Social media has altered just about everything about how we connect with others. While the established Dunbar’s social hypothesis suggests that the human brain can only form stable attachments with 150 individuals at one time, social media demands so much more of us, connecting us to hundreds, if not thousands, of others across a myriad of platforms. But a new era of ‘Psychologically Responsible Social Media,’ may be changing the tide and this could be good news for health communicators everywhere. Users will creep slowly back to 150 meaningful connections by seeking out private social media spaces where they can be themselves. So what is this new trend, and how did we get here?

The Genesis

During the pandemic, social media usage hit an all-time high. We had more time on our hands and less in-person interaction with others. Naturally, people sought out entertainment and connection online, but there were a handful of devastating consequences.

Heavy social media users reported strong feelings of loneliness. Others struggled with comparing themselves to others on social media, with many reporting feeling lower self-esteem as a result. This added turmoil forced users into different corners of the internet, with different features that didn’t impact them so negatively.

The Tipping Point

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter seems to have brought on a storm of innovation across the social media landscape. With a social media giant like Twitter going through a crisis of faith, other platforms have had the opportunity to take their place as leaders, while giving newcomers the opportunity to sprout.

Established platforms such as LinkedIn have benefited from this shakeup, however it’s the smaller more nuanced platforms that have most caught my attention. These niche platforms will be the future of social engagement and are perfectly primed for healthcare.

The New Era

In the ‘Psychologically Responsible Era of Social Media,’ platforms are leaning toward genuine social interaction. They aren’t looking for reach or likes, but instead seeking out smaller spaces where they can have intimate connections with their community. Users are in pursuit of privacy and safety, and new platforms are serving it up.

Platforms like Community, Discord and Substack have begun to flourish during this time because they offer just that, an intimate discussion for a small group of trusted individuals. A platform like Community allows individuals to curate their social engagement through SMS, reaching their most loyal followers in a more personal way. Substack allows individuals to share their content through curated newsletters, allowing for authentic engagement without any of the stressors of more mass market social platforms.

What This Means

These new platforms allow us to move further down the funnel than ever before. Whereas legacy platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow us to spread broad-based awareness across social media, these more intimate spaces lend themselves more to engagement and conversion. This means we’ll be able to reach a more selective audience with more impactful messaging. What we will lose in scale we’ll make up for in targeting. In the end, social programs will garner a higher ROI.

This is especially good news for healthcare where we often have to engage niche patient communities or specific healthcare provider populations, and reach them with deeply personal health messaging. These safer spaces may allow for health conversations to flourish like never before.

Only time will tell how this shakeup will impact our strategies in 2023 and beyond, but one thing is for sure, change is upon us, and it appears to be positive for social media marketers everywhere, especially in healthcare.


Natalia Forsyth, SVP, Head, Digital

Return to office has been a subject whispered – and yelled – about in board rooms since 2022 and there are still no clear answers in sight. While remote work started as a means of keeping employees and their loved ones safe throughout the pandemic, it’s made way for a broader debate surrounding the long-term value of work-from-home vs. in-office work.

There are cases to be made on both sides of the issue. Employees are reluctant to give up the flexibility of working from home. They relish the work-life balance and the lack of an arduous commute. Many stress they have been more productive working from home, and happier too.

And employers place value on in-person collaboration and efficiencies in decision making when working in person as well as opportunities to grow their staff professionally by having face-to-face interactions with leaders.

Many companies are mandating a hybrid model of work where employees will spend 2-4 days in the office per week – but even this compromise is proving challenging for employees to accept.

In the end, whatever your return to office policy is, how you implement it matters. For those of you in the position of steering a return-to-work policy, here are a few points to keep in mind to ensure the messaging is received with clarity and empathy.

Clearly Communicate Your Company Values

Focusing just on the policy will feel punitive to employees. Instead connect to the broader story of the company’s goals and vision, with the return to office policy as an integrated part of the narrative.

Acknowledge the Pros and Cons to Both Sides of the Argument

Don’t be blind to the fact that there are people on both sides of the argument with legitimate points. Use the debate to address questions and concerns and help explain the policy. Providing an open forum for both perspectives is key to cultivating open dialogue.

Ensure Leadership Buy-in and Pull Through

If leaders are not in agreement with the policy and willing to embrace it themselves, it will never work. Full stop. They need to be seen in person and as champions of in-office benefits. Employees follow leaders.

Remain Consistent and be Willing to Adapt

The message needs to be delivered more than once and on more than one platform. If there is an aspect of your policy that needs to be adjusted, don’t be afraid to make that change. The landscape is constantly shifting so be prepared to make changes to existing policies if needed.

Bring Employees Along on the Journey

Shift the focus when surveying employees from “how is your work/life balance?” to “how does it feel when you meet with your colleagues in person?”.  Help them see the advantages of being in the office while still maintaining a level of flexibility whenever possible.

Create Meaningful Connections

Treat teams to coffee vouchers to use when having a 1:1 in person with a team member, host monthly onsite team lunches, etc. It doesn’t have to be big, but a gesture to show appreciation for the return to office will go a long way.

The one thing everyone can agree with is that COVID-19 has changed the workplace forever. By being transparent, compassionate, and consistent, we can help create a workplace that will serve everyone’s needs.


Allison Pishko, SVP, Head, Internal Communications

Green Room Communications last week unveiled its enhanced practice areas and new website, which capture the agency’s heritage, reflect our core values and connect to the work Green Room does for healthcare clients every day.

“When we founded Green Room Communications more than 15 years ago, we aimed to be an agency that gives clients access to the specific expertise and skills needed in the healthcare communications space, in an innovative way,” said Deb Fowler, founding co-partner of Green Room Communications. “We have never been afraid to do things differently, as evidenced by our model that brings together both employees and consultants to deliver customized support to our clients.”

Since launching in 2008, Green Room has grown to more than 40 employees and expanded to a network of more than 300 senior-level communications consultants across the United States and around the globe. As part of the agency’s continued evolution, two new leaders have been added to oversee specialized communications strategy and execution for our clients: Natalia Forsyth, SVP & Head, Digital Strategy and Andrea Tillman, SVP & Head, Consumer & Stakeholder Engagement. Allison Pishko, who has been with the agency since 2014, has been elevated to SVP & Head, Employee Engagement & Culture.

“Sometimes our clients need grit—problem solvers who just know how to step in and get things done. Other times our clients need higher level strategy, creative ideation and counsel to manage pivotal milestones or challenging issues,” said Karen Carolonza, founding co-partner of Green Room Communications. “With the additions of Natalia and Andrea, and the elevation of Allison, we are continuing to build out our robust expertise, while also keeping true to the flexible and scalable model that Green Room Communications has become known for in our industry.”

Learn more about Green Room Communications’ areas of expertise and new look at