Janice Jacobs: “Increasingly, social media is playing a key role in helping to ease the heavy burden of these tragedies by connecting individuals and communities with each other and with critical resources…
Social media, in its simplest form, can notify the masses in real-time about situations that are happening or are about to happen.
In August 2011, several New Yorkers learned of an earthquake on Twitter prior to feeling it. From the D.C. area, tweets began popping up in droves almost 30 seconds before anyone felt the tremors in New York City, and ahead of any media reports about it. Twitter said that more than 40,000 earthquake-related tweets were sent within a minute of the earthquake’s manifestation…...
Social media can be used to identify trouble spots and to react quickly during emergencies.
From the The Physics arXiv Blog: “The way we view online recipes reveals how our eating habits change over time, say computational sociologists….it’s no surprise that computational sociologists have begun to mine the data associated with our browsing habits to discover more about our diets and eating habits. Last year we looked at some fascinating work examining networks of ingredients and the flavours they contain, gathered from online recipe websites. It turns out this approach gives fascinating insights into the way recipes vary geographically and into the possibility of unexplored combinations of flavours.
Today, Robert West at Stanford University and Ryen White and Eric Horvitz from Microsoft Research in Redmond, take a deeper look at the electronic trails we leave when we hunt for food on the web. They say the data reveals important trends in the way our diets change with the season, with our geographical location and with certain special days such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. And they conclude that the data could become an important tool for monitoring public health.”
See also : arxiv.org/abs/1304.3742: From Cookies to Cooks: Insights on Dietary Patterns via Analysis of Web Usage Logs
Geoff Mulgan: “The last few years have brought a cornucopia of innovation around data, with millions of data sets opened up, and big campaigns around transparency, all interacting with the results of a glut of hackathons, appathons and the like. Linked to this has been the explosion of creativity around digital tools for civic engagement and local government….
There are also big questions to ask about digital technologies and public services – and in particular why so few public services have been radically redesigned. This has been talked about for as long as I can remember – and it’s not hard to map out how a transformed health, welfare or transport system could work if you started afresh. But with a few exceptions (like tax) this isn’t happening in any of the big public services anywhere. I’ll be writing some blogs soon about how we might accelerate this kind of systemic change.
In the meantime there are some more pragmatic questions to ask about what is and isn’t working. A pattern is becoming clear which poses a challenge to the enthusiasts, and to funders like us. In essence it’s this: there has been brilliant progress on the supply side – opening up data, and multiplying tools and apps of all kinds. But there has been far less progress on the demand and use side. The result is that thousands of promising data sets, apps and sites remain unused; and a great deal of creativity and energy has gone to waste.
The reasons are fairly obvious when you think about it. This is a movement driven by enthusiasts who have tended to assume that supply will create its own demand (sometimes it does – but not often). Most of the practitioners are interested in the technical challenges of design, and a measure of their success is that for most applications there are readily accessible tools now available. Yet the much bigger challenges lie around use: how to develop attractive brands; how to promote and market; how to shape design to fit how people will actually use the services; how to build living communities.”
BPC Press Release: “Today, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), Heritage Provider Network (HPN), and The Advisory Board Company launched the Care Transformation Prize Series, a national contest to address the most daunting data problems U.S. health care organizations face as they implement new delivery system and payment reforms.
The goal of this big data challenge is to help health care organizations more effectively use data to drive improvements in health care cost and quality. The series was announced at a BPC-hosted event today that featured a forward-thinking discussion on the strategies that providers, health plans, and states are using to harness data to help Americans lower their health care costs and improve care.”
New York Times profile of a new crowdsourced service: “Watsi, which started last August, lets people donate as little as $5 toward low-cost, high-impact medical treatment for patients in third-world countries. The procedures range from relatively simple ones like fixing a broken limb to more complicated surgery — say, to remove an eye tumor. But the treatments generally have a high likelihood of success and don’t involve multiple operations or long-term care… Watsi represents the next generation of charities dependent on online donors, evolving the model started by sites like Kiva. With just a few mouse clicks, Kiva users, say, are able to lend money to a restaurant owner in the Philippines — and to examine her loan proposal and repayment schedule, to read about her and see her photograph.”
Jina Moore in the Columbia Journalism Review on the fifth “Envision” conference, convened by the UN’s Department of Public Information, the Independent Film Project, and Social Good Summit Partners: “These days, there’s lots of interest among the do-gooding world—nonprofits or NGOs, private foundations and public agencies—in how to use media. Partners in Health, to name just one big public health player, regularly uses videos and storytelling in its fundraising campaigns and on its website. So Envision’s focus on getting storytellers to understand and raise awareness about public health issues isn’t exactly new. The question is, is it useful?”
“Datafication refers to the fact that we’re looking at more aspects of life that we never actually understood as being informational before. And finding out that that in fact there is an informational quality to it that we can render into a data format. So what we’re seeing with social media companies is they’re actually datafying aspects of the life that we never really saw that could be datafied. So for example Facebook datafies our friendships. Twitter datafies our whispers or maybe our stray thoughts. And LinkedIn datafies our professional contacts. And more and more and more are we seeing that we’re able to take the daily interactions of living, things that we never really saw that can be rendered into a data format and we’re putting it into data formats.”
Potential of datafication for re-imagining governance? Kenneth:
“you can just use your imagination and think of some of the extraordinary uses. One way that we’re doing it is looking at who contacts whom on Twitter and who’s one’s followers are. And we’re able to identify that, and we never known this before that subpopulations exist that are either immunized for the flu or are not. Now it’s a public health issue. The whole point of vaccinations is that you take a broad population, you vaccinate many but not all and everyone is covered. What we’ve just now learned with Twitter is that this idea of herd immunity might not be the case because there’s whole subgroups of the population that all don’t get vaccinated yet they all hang out together. They do virtually and we’re seeing that those virtual ties are also physical ties. I want to stress this sounds like it might be an intuitive thing. It’s not. It sounds like this might just be a nice thing to know, it’s deadly important. It’s very serious.”