Archive - Mar 2011

March 26th

Saturday in Washington, DC

I am in Washington, DC for the National Association of Community Health Center’s annual Policy and Issues Forum. Yesterday, I was on a panel and spoke about social media and health care. I’m told it was well received, and had some great discussions afterwards. Later, we had a nice dinner.

I did not sleep all that well, which is often the case when I travel. This morning, I got up and walked over to Dupont Circle and watched a little bit of the Washington marathon. On my way, I passed various embassies and think tanks, like the Brookings Institute and the Carnegie Institute.

Back at the hotel, I watched as a dog walker stopped to take pictures of a cherry trees.

LOVELIEST of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

My old computer continues to be a bit flaky and has been crashing on me from time to time, so this is my second attempt to write this blog post. I am writing now, between sessions at the conference. Later, I will perhaps walk around DC a little more, before unwinding at the end of the day.

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March 25th

#FF Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, and Foursquare

Normally on Follow Friday, I list various people that I’ve recently followed on Twitter or that I’ve been following for a while, but are particularly relevant to what is going on during the week. This week, I’m going meta.

Yesterday, I stumbled across a blog post talking about connecting Twitter and LinkedIn, so I finally got around to adding the Twitter App on LinkedIn. It got me thinking, it would be good to explore a little bit how my different social maps overlap.

I’m on a lot of different networks. I have the most connections on Twitter. I’m currently following 2930 people and 3333 people are following me back. According to who.unfollowed.me there are 902 on Twitter that I am following that are not following me back. From that, it would appear as if there are 2028 that I am following that are following me back. From this I come up with 1305 people that are following me that I’m not following back. This would be good Venn diagram sort of stuff.

On Facebook, I have 1916 friends. There used to be an app that would try to map Facebook friends and Twitter followers, however that seemed to have stopped working sometime back, so I really don’t know what the over lap between twitter and facebook is for me.

LinkedIn is probably the next largest network in terms of my connections. Currently, I have 640 connections there. Of these, 245 are also on LinkedIn. I’m currently following 176 of these connections on Twitter and there are 69 on LinkedIn that I am not yet following. It was a bit more, but I added a bunch of them Thursday. I’ll probably go out and add more later. LinkedIn makes it fairly easy to follow people on Twitter that you are already connected with.

The next network in terms of connections is Quora. I’m currently following 441 people there. and 371 are following me. Quora does give information about how this overlaps with Facebook, and 171 of the people that I follow I’m also friends with on Facebook. I don’t know how this network overlaps with other networks, or other aspects a asymmetry. Quora does give you the ability to see if a connection is also on Facebook or Twitter. However, it doesn’t currently give any good analytics.

You can check to find the Facebook and Twitter Pages of people on Quora, so I could go through all of them to see if I follow them on other social networks, however that is a bit of work, and perhaps an API will help with that at some point. On a quick spot check I found a lot of overlap.

Ending off the list of networks where I’ve been spending a bit of time recently is Foursquare. Currently, I have 360 friends on Foursquare. Foursquare also gives the ability to check to see who you are connected with on Twitter and Facebook and request friendship on Foursquare. And, for each person on Foursquare, you can see their Twitter and Facebook page. I haven’t done a spot check on this.

With that, I’ve been following a bunch of people on different networks that I am currently following on other networks. At some point, I’ll perhaps consolidate a lot of this into some sort of social media contact management system.

March 24th

Joy and Sadness, Isabella and Monique

Yesterday, the news came out that Isabella Oleschuk, the thirteen year old girl that disappeared in Orange, CT on Sunday morning had been found. She was safely hiding in an old farm stand about three miles from her house, living off a stash of granola bars and pop-tarts.

The initial reaction was one of great joy and relief, but now people are starting to wonder what led her to run away from home. The newspaper reports are that she was stressed about the Connecticut Mastery Tests that had been administered the previous week in school. Other reports say that she had been bullied. One newspaper article went after Isabella for running away. They are partly correct. She hasn’t yet learned how to deal as effectively as possible with some of the stress and abuse of this messed up world, but she’s also only thirteen, a time when these lessons are being learned and the stress can seem overwhelming.

So, instead of going after Isabella, perhaps we need to look a little more closely at ourselves. How are we failing our children when it comes to teaching these important lessons? Are we failing to deal properly with bullying in our schools? Are we placing too much emphasis on tests like the CMTs?

Isabella isn’t the only thirteen year old Connecticut girl in the news right now. Yesterday, in the Middletown Press, there was a letter from Alexa M McClain about her granddaughter, Monique McClain.

The letter talks about when Monique testified before the Middletown Board of Education. She opened her statement with, “My name is Monique McClain. I am the one being bullied.”

The responses to the letter were abhorrent. “Here's an idea...Teach your kid how to have a backbone!!” and “How about teaching these kids to defend themselves. I was bullied as a kid. I finally punched him in the nose and the problem stopped.”

I have added my comment there:

I applaud Monique for having the courage, backbone and strength to stand up and publicly testify in front of the BOE. She has more courage and has fought a better fight than the people here who are afraid to use their real names when they suggest she fights back or grows a backbone.

Some of us in the Constitution State recognize that our government was formed on the basis of establishing Justice, insuring domestic Tranquility, providing for the common defence, promoting the general Welfare, and securing the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

Personally, I have to wonder if members of the Board of Education and the Superintendent's office are meeting their obligations to the people of Middletown.

At a recent meeting about bullying, a friend jokingly asked me if I was there as on behalf of the bully, or the person bullied. I said I was there as on behalf of bystanders that need help in dealing with bullying when it is happening around them.

This isn’t about the bullies and the bullied, it is about all of us learning to act with dignity and show respect to the people around us. My prayers go out to Isabella and Monique. They go out to the bullies. The bullies and the bullied aren’t really that much different. They both need help in learning how to properly deal with the stress in their lives. And the rest of us? We need to learn how to provide that help.

March 23rd

Wordless Wednesday



Quilt, originally uploaded by Aldon.

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March 22nd

Health Records

Today, I stopped at the drugstore to pick up some over the counter medications. Fiona is pretty much over her latest cold, or at least I hope she is, but she is still a little congested.

While I was there, I notice various blood pressure cuffs. I’ve got one kicking around the house somewhere, but haven’t been able to find it in quite a while, so I thought of picking up a new one.

These days, many of them have the ability to store the past 60 blood pressure readings. There are even blood pressure cuffs that will take SD cards, have USB interfaces, and WiFi enabled blood pressure cuffs have been announced, but I don’t know if any are in production yet.

One cuff interfaces with Microsoft’s HealthVault, so you can save the results in your personal health record. These aren’t the only devices like this. There are WiFi enable scales as well.

With my work at the Community Health Center, I’m getting more and more interested in these sorts of devices, as well as in electronic health records.

A friend of mine has diabetes and I know that there is a whole measuring regimen with that. I’ve also looked at various pedometers, and loaded a pedometer program in one of my cellphones, but I haven’t really done much more with that.

So, I’m wondering, are any of you doing anything with internet connected health recording devices? Do any of you have Google Health or Microsoft Health Vault accounts? Are you doing anything interesting with them? Have you connected them to electronic health records from your doctors office, or perhaps to pharmacists or labs?

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