This coming Saturday, Podcamp returns to Western Mass. I went to a couple Western Mass Podcamps, as well as podcamps in other locations and helped organize the first Podcamp in Connecticut.
Before I go much further, I should explain what a Podcamp is. It is an 'unconference' where people gather to discuss topics related to social media. I put it this way to contrast it from a typical conference where a keynote speaker or a group of panelists talk at the audience.
With my focus on the discussion aspect of an unconference, you may wonder my thoughts about where presentations fit in, especially if you've read some of my other thoughts about presentations. As a general rule, I don't think they fit in well at all. I really dislike presentations, and particularly Powerpoint presentations.
I guess that is some of the reason, I really haven't done a lot with Slideshare or Scribd. But recently, I saw a Clearslide presentation, and I thought it was pretty interesting. I've set up a test account, but I'm not yet sold on it. I also recently set up a Prezi account. I did this during a conference, and since I rarely do presentations, I didn't come back to revisit it, until today.
I went through the tutorial, and I really liked it. I will have to play more with Prezi.
With this, let me return to a moment to Podcamp. While I try to avoid sessions with presentations at Podcamp, and if I accidentally find myself in one, I try to reshape it into a discussion, or I use the 'rule of two feet' and head off for a different discussion, a discussion of presentation tools, from SlideShare to Clearslide and Prezi, might be a bit of fun.
A related topic that might be really interesting is video animation. On the simple level, there are tools like XtraNormal, GoAnimate, and Animoto. From the little bit that I've played with each of them, I like XtraNormal the best. Then, there are the whiteboard animations, like RSA animate videos. I've read tutorials about how to do this, but it seems cumbersome and I wonder if there are tools or shortcuts to make it easier. Then, of course, there is machinima, or making animated videos using computer games. I've always like Second Life based Machinima, and have made a few very simple examples. For the serious animator, there is Blender which I've also played with, but not come close to developing any proficiency. Video animation might be another fun topic to explore at a Podcamp.
We'll see who ends up at Podcamp Western Mass, as well as a Podcamp in Connecticut, hopefully later in the year. I look forward to hearing about other topics I haven't even thought about.
Thursday I headed into New York for part of Social Media Week. The first speaker was Jay Walker, @TedMedJay. He spoke about how we are living in a world of evolving systems that engineering thinking just doesn't work for dealing with such systems. Instead, he spoke about how we need to think about mental models. He started off by looking at a simple, powerful, and frequently used mental model, "What Would Jesus Do". He then moved on to talk about mental models in health care; invincible teenage boys, the born lucky model, where people think that health outcomes won't affect them, because they're lucky, and the car mechanic model where folks go to the doctor simply to get fixed up. He then went on to talk about models like the 'specialist' model, which is getting more and more challenged by more and more specialization and the Star Trek model where nanobots will fix everything. There is also a 'rational actor model' whereby patients are believed to make better health decisions if they are simply presented with better information.
Yet, technology, Jay went on to say, doesn't solve problems, it creates tools that can be used to help people solve problems based on their mental models. For example, technology, in and of itself, cannot end racism. And as to the rational actor model, it fails to explain why so many people, even though they know smoking is bad for them, still smoke.
All of this was well and good, but the thing that would have been more interesting would have been a discussion about how we help establish new mental models. Jay did talk talk about 'personal informed model', based on being open minded and continuously learning. It sounds like a good idea, but as Jay noted, too many people decide they are done learning when they leave school.
Looking at bigger systems, the pharmaceutical, insurance, medical complex is not set up to encourage doctors and patients to pursue more cost effective health outcomes. So, the bigger question becomes, how do we challenge and change the pharmaceutical, insurance, medical complex?
Perhaps some of the discussions that took place during the rest of the day provides clues, but that will have to wait for another blog post.
One of the metrics I often use, when thinking about conferences I attend, is how many interesting new people I interact with. The Health Hub at Social Media Week in New York, #smwhealth resulted in a smaller number of new people I interacted with, but a much higher quality of interactions.
Starting off the list is Alex Fair, @faircaremd. "Chief Instigator at FairCareMD, The 1st Open Healthcare Marketplace where Patients and Doctors can meet and agree on fees that are fair to both." He's fairly serious about tweeting from conferences and during the second half, we sat next to each other, shared a power outlet and various comments about the conference.
Next is Paulo Machado, @pjmachado. "Husband-Father-Friend-Passionate about driving the adoption of innovation that improves the healthcare delivery model." He was wearing a @reginaholliday jacket and did a lot of good tweeting as well.
Mike Painter, @paintmd "Senior Program Officer at RWJF" He did some good tweeting while @TedMedJay was on the stage. I only got a chance to meet him briefly in passing.
Then, there was Jerry Weinstein, @tummler10. "Cynical Idealist. Competitive Zen. AKA: Writer. Editor. Strategist. Producer. Certified Mediator." We did not get a chance to meet face to face, at least as far as I know. However, we did have some fairly interesting interactions on Twitter that I hope to follow up on.
A couple other people that I interacted briefly with, included @careplanners @elleehenry. I'm probably missing quite a few others, but these are the people that I remember particularly jumping out at me. Thanks for a great #smwhealth. Happy #ff everyone.
@SeattleMamaDoc @ePatientDave @EndoGoddss @drmikesevilla @MeredithGould @LeeAase @westr @RAWarrior @jsperber @jamiesundsbak
Friday Evening. I’m home from the Third Annual Social Media Summit at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. By my calculations, I tweeted about 500 times during the week and picked up about 100 new followers. I am exhausted, but the experience won’t be complete until I do a shout-out to various people I saw at the summit.
Starting off the list is @SeattleMamaDoc. She’s a pediatrician from Seattle who is big on social media. People have always told me about her. I’ve looked at her tweets and her blog, and they’re good so I was looking forward to hearing her speak. However, her speaking far surpassed anything I’ve read by her. She was incredible, talking about the moral obligation physicians and other experts had to be on social media to counter celebrity driven misinformation. To help with this she called on medical journals to make embargoed material available to doctors so they could speak intelligently about new reports when they hit the mainstream media. She received a well deserved standing ovation.
One of the people who helped instigate the standing ovation via Twitter was @ePatientDave. He spoke the next day, and was also great. He started off by talking about when he was diagnosed with cancer. When someone is dying, he said, try and keep them off the internet. He spoke about his search for information and how it empowered his battle against cancer.
Some doctors I know seem to dislike it when a patient comes in, having studied their condition and with lots of opinions. It challenges the myth of the all knowing superior being called a doctor. Yet with 6000 medical journal articles a day being published, doctors cannot stay on top of all the medical advances, let alone the lethal lag between when research starts and when something is published in a medical journal.
I remember years ago hearing the saying, “A man of quality is not threatened by a woman of equality”. As I think of @ePatientDave’s reaction to @SeattleMamaDoc, the saying comes back in a new form. A doctor, committed to finding the best for her patient, like @SeattleMamaDoc, is not threatened by an empowered patient. Indeed cooperation between empowered patients and committed doctors are exactly what is needed confront the health issues we face today. It makes sense that @ePatientDave led the standing ovation for @SeattleMamaDoc
Two other doctors particularly jumped out at me as examples doctors that truly understand how to use social media the way @SeattleMamaDoc described. @EndoGoddess is a pediatric endocrinologist who is an incredible and compassionate mix between geek, doctor, and communicator. She was another star of the summit. @drmikesevilla didn’t have as much of a chance to shine in the spotlight, but I had several chances to interact with him, from our first Foursquare enabled meeting in Starbucks, to exchanging tweets back and forth throughout the summit.
I am glad to add @drmikesevilla to the list of other luminaries in health care social media that I’ve had the opportunity to meet, several of whom were at the sumit. These included @MeredithGould, @LeeAase, @westr, and @RAWarrior. I had met each of them at a previous #MayoRagan event at the Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville, FL campus.
Added to this list, I want to include @jsperber and @jamiesundsbak, two people that I’ve met online via the Social Media Health Network and was very pleased to finally get a chance to meet face to face.
Ah yes, the power of writing. I was pretty tired when I sat down to write, but the words came into a much longer blog post that I expected, and even with that, there are plenty of people I would have liked to have mentioned. Perhaps I’ll write more about the conference and the people there soon.
After a busy day, and a pleasant dinner, I headed back to my room to relax. I looked at the pile of books next to my bed for a little light reading. I had been reading Michel Foucault's "The Archaeology of Knowledge", which has been though provoking, but I had had enough thoughts provoked during the day, so I went for something a little lighter, Jean Baudrillard's "Screened Out". It seemed somehow appropriate.
I scanned through the different articles in the collection. "AIDS Virulence or Prophylaxis?", "We are all Transexuals Now", "No Pity for Sarajevo", "Otherness Surgery". Several of them would probably be a great night cap to a great day. I settle on "The Powerlessness of the Virtual".
It was about when some students held a demonstration which delayed a high speed TGV train in France for ten minutes.
All they will wrest from the transparency of the rich is this ten minutes of immobility, this ten-minute freezing of the TV spectacle of which they are the victims.
I paused to wonder what Baudrillard would have thought of the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement. He goes on to say
A scaled-down version of the clash between the real and the virtual and its fantastic consequences at the planetary level: the dissociation between a very high frequency virtual space and a zero-frequency real space.
This lead me to think about Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Pirsig, trying to make sense of his own life, sets out on a motorcycle, with his son riding along, to rediscover some of his past and his quest for quality. He choses to ride a motorcycle on the backroads to be more in touch with what is going on around him, instead of viewing the interstate out the windows of a sealed up car, not much different than watching a long television documentary about the land zipping by.
Okay, this is a long introduction to my reactions to Tuesday's sessions at the Third Annual Health Care Social Media Summit at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. The final keynote of the day was @SeattleMamaDoc. She is as powerful and passionate a speaker at a conference as she is online and she received a standing ovation.
As more and more of our communication takes place online, takes place in the virtual realm, we have to worry about whether we are riding an information superhighway with Baudrillard similar to the drivers on the interstate that Pirsig spoke about.
@SeattleMamaDoc embodied something closer to riding the backroads of the internet on a bicycle (with a properly fitted helmet!), closer to the quest for quality that Pirsig writes about.
We cannot afford to let science online be dominated by celebrities that don't really know the topic. We need scientists, researchers, and experts to find their voice online, and find it as a voice that is meaningful and heard, and not just a ten minute delay of a high speed train.
How do we do this? It is similar to Pirsig's trip; joining in conversations about quality; storytelling.
@SeattleMamaDoc was not the only compelling speaker on Tuesday. There was a great panel about patients with spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) and how they had come together online to inspired medical research. One of the panelists used the phrase, "Patient Initiated Research". I thought that captured very nicely the power of the patients, the researchers, their connections online, and hope for new areas of medical research. I tweeted that as a great new potential buzz phrase, which ended up being retweeted by many.
"Patient Initiated Research", its a great idea whose time is overdue, and is also an antidote to the powerlessness of the virtual.
Yet the virtual continues to evolve, and with that, I should do a shout out to one of the other presentations that I thought was incredible. I tweeted that @EndoGoddess managed to fit about three hours of information into a one hour time slot. I don't have the time or energy, right now, to hit even a small subset of the points she did. Suffice it to say that she is doing some very interesting work with texting and apps to improve health outcomes, and when you get right down to it, the real power of this conference, no offense to people focusing on marketing or ROI, is improved health outcomes.
The virtual has changed dramatically since Baudrillard wrote his article, and perhaps with a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance sitting next to a health blogger's computer, the virtual can become a bit more powerful, especially for those running with ideas picked up at the summit this week.