Health Is Social

Infusing Social Media into Healthcare

Bye-bye Foursquare. Bye-bye Gowalla.  …In fact Bye-bye to pretty much every goofy Web service listed here.

  • Google is a search engine. People search for things.
  • Youtube is a search engine. People search for things to watch.
  • Facebook is the Walmart of Social Media. Get used to it.
  • LinkedIn is a rolodex for business people who aren’t on Twitter.
  • Twitter is 21st Century telephony. Pick up the phone, hang up and get back to work.
  • Blogs are for people who aren’t addicted to Twitter, who know about SEO and produce most of the content on all the places listed above.

Email is also a critical component – regardless of what some may think.

That’s pretty much it.

Is this an extremely over-simplified statement of today’s Web? Yep, it sure is. And in today’s Attention Me-conomy, you need simple, simple, simple.

Facebook, Google, and some other things like Youtube and occasional hits off the Tweet Pipe are where you probably need to do you most of your public art.

Facebook and Google: they’re it…for probably the next five years. Ten years from now? Who knows: technologies are moving way to fast to predict that.

I’ve been watching social networks and media for 32 years (no joke). No social network has thus far sustained itself. They almost always decay and fall apart.

Facebook is the exception – it broke the sound barrier. And nobody’s going to take it out of the sky anytime soon.

A decade ago, most people thought Google was just another search engine – that search engines were transient things. They were wrong. Same logic with Facebook. Except Facebook has WAY more data about people and their relationships with each other. And it now has mobile and geolocation – and it’ll continue to own the things that matter to most markers in the coming years.

Google and Facebook will go to war (it’s already going on), and the war will go on. That may or may not be an opportunity for upstarts. But we won’t see any big players emerge anytime soon.

Oh, and pay attention to Apple too. They have $33 Billion in Cash, Cash Equivalents and Marketable Securities and a leader who has seamlessly morphed his business from computers to music to mobile phones. Not a man to dismiss anytime soon. (Repeat: it has $33 Billion in liquid assets. Not paper valuation like Facebook or Twitter. Apple has raw purchasing power.) But as far as social presence, that’s a few years off before it’s determined what role they may have in all this. Same for Microsoft (lol).

And Twitter? Oh, Twitter – my sweet little bird – Twitter will continue to grow and grow until it becomes….Twitter. It’ll be around in some form or another. People run on Dopamine, and Twitter’s got its unique way to supply that drug.

Personally, I wish people valued art and science and nature and having a genuinely good time meeting each other. But that’s me.

The reality is: most people are happy being consumers. And that’s exactly who Facebook is building its mart for.

If you don’t like that, then take advantage of the Web and build your own small and focused community of five or ten or one hundred people. Really – you can start one today.

People will disagree with me about what I’m saying here. That’s OK. I want that. In the process I’ll learn a lot from them, because I have no idea what I’m talking about.

But here’s the thing: for people actually doing this stuff in a business context, resources are limited and decisions about allocation are vital.

You don’t have to be everywhere to be somewhere.

Wherever you are, just be really good at it.

@PhilBaumann –        @HealthIsSocial

UPDATE: Regina Holliday in the comments below points out that Flickr is another resource. I agree and for organizations which take pictures of events, etc. should really fold Flickr into their presence.

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  • …And just to emphasize for regular readers, I’m not saying other services don’t matter or shouldn’t be explored. The Web is evolving. That’s obvious.

    The point here goes to the matter of *resources* – time, labor, attention, strategic focus, etc.

  • Phil, I do agree with what you outline here. I, too, prefer Twitter to Facebook,but you can’t argue with FB’s reach and power. The interesting piece with FB is how those of us in health care can use it effectively while protecting patient information and confidentiality. (not to be confused with protecting the provider’s personal information, which I think is an easier problem to solve.) Of course, by the time we sort all of this out, the platforms will change and evolve. I think we all need to get better at “thinking on our feet” and adjusting to new technologies ongoing, rather than waiting and watching to determine if we should bother at all.

    • Absolutely – you just hit it, Susan with:

      “…we all need to get better at “thinking on our feet” and adjusting to new technologies ongoing…”

      In my view, I’m not too sure Facebook is a terribly great place for healthcare. There are uses (and I’ll have to post something about what those are).

      But for the deeper issues for patients to explore, Facebook isn’t ready for prime time (it may in the future, but I don’t see that anytime soon).

      Phil

  • Regina Holliday

    Dear Phil,
    Nice post but you forgot about Flickr. If you are searching images Flickr often trumps Google…

    • Phil Baumann

      Hi Regina

      I actually thought about Flickr, but didn’t want to go down the slipper-slope of listing a ton of services.

      But yes: Flickr is a great search engine and gets tons of pageviews.

      The primary issue with Flickr, like Youtube, is getting people to act.

      It’s definitely a service to use for orgs/people who actively take pictures – in fact,it’s probably the first place they should be placed.

      Phil

      • Hi Phil and Regina.

        As always, I am learning as I read Phil’s posts.

        I think the unlimited potential of Flickr has been overlooked as a social media tool. If you think about it, Flicker can be used for any service, product, subject, idea, blog, hospital………..infinitum.

        Anything you take a photograph of – upload and attach a tag, will find the person you are looking for and at the same time your target has found what he was looking for.

        Most do not realize that any photograph you post – from a carburetor part to the location of the third intercostal space
        can have a link to anywhere. The potential use is limitless and all the photos are indexed by Google.

        This is a photograph of the #RNchat logo I posted September 25th, with links (146 views)
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/nursingpins/5023743779/

        I have posted 1,018 photos with 162,137 views (a link on each one)

        Just something else to think about.
        Vernon @nursingpins

  • Much truth here, and I appreciate your open attitude to the shelf life of technology. Too often, new programs are either dismissed as “dead man walking” or “hottest new thing,” while established stuff can seem invisible. I think all the major players you’ve named will continue to be around in one form or another, I just don’t think they will necessarily be in the same form as we currently know them, especially considering what new legislation may do to social networking business models (i.e. Facebook).

  • Phil,
    As many folks here, I also agree with the majority of what you have said. However, I do think the relationship between blogs and Twitter is a unique one that is interlinked. You stated, “Blogs are for people who aren’t addicted to Twitter, who know about SEO and produce most of the content on all the places listed above.” I sure know a heck of a lot of people who blog and use Twitter extensively (I am one of them).

    Many people use Twitter as a launching point for their blogs. The ability to post your blog link on Twitter directed to a specialized group (using hashtags) has given enormous potential and reach to minor individuals with major thoughts.

    Great post, and I appreciate the idea that you are expecting people to disagree with you. It’s a great opportunity to learn more and be open to new ideas, which we all need to do.

    • Phil Baumann

      Hi Karen

      I totally agree with you – and that’s the thing: blogging is where you can tie all of the other things together.

      …And you do know that my tone in the post is being a wee bit snarky, right? 😉

  • Oh yes, I get the snark factor. 🙂 I fully enjoy and support it, especially in the midst of heavy volumes of posts about social media.

  • I love this post. Style + content + snarkiness = great reading IMHO.

    Thanks,
    -Aaron