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On Media and Intellectual Darwinism in the Blogosphere

Last week Aaron Sorkin wrote for The Atlantic a piece in which he details his daily news feed, in What I Read. He’s not into blogs:

When I read the Times or The Wall Street Journal, I know those reporters had to have cleared a very high bar to get the jobs they have. When I read a blog piece from “BobsThoughts.com,” Bob could be the most qualified guy in the world but I have no way of knowing that because all he had to do to get his job was set up a website–something my 10-year-old daughter has been doing for 3 years. When The Times or The Journal get it wrong they have a lot of people to answer to. When Bob gets it wrong there are no immediate consequences for Bob except his wrong information is in the water supply now so there are consequences for us.

PZ Meyers, whose tagline for Pharyngula at ScienceBlogs is a bit crass for my taste, but with whom I often agree, writes On What’s Wrong With the Media:

This is the problem, that people blithely assume that because it is in the NY Times or the WSJ that it must be right — I’d rather read BobsThoughts.com because there, at least, poor lonely Bob must rely on the quality of his arguments rather than the prestige of his name and affiliation to persuade. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medical Lessons*

Are Social Networks Being Used For Psychomanipulation?

This Techcrunch post, The Illusion of Social Networks, is worth thinking about. The author Semil Shah suggests that we have a tendency to use social networks to create illusions for our audiences.  And over time these illusions compound to create something that may not reflect real life.  It’s a type of socical psychomanipulation.

But I wonder if Shah overstates the shady side of human social conduct.  I’m more optimistic about the promise of human connectedness.  The crowd is smarter than we think.  And while we can create any story possible, it’s ultimately the responsibility of the listening masses to decide what’s real.  It’s our job to ask the hard questions.  Be it television, the web, or our own homes, we’re individually responsible for who we let into our world. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Survey: Some Believe That Physicians Should Not Engage In Social Media

Healthcare IT News recently asked its readers about their thoughts on doctors using social media.

The interesting part here is when 13% of participants think that doctors should not be using social media at all. I wonder why they ignore social media that much. Maybe because they have never heard about the limitations, dangers and potential tools to fight these dangers. Maybe we should talk more about these issues.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

How To Get Involved In Social Media

When healthcare reform became law, HR and benefits professionals I spoke with had two reactions: surprise and annoyance. Surprise, because they thought reform was dead; annoyed, because the law was full of provisions that didn’t make sense to them. But it was partly their own fault.

Blogs and other social media were buzzing with healthcare reform talk for more than a year, and were more influential than ever. But HR and benefits professionals –- experts in the topic –- were mostly on the sidelines. They didn’t shape the debate, didn’t point out when people didn’t know what they were talking about, didn’t talk about how what was proposed would affect what they did for a living.

Don’t take my word for it. A study last year on social media use by HR professionals revealed some striking results:

  • Only 13 percent use RSS feeds, tags and bookmarks
  • Only 5 percent post original content to blogs and website
  • Only 4 percent post ratings and reviews or comments on blogs and online forums

Reform shows there are real consequences to this failure to participate in social media. If you’re not part of the conversation, you’re marginalizing yourself, losing influence within your organization and the world.

So let this be a wake-up call: Get involved in social media. Easy to say, but how do you get started? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

Detecting Depression In Online Text And Blogs

In a Thought Police kind of way, a new computer program can detect depression through your online writing.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Beer-Sheva, Israel, have developed a program that detects depression in text without obvious terms like “depression” or “suicide.” In a sample of 200 positively-identified texts out of 300,000 which were screened by the program, there was a 78 percent agreement between the program and a panel of psychologists. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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