Health Is Social

Infusing Social Media into Healthcare

Facebook Is A Mess

Facebook is a mess. It really is. All the insane features that always change. No security – at any moment, data can just vanish – or appear in places it shouldn’t.

The worst part: for all of the features and filters and options, you have no control of, or equity in, any of the design. Every.single.Page is the same – hundreds of millions of the exact same cargo boxes of Walmart blue and white and Lucinda.

One long train heading for a wreck, and we’re either the passengers or the innocent bystanders.

I  hope that there is never ever going to be a “Facebook for Healthcare”. You think Healthcare is a mess now? Imagine what it will look like as it gets Facebookitized.

Imagine Love having to conform to Facebook’s algorithmic architectures.

Please do not make the mistake of thinking that these are “just tools” – they are forces in this world: their impact is completely independent of their content.

When people talk about Facebook or Twitter on TV, the radio, at the supermarket – you don’t usually hear about the content in those media, do you? You hear talk of the media themselves.

We are at an important moment in the evolution of technology – and the way it’s packaged (Facebook is a package: you are meant to fit into it, not the other way around). Well-designed technology goes with the grain of human endeavor, not against it.

We shouldn’t try to figure out how to fit Healthcare into social media. It’s supposed to be the other way around.

After this Social Media phase we’re in right now – and it will end, even if it takes a decade or more – we will come to appreciate the beauty of owning the only thing we can own and design on the web: our own domains – and even that is a tenuous proposition.

Yes, having different spokes and nodes are important – I get all that – but this, what’s being built under our passive consent, this is madness.

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  • Great article, I ditched facebook a long time ago purely for the nonsense people talk about on it. Facebook is fine within its context of the people who use it but put facebook anywhere else and it will be doomed to fail.

    On the social healthcare issue, I am not sure how the US is coping but in the UK there is a real shift in healthcare. Things are becoming a lot more community based. People helping each other with small healthcare issues, granted the bigger health issues are left to the professionals but smaller conditions can be managed with people helping each other.

    The next big thing in social healthcare will be bigger than we can imagine, it wont be a facebook style online venture, it will be monitored properly and also sponsored by the biggest healthcare professionals in the world.

    Our NHS is changing over here and there are plenty of great entrepreneurs out there who will make this happen within this new decade and plenty of people who will invest big money in businesses like this.

    • Good perspective in this article but I think the author is too quick to rush to judgement – Facebook is a model and models can change. Healthcare will almost certainly impact social media in ways we can’t yet foresee.

      Mark, you mention the nonsense we see on Facebook and I agree – but isn’t that the point? Somebody values that stuff.

      Same with healthcare: advice, persuasion, behavior change, patient compliance – this is what we “professionals” have trouble with.

      We’ve all got book smarts and technical skills and we can TELL people to quit smoking and lose weight all day long and our impact is fairly small.

      If inexpensive, user-generated content can have at least as big an impact on the big drivers of health outcomes – that is, our lifestyle choices – as all the expensive, centrally-controlled healthcare apparatus then social media a good bet for the money.

      Tim Richardson, PT
      http://www.PhysicalTherapyDiagnosis.com

      • I’m not rushing to judgement, Tim. I see your point, but the Facebook model isn’t what’s needed in Healthcare.