ‘thinking noise’ as our brains digest what is possible through these tools.

In the end, they all boil down to PEOPLE being interesting and interested in each other and the products and services they need to enrich their lives. And 1,685 people think Robbo enriches theirs – that’s how many followers he has on Twitter. Imagine what you could do with that many prospective customers/clients following you on Twitter because you are illuminating a part of their lives or businesses where they might need your expertise or services.

I encourage you to visit Robbo’s blog and find out more about him, his name, and his areas of interest. The two main ones are:

  • Other health professionals – he hopes they will find [his blog] interesting and think of a career in remote health. Pharmacy students have to do a rural placement and I am probably the most “rural” pharmacist in Australia. Hopefully they can gain some knowledge from this blog about the issues surrounding remote health.
  • For the general reader hopefully it can show what pharmacists are or can be involved in other than just standing up behind a counter (where they do make sure the drug and dose are safe for you amongst other things in that “10 minute script”).

I know we are all busy. But maybe behind the business imperatives for planning and using social media, there can still be a human imperative for hearing the voices of others and using their stories to help shed light on our own.


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