Hospital marks its centennial with a social media splash

A Seattle institution goes big on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

A Seattle institution goes big on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Swedish Medical Center wanted to celebrate its 100th birthday in a splashy way.

But the hospital’s communications director, Melissa Tizon, knew that sending out birthday invitations to the press wouldn’t get any RSVPs.

“We wanted to get the media’s attention, but we knew the media wasn’t just going to come out,” Tizon said at the recent Ragan Communications-Kaiser Permanente Healthcare Summit.

One communication staff member joked, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get ABBA reunited for our birthday?”

Far-fetched as it seemed to get the Swedish pop band back together, the whimsical notion sparked a more practical idea. Tizon decided to organize a flash mob to “Dancing Queen.”

Tizon realized this would be way more fun than blowing out birthday candles, but she wanted to keep it a secret. If she told too many people—including the hospital CEO—the idea might get quashed.

So, on the Seattle hospital’s anniversary, employees were invited to gather for a group birthday photo. Little did they know that 10 dancers were embedded within the group, and, on cue, they started dancing.

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