By Dr Alan Glazier
I started the community on September 9, 2011. Based on my negative experience participating in the leading OD to OD forum at the time, I felt the industry didn’t need another “OD to OD” forum; it needed something different, more of a community – a place where people would create friendships, share successes, failures, challenges, and learn together. Somewhere that could influence the industry for the good of Optometry; somewhere where hurtful, hateful, vitriolic comments were not welcome nor were discussions that divided the industry.
ODs on Facebook was the first online community to consistently implement guidelines limiting political posts and discouraging hurtful, hateful comments and divisive actions which discourage a community “feel”. Simply put, I sought to create a space where people could share clinical content, practice management content, and have a little fun, but not at anyone else’s expense. Now, 4 out of 5 ODs in the US are members and 78% are considered active if they comment, like or just look at the community without engaging. This level of engagement for a Facebook group is considered “off the charts”.
In addition to becoming a positive community for ODs, it became a way for other members in the industry to have an “ear to the ground” in our conversations so they could better understand our thought process in the clinic and as business owners. Look at it this way – when I’m in clinic, I’m often not engaging with my associate doctors. I engage with the office manager, the opticians, the ophthalmic technicians. As a practice owner I engage with certain company representatives as well, but if they could have access to my thought processes throughout the workday, they would be better able to serve me. If the companies we do business with have access to our collective thought processes, well, the same goes.
Most importantly though, the ODs on Facebook community understands that influence comes with responsibility.
We are responsible for telling the truth about the products we use and our experiences with the companies we do business with. We are responsible for our actions in front of 43,000 others. We are responsible for respecting one another personally and professionally. We are responsible for controlling our reactions to comments and responding professionally. We are responsible for helping our young colleagues and student members learn from our successes and our failures. We are responsible for setting everyone here up for success, not failure and we are responsible for posting within the guidelines.
ODs on Facebook is not about any one person, but about a community that cares about its space.
Together, through our community, we’ve shared information and experiences that contribute to the collective knowledge of our profession. We have influenced, and continue to influence, an entire industry. And hopefully, we have managed to have a laugh from time to time, too. For that, I thank the entire community. Is it perfect? No. But we strive for continual improvement and have backed up our guidelines consistently since day one. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, I encourage you to join our community and take part in the discussion.
If you love the community, you’ll love the other platforms we’ve created.
First, there’s our weekly “best of” newsletter, received by 20,000 of you! To subscribe, email email@example.com.
Next, our website ODsOnFB.com where we share great content, host a large marketplace for used equipment, and more.
Our latest effort is our TV show “The FluoreSCENE” on YouTube, replete with interviews and other featured segments. Check it out here and subscribe for updates.
Questions, comments, or you just want to say ‘hey!’? Connect with me on Facebook – I’m always happy to respond and thank you for your interest in our efforts.
Thank you to Dr Glazier for contributing to Global Insight.
Dr. Glazier is the founder and visionary behind ODs on Facebook and ODsOnFB.com, the eye care industry’s largest and most highly engaged eye care organization online OR off, with over 43,700 members. He is Founder, Shady Grove Eye & Vision Care in Rockville, Maryland and Partner/business development executive in Keplr Vision, enabling Optometrists a medical model legacy exit. In 2011 and again in 2012 he was selected among most influential optometrists in US by the VisionMonday org. In 2015 he was selected among the 50 most influential optometrists ever by peers. In 2016 he was selected among 250 innovators in Optometry – PCON MagazineIn 2017 he was selected as the Maryland Optometrist of the Year. In 2019 he was honored as commencement Speaker – New England College of Optometry and presented a Presidential Medal by the New England College of Optometry.