A few weeks ago I reviewed Sharecare, a healthcare social media platform that I felt really didn’t deliver any true benefit to its users, let alone serve as a good example of a successful healthcare social media example. But while I was researching, I came across Patientslikeme, which was extremely interesting and unique, and from my introduction, seemed like a much better and successful example of how a healthcare social media platform can really change the world of healthcare. In fact, Forbes notes that the site is "producing some of the most compelling clinical data the healthcare industry has ever seen."
The idea of PatientsLikeMe.com came from three MIT engineers, who had a family member/friend diagnosed with a rare disease. They were having trouble finding research, data or even a network of people that shared a common diagnosis. With that, they developed a platform that has now grown and into the site PatientsLikeMe. Within the platform people can connect with others that share a similar diagnosis and track/share their own experience. While this may not sound very interesting, the greatest part is the data mining that happens simultaneously with the sharing. Throughout the whole process, the company is very openly gathering the stories and data to help with the future of these specific diseases – sharing it with researchers, pharma companies, providers, non-profits, etc.
My initial reaction to the idea is that of brilliance, but I wanted to test the platform. It was during this test and review that I continued to be Wowed. Below, I have highlighted some of the key areas of the platform for an in-depth review:
Create a profile:
I started with creating a profile, which took less than 5 minutes and instantly gave me a snapshot on my condition, how many within the network had the condition and a breakdown of other age/gender/diagnosis information.
Part of building your profile included questions about your history with the condition:
Connecting with Patients:
And then after that, I was quickly able to start using the site to my advantage. One of the greatest areas was the "find patients" tab, where you are able to search for patients like you to connect with and to read their stories.
Another area that I found extremely beneficial was the “your treatments” tab that allowed me to enter in my personal treatment information and to read about other treatments reported by other patients of my condition. This area is complete with information from patients on how the medicines made them feel, benefits, drawbacks, etc. In addition to being clear and easy to understand, the network is actually large enough to make the data useful.
Not only did I find the site and the information relevant, useful and beneficial, it also made me want to share my story, which in the social media world, is the ultimate goal. The more that share their story, the greater the chance of making medical progress and advancements. I am truly impressed with PatientsLikeMe.com and believe that the site is one of only a select few of healthcare social media sites that understand how to leverage social media, ultimately making a direct change in the healthcare world.
Justin Timberlake is back, but not just with a new album. He is the biggest supporter and face of a new networking site – the New Myspace. The fresh site is putting itself on the level of Pandora and Spotify and backing away from social networking giants Facebook and Twitter. The New Myspace won’t compete with Facebook anymore; instead it will provide content that can be shared via social media.
The new site is all about music and making connections. Users can connect to and get updates from all their favorite artists. You can even become a number one fan of an artist if you interact with them more than any other user. When connecting to friends, the New Myspace shows your “affinity” or commonalities in music with that person. You can also connect to mixes (playlists other users create), music videos and radios (artist based radios – similar to Pandora.)
It’s also all about being visual. The profile pages allow you to put a very large, high quality cover photo and then as you sideways scroll across, you can see smaller pictures of music, comments and connections. The homepage is also very photo based – giving you the latest news on your connections and the music world.
Other cool features include a large search toolbar that appears no matter where you are on the site and a music player that remains on the bottom of the screen always.
There is no advertising on the site right now, but it will be added over time. What does this mean for marketers in the future? It means connecting to a targeted demographic in a new way. When advertising does come to the site, it won’t be in the same cluttered way as the old site. Options could include pre-roll videos before music videos and branded content (articles, photos, etc.) The advertising would be more integrated in the site and not just a mess of banner ads.
Marketers could target a specific age group with specific interests easily. At first, the New Myspace will definitely skew to a younger demographic, but also might attract the original Myspace users who are a little older. As time goes on, more and more people of all ages will become users. You can narrow down who to target by what music they listen to and what they list as their interests – similar to Facebook.
Pandora advertising is taking off and the New Myspace could follow suit. Do you see yourself joining the New Myspace? Or more importantly, can you see yourself advertising on it?
It’s always been tough getting Medicaid moms to their prenatal and well–baby visits. Which is why UnitedHealth’s new game, called Baby Blocks, is a great idea. When moms attend prenatal and well-baby check-ups (which is easier said than done), they get to unlock “blocks” in the game. And voila, they are rewarded with gift cards for much-needed baby related stuff. Like maternity clothes, diaper bags and baby apparel. Pretty spot on for this younger, low-income, yet gaming-savvy, target. And it seems to be working, as 2296 members used the Baby Blocks pilot in 2012, logging 7098 prenatal appointments (an average of 3.1 prenatal blocks per member).
The rise of healthcare gamification can be attributed to the rise in smartphone and social media use and related desire for engagement. “Using motivational techniques from games is part of it, as is creating engaging experiences for people,” says Kevin Werbach, Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics. In the Pew Future of Gamification report, neuroscientists claim that "interactive design elements can cause feel-good chemical reactions and in certain situations can improve learning, participation and motivation."
That’s the intent behind HopeLab’s Re-Mission, a video game developed specifically for adolescents and young adults with cancer. Nanobot, Roxxi, travels through fictional cancer patients destroying cancer cells, battling infections and managing side effects associated with cancer and cancer treatment. Research shows the game has been an effective tool for young cancer patients, now distributed to over 185,000 patients worldwide.
A related tool worth applauding is the pain diary app, called The Pain Squad, developed by The Hospital for Sick Children. This innovation was designed to help pediatric cancer patients track and address their pain. How intense it is, how long it lasts, where it hurts, how it impacts their mood and daily activities, and what helps to treat it. Since inadequate assessment and patient reluctance to report pain are the biggest barriers in pain treatment, the goal is to make it easier for kids to track their symptoms by using technology that’s fun and familiar. And the hope is better pain management and quality of life for these youths.
It seems in many cases the ramification of gamification in healthcare is improved health status. Let us know if you have any favorite healthcare games or apps that are helping people.
As one of the digital thought leaders at Brogan & Partners, I was excited to attend this year's SXSW conference and see where the future of digital design was heading. Often, I feel like the "usability police" and for years I have been making sure our web sites, rich media and social media designs where intuitive so the user knows where to click and what they'll get. But with Touch UI gaining momentum, it begs the question: Is Touch UI the Click UI killer? After all, video killed the radio star...
During my week of Interactive sessions at SXSW, I realized that the focus of conventional Click UI was pretty much obsolete. If anything, it was only mentioned in passing. And I also didn't hear the word "usability" mentioned at all. It was all about the touch or gesture experience.
I joke that my kids don't know what a mouse is, but it's true. Their first experience and exposure to computers were a laptop, iPhone, and iPad. None of these devices uses a mouse or has to be clicked. We do have desktop computers around, but it's avoided because there's a feeling of entrapment compare to our mobile devices. Our expectations of how we experience the web has gone way beyond just the conventional and intuitive navigations.
Whether we believe conventional Click UI is a passing phase or not, it is paramount to consider the visual interface as part of the brand. As designers, we'll need to build an easy and memorable experience for our users. And to stay on top of our competitors, those experiences will need to be unique. This is what Nike Myers described in his "The Visual Interface Is Now Your Brand" session at SXSW. Where do you think the user interface is heading?
Here's a little taste of things to come when the visual is the interface.
South by Southwest or better known as SXSW, is an interactive, music and film festival. A few of us, Broganites, set off on our travels to take part in the interactive portion of the festival. In particular, I was a SXSW virgin. However, I was excited to lose my v-card and participate in networking events, panel discussions and other social activities surrounding tech innovations.
My first thought was that it all was extremely overwhelming. There were probably over 50 events or sessions you could choose from per day. And there were always going to be 1 or 2 that you could tell would be a waste of time once you sat in them for the first 10 minutes. But overall, the tech leaders that made up the panel discussions and sessions were really insightful. They made you think. After a session you would feel more empowered, more knowledgeable and maybe even invincible. There was also the feeling of: When I get home I am going to be the first one in my office to know about the next great tech idea!
I had a few favorite sessions and here’s what I learned from them:
I Used Data Analytics to Game Online Dating – I was under the assumption that this solo speaker, Amy Webb, was using the title as a metaphor. I thought I was going to a session about social media analytics. Boy was I wrong! It really was about her dating life. This woman created an algorithm to find her husband on an online dating platform. It was even considered rated “R” according to the SXSW organizers – only because she used colorful, raunchy-ish language. Even though it wasn’t what I expected, I really found it very entertaining and humorous. And I may even buy Webb’s book, Data: A Love Story, once it is released in 2013.
What’s So [Bleeping] Hard About Social ROI? – There isn’t one! Or at least there isn’t a universal social media ROI. The panel from this session discussed that you shouldn’t use sales as a goal for social media. Social media is about building relationships directly with the consumer. For those folks who have created their own ROI for social – your formula should be used as a benchmark. However, it’s not an absolute science or equation. My favorite quote from this panel was “What’s the ROI in not doing social?” from Craig Daitch a Social Media Manager for Ford Motor Company.
Social Media Is a Bubble and SXSW Is a Fad – This panel of 5 had lots to say. It was a combination of humor and opinions. All but one of the panelists agreed that social media was a bubble. They were preaching that the social community should figure out how to manage the bubble once it bursts. How do we create value from the burst? I think the creative talent that comes out of this burst will need to be placed in new companies. However, this could be good because they will bring new and fresh ideas to wherever they land. This was by far my favorite, because these people who are looked at as social leaders were being realistic and having a real conversation about the social phenomenon. It is here to stay; the question is when will it become just another medium? After the bubble bursts?
So there you have it, those were my favorite sessions from SXSW. And I can now say…I am no longer a virgin, and it was mind blowing! If you were in Austin last week, what would you say was your favorite session? If you weren’t in Austin last week, does this sound like something you would want to be a part of next year?
Yesterday was Leap Day, but it will always be remembered as a revolutionary day in the world of social media. Facebook took a huge leap forward with the inaugural Facebook Marketing Conference. The six-hour, invitation-only event packed the American Museum of Natural History in New York, marking a day in history of its own. If you didn’t happen to make the conference, or your invitation somehow got lost in the mail, never fear. Here’s a recap of what you missed:
Applications – These will now appear as rich applications just below and to the right of the cover photo. These applications will engage customers and encourage them to click more often. Starbucks has also been in beta for Timeline and has made great use of the new apps feature.
Pinned Posts, Starred Posts, Backdated Posts – You can “pin” posts (like Red Bull) that you’d like to feature as a “post of the week”. These will stay at the top of your timeline, appearing as the most recent post.
New Ads for Brand Pages:
To be completely honest, my initial reaction to the Google Plus unveiling was less than enthusiastic. Sigh, yet another platform to tell the world I am “at Starbucks, getting a latte.” (I try to convince myself on a daily basis that this is relevant information). Trust me, I’m not complaining. I like having options. But keeping up with the social media rat race can be a little exhausting, regardless of how heavily it impacts our daily lives (or for some of us, our jobs).
Facebook, Twitter and the like are a huge part of what I do Brogan & Partners. I have seen up close and personal how social media can single handedly build a brand, generate buzz and make or break the success of a business. So this forces the question…will Google Plus become as natural as breathing like updating a status on Facebook?
Let’s take a look at the stats. Thus far, Google Plus has about 40 million users, a drop in the bucket compared to its Facebook counterpart of 800 million. This also means that due to Plus’s lack of maturity, it is too soon to say for sure how effective the network will be for marketing and building brands. In terms of cosmetics, both formats appear to be pretty similar at first glance, even though Facebook will be introducing Timeline, their new “Face lift”, in the near future (stay tuned for more on that).
All uncertainties aside, however, Google Plus might have its advantages. Unlike Facebook, Plus users will have the capability to link directly to YouTube while sharing videos without having to shorten URL’s or be shackled by character limits. It will also have the benefit of donning the name “Google” and, of course, in the ultimate form of nepotism, Google Plus brand pages will be promoted to the top of the search engine powerhouses’ results.
Another benefit to using Google Plus is its current lack of saturation. You may have heard whispers when the new social network debuted that you needed an invitation to join (a great PR ruse used by Facebook when it appeared on the scene, too). It is now open to all users, but because you can customize the circles you share with and vice versa, you won’t get the same mess of information on your home page that you certainly get on Facebook. For now.
Only time will tell how big this social giant will grow. I, of course, jumped on the band wagon and signed Brogan up for a Plus profile. Want to know how to get your brand started on Google Plus?
- Sign in with your Google account, then go the Google Plus Business Page and click “Create your Google + Page.”
- Choose what category your brand falls under (most likely, it will be “Product or Brand”, or if you are unsure you can pick “Company, Institution or Organization)
- Now, enter your page name (your brand name) and your website.
- This next step is where you need to get a little creative. You have to describe your brand/company in 10 words or less. Try to stick to a description that includes buzz words about your business’s core competencies or where you fit in the marketplace. Here are a few things to think about: What makes you unique? What do you really do? If someone is on a search engine, what words would help them find you the fastest?
- Tell your circles. If you are new to Google Plus, then you most likely do not have circles to tell of your new presence. So you can skip this step. If you are a Google Plus vet, then you can share your page with your current Plus contacts.
- Congrats! You have a Google Plus page. Start looking up other brands and add them to your circles, post pictures and beef up the information to your profile page. The more info on your page and posts about your brand, the better.
Created a page already? I gave you my thoughts on Plus...I’d love to hear yours.
Like so many others around the world (literally), I was very saddened to learn about Steve Jobs’ death.
Unlike those who describe themselves as Mac lifers, I’m pretty new to all things Apple. I was steadfastly a PC, as the commercial says, until March, when I got an iPad 2 for my birthday. You can probably guess what I’m going to say next: How did I ever function without this thing? I’ve since added an iPhone to my tech collection and I’m similarly smitten with that. And it’s not just because I’ve become addicted to Facetime, Urban Spoon and camera+.
It’s also because, as a marketing professional with an eye on female consumers, I find Apple fascinating. The company has cracked the code for appealing with equal effectiveness to men and women.
In some cases, they do it by splitting the difference. Have you ever seen a guy with a white iPad? Me either.
But often, the same aspects of a Mac have a way of appealing to men and women’s different sensibilities. The design is both sleek and minimalist (masculine) but also beautiful (feminine).
The operating systems are so logical and intuitive; you can instantly acclimate to your iWhatever. This appeals to a woman’s sense of efficiency and resistance to change (at least in technological matters). And it’s gold to men who don’t like to stop and ask for directions.
But if you do need help? There is the Genius Bar, which is pretty much made for women. The Bar at my Apple Store even has a cluster of knee-high computer stations set up right nearby so kids can perch on mod poufs and play video games while they wait. The geniuses take appointments and can usually solve your problem, or ship your machine off for tinkering, within an easy half-hour. I haven’t been to the Bar yet, but I’ve heard that the geniuses, in their minimalist Apple T-shirts and confident computer geekery are as crushworthy as UPS guys.
Apple’s advertising pushes both male and female buttons, too. The TV commercials are clever, cute, and smart. They manage to avoid condescending to women or chest-bumping with guys. The print ads are utterly simple and elegant, i.e. universally appealing.
Not every company’s products lend themselves so easily to playing both sides of the gender fence. Still, Apple’s marketing approach is one we can learn from. Rather than always skewing our marketing toward men or women, when appropriate, we could hone in on those areas where the masculine and feminine meet.
Anybody else have examples of marketing that masterfully crosses the gender divide?
Social media is changing the world and it’s proving itself time and again that its powers can be used for more good than evil. Exhibit A: the Bread Art Project. It’s a really simple concept with hugely impactful results. With the help of Facebook, Twitter and the like, this project has gone from an unknown to a social media sensation.
The Grain Foods Foundation along with Food Network favorite Ted Allen (host of Chopped) are joining forces with Feeding America to provide a whopping one million pounds of food for those who need it the most. And the numbers are staggering. Hunger impacts 48 million Americans, 17 million of which are children. Most of us can’t imagine what it would be like to not be able to feed ourselves or our families.
And now, social media is being used to help feed the hungry, simply by making pieces of digital bread art. Never fancied yourself an artist? All you have to do is upload a picture of yourself, friends, pets, or any image that is important to you. If you’re a regular Picasso, you can even create your own design and the application will generate a personalized piece of bread art just for you. For every slice of bread art, the Grain Food Foundation will donate a $1 to Feeding America. They have already raised over $21,000 for the project and it continues to grow. Bet you never thought a digital piece of bread could be so much fun or could give back to such a great cause. What are some of your favorite causes social media has impacted?
I even tried out my art skills with a picture of me and some of my girls from Brogan & Partners. If I ever wondered what my face would look like toasted to a piece of bread…I just got my answer.
For generations there has been an endless debate of who rules the world, men or women. During the sixties, James Brown stated his opinion with “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”. In Beyonce’s new song “Run the World” she sings, “Who run the world? Girls, girls”. The debate will continue. But in the world of social media, we have a definitive gender winner. It’s women who rule. Sure, men created most of our social platforms but it is women who are maintaining and growing them.
According to Read Write Web, a study done by an online company rapleaf.com revealed that on most social network platforms “women outnumber men by a considerable amount. On Facebook, the 18-24 age group is the largest, with 1,685,029 women in that age group compared to 977,753 men.”
Why are women the largest contributors to social media? According to Jessica Faye Carter, an award-winning author and owner of Nette Media, it is simply because as mothers, we like to share information, educate others as well as develop new trends.
As expert multi-taskers, women like how easily they can share information with family and hundreds of “friends” simply with a click of a button. And as the leading household purchasing decision-maker, they use social media to share information about products, services, time-saving tips and money-saving offers.
Men want to rule the world. Women want to save the world. So it’s no wonder so many women are using social media to make social change. Whether raising awareness for lead paint or money for the breast cancer 3-day, women are using these social tools to build a better world for all of us.
Who do you think will rule the social media world in the future?