Is It Time For Charities to Converge?

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons CC
Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons CC

Remake/Remodel

Spurred by downsizing, rightsizing and god forbid, supersizing, organizations large and small are trimming resources and hooking up to maximize their market share. Not a day goes by without hearing about layoff notices followed by inevitable consolidation or merger.

We get it. This is today’s business reality where shareholders pressure their boards to reap greater dividends per share, feeding an economic evolution towards increased profits.

As charity giving is quickly approaching, what about not-for-profit and cause-based organizations? As their for-profit cousins, they both share an empirical need for capital. Are they following this trend?

The need to increase capital can often lead to reorganizing. A modern austerity practice showing its invasive nature within the charity industry.

Some have questioned, “Is this merely to keep ‘business face?'” Or, is the time right for charitable organizations to be more accountable through deeper business practices – as reorganizing or merging?

Have charities embraced the teachings of for-profit businesses?

Mark Brown of MoneySense just released his list of top-rated charities in Canada. Accompanying his list of who to give to, and who not to, Mark assesses the four pillars of (charitable) business accountability: charity efficiency, fundraising costs, governance/transparency, and most importantly, cash reserves.  Each accountability showing its suspected pain-points with talent retention, marketing disclosure, and ethical governance. Exposed through the media or by external audits, many charities continue to show little to no improvement in these areas. Especially with building cash reserves. Insolvency can strike at any time and having the cash to sustain a restructure should be part of any business strategy. Nothing too big, as to draw ethical ire.

A reasonable Cash reserve is good planning.

Consolidating Charities

If we look at non-direct charities, charities with no attachment to institutional governance, navigating a competitive business climate can be tremendously difficult. Large institutional charities with massive multi-million dollar budgets command a larger space across all channels of marketing. Calendars continue to be jam-packed with many causes occupying the same date. How do you compete? Is it time for smaller and mid-size charities to merge?

Is it that crazy to start thinking about combined charities?

On a gigantic scale, last week we saw Anheuser-Bush InBev absorb SABMiller. Yes, beer is beer, but look at the product delineations: lagers, ales, stouts, light, low-carb, etc. Is this simply just diversifying its brand, or building market share?

You bet it’s all about market share. Charities should be no different.

For example, let’s transpose this ‘type’ of a merger with two large charities. Say, Canadian Cancer Society, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Yes, one wide-scoped on their strategic direction and health responsibilities and the other entirely focused on one type of cancer.  Not to disrespect or undermine these two well-regarded organizations, but at the end of the day, we are talking about the eradication of cancer. This means more money is needed for research and programs.

By merging charities, the public would be offered a one-stop shop for gifting. Plus, stakeholders and partner acquisitions from both organizations would come together and increase market share for procuring capital.

As a benefactor, you want to choose how your money is used. Is it education, outreach or research? The opportunity to self-direct your donation can still happen if two charities with the same mission combine. Convergence will command more market share and provide more charitable dollars to the cause.

Not being a tax expert, one thing is very clear to me. Charity giving is deeply personal. How that charity is run is not. It’s a business. With very few dollars available, it’s time for charities to remake/remodel their business strategies by joining forces. After all, it’s your money.

Advertisements

What Ever You Call It, Own it and Share it.

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

The Great Content Mashup. 

There is a lot of discussion lately centred on the difference between a content strategy and an editorial strategy. Wikipedia states, “Content strategy refers to the planning, development, and management of content—written or in other media.”

Seems simple enough – you need to have a plan that develops content appropriately and manages it accordingly.

So what about an editorial strategy? Is this different than a content strategy? Or is it an amalgamation of both?

Back in 2009 when the influx of online marketing was within its infancy, publishing giant Meredith’s digital transformation expert CEO Jack Griffin stated, “We don’t hire editors, we hire content strategist.” Many wondered at the time what he was talking about, but today revere these words as prophetic and intuitive.

Does this mean that creating an editorial strategy is dead, especially now when all you hear is content this and content that?

Let’s go to today’s experts which tend to be a little more pliant when citing a definition.

Content strategist Margot Bloomstein confirms content as, “Planning for the creation, aggregation, delivery, and useful governance of useful, usable, and appropriate content in an experience.”

Yikes! Some big words indeed. And what exactly does an ‘experience’ mean in this context?

If we are to understand Ms. Bloomstein’s definition, let’s break down what editorial content consists of.

What does Content consist of today?

Digital strategists Predicate LLC in New York informs its clients, “editorial content constitutes a publishing asset that is repeatable and repeatedly published (article, blog, etc.) in a recognizable form and packaged (edited) for consumption.”

If we do a mash-up of Ms. Bloomstien’s definition with Predicate’s, we understand an editorial content strategy as:

“The planning for the creation of a publishing asset that is delivered over and over again to varied recipients and all the while its author keeping control of the content’s ability to be useful, usable and appropriate in its application.” Clearly an editorial strategy is crucial to an effective deployment of content.

Integration of disciplines is key.

For most of us working in marketing and communications, we now have the responsibility and accountability to provide our clients with a robust editorial content strategy. No longer can we execute a separate content strategy that is indelibly linked to the marketing side of the business, but in isolation from a solid editorial strategy. We need to preface our content marketing strategy with attention to strategic planning on how and where the content will be viewed and republished.

The argument is no longer whether it’s an editorial strategy or a content marketing strategy, the argument is how best to create, deliver, monitor and measure effective editorial content to all audiences. And forget about the definitions!

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons


Editorial Note: Welcome back everyone to Communications and Convo. It has been a long 9 months and many things have happened to keep me from happily tapping away. That was then. This is now.

I look forward to reacquainting myself with the mighty faithful by writing more stories on communication practices and thoughts about… well we’ll see so stay tuned!

We Need #BigData – Big-time!

Photo Courtesy of r2hox

Photo Courtesy of r2hox Creative Commons

Society is in the midst of a massive transformation that will directly affect everything from choosing breakfast cereal to forecasting economic outcomes.

If you haven’t heard, it’s called big data. And yes, its big.

Forbes in 2013 paraphrased big data as, “…a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company, that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.”

Zip forward to 2014 and the function of collecting information has commanded not just the attention of most C-suites, but the average ‘Joe’ as well.

One thing is for sure, we are at the start of a universal movement to measure, validate and strategize everything.

And I’m o.k. with that.

What’s wrong with knowing that my age group likes the odd Starbucks, watches predominately news and partially embraces Twitter. Maybe the Twitter thing I don’t agree with; the point is, data is calculating and making decision for us everyday. As long as we are cognitive regarding the important decisions data is helping us with, why not?

Harvard University’s Gary King notes, “There is a movement of quantification rumbling across fields in academia and science, industry and government and nonprofits.” Professor King goes on to extol how data gathering will improve statistical and computational methods and its storage capacity.

“Computers will offer new ways to link datasets and thereby provide a visualization of such data.”

Photo Courtesy of Zero Divide Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Zero Divide Creative Commons

Truly exciting news as businesses large and small are now given the ability to visualize their forecasting and make the necessary adjustment towards increased bottom-lines and more jobs.

This data revolution is relatively new. In early 2013, 90% of all data generated was from 2011 – 2013. An old statistic by today’s standards but makes us wonder how fast the remaining 10% will come?

As with the Starbucks example, these algorithms first appeared in marketing to help develop consumer groupings based on trends and habits. Whatever you partake in, your action is observed, captured, sorted and quantified offering marketing clients an exclusive opportunity to not just shill their wares, but understand their habits to spend more.

Within the public sphere, data will assist crime, environment and social sciences in their campaign towards a better life for all. This is tremendous news for all of us knowing a better world awaits. It is only when you look into the eyes of a loved one suffering from a second bout of cancer, you realize the true gift of big data is medical science and discovery.

The ability for big data to improve humanity is the underscore.

iStock Photography

iStock Photography

HBR reports that many major company business models – including healthcare – have not yet embraced digital revolution and look at transition as more evolutionary. That being said, Forbes reports $3.8 Trillion is spent annually on healthcare. Apart from personal coverage, look for private health dollars being a major part of this spend – especially in big-pharma discovery.

This begs the question, how much of that 3.8 has been assigned to big data within public institutions and their agencies? Is it the governments’ responsibility to provide an equitable and fair amount of funding dollars towards big data?

This tax-payer says absolutely.

Big data, must have a permanent place in healthcare operating budgets if the human race is to reach significant milestones in health discoveries with fighting deadly diseases.

Fortunately I am not alone in this thinking. United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) is in full data throttle by recently launching their care.data scheme. This big data project captures most GP records and personal information. Various data points will be shared with other health and research institutions to identify trends and patterns in various diseases and maladies.

Photo Courtesy of 4chion Marketing

Photo Courtesy of 4chion Marketing Photo Commons

Not stopping there, the care.data scheme will capture multiple genome profiles that will be stored in a genomic cloud – big data at its height.

In Toronto, Ontario, the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TCLHIN) is heading up one of Canada’s largest data collection projects by not just gathering medical information, but by taking a deeper dive into patient ethnicity and sexuality. The data collected will help healthcare planners look at existing information as phone numbers and addresses, but at the same time identify barriers impeding information collection, as languages and cultural morals. Much the same as NHS’ care.data scheme, this in turn will help improve disease-prevention programs within this health region. Prevention and surveillance of ethnically-diverse patients continue to be a top priority of the provincial health funders as Toronto represents the country’s most diverse and densely populated areas of healthcare provision in Canada.

No longer will educators eulogize the three Rs. Now it’s three Vs!

Both the NHS and TCLHIN fall into the rank and file of frontrunners by understanding and acting upon how big data will advance discovery and general healthcare. Luis Maldonado, Director of Product Management, HP Vertica says, “Big data is defined by the three Vs: volume, variety, and velocity.” The Financial Post defines these properties as: volume representing patient data, variety representing the diversity and uniqueness of the data and velocity being the speed this data arrives back to the enterprise in emails etc.

Photo Courtesy of Alan Cleaver Photo Commons

Photo Courtesy of Alan Cleaver Photo Commons

Fair game, but as both the NHS and TCLHIN are publicly funded health institutions, where allocation of capital budgets and maintaining talent to operate a big data pull, represent two large barriers to overcome.

For anyone working in the public sector, especially healthcare, public coffers are empty. Changing patient records to digital is not only expensive it also brings on the massive issue of confidentiality and its security. Mr. Maldonado goes on to affirm, “… that it’s really secondary in healthcare towards looking after the patient, and is partly responsible for the lag in big data in healthcare…”

Marketing, financial and telcon continue to lead the big data expenditures leaving healthcare often to fend for itself.

So what about big data security with our records?

There is probably no higher concern regarding our personal information than our medical and financial records. Most of us are willing to allocate the sharing and storage of our data to trusted organizations and institutions, but are completely unaware of the enormous costs of not just transferring the data, but its security.

Photo Courtesy of Ann Wuyts Photo Commons

Photo Courtesy of Ann Wuyts Photo Commons

The Wall Street Journal predicts world spending on information security will top out at $83.2B by 2016. Enormous money yes, but let’s not forget the mirrored savings the switch to digital will offer down the road in staff hours.

Security aside, society understands the benefits of big data as 70% of enterprise sized businesses and 56% of small and medium sized businesses allocating $100,000 to $100M to its utilization and storage.

We cannot leave healthcare behind in our adoption of data analysis. More business intelligence will benefit all parts of society and is a heck of a lot more important than being told you prefer non-fat lattes.

 

2014. A Year of Inspiring and Controversial Convo For Sure!

Now that I have hung my hook at jbromcom.com, the folks at WordPress.com have prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. This needs to be shared by you as the main reason why I toil and type – most days. You are my community and I was able to share my thoughts around how we communicate during crisis, at school, to others and for others. I questioned the world’s largest micro-blogging channel ‘Is there too much spam?’ and whether social media has been remiss on including the facts. These and other stories helped form 2014 as it was a year like non other. Communications is a wonderful thing and thank you all for allowing me to share my social space.

Have a great 2015 everyone!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

5 Reasons Why Social Media Rocks!

2014 was a banner year for social media. When crunching the numbers we see 8,200 tweets, 1,500 Instagrams, 1,600 Tumblr posts, 46,000 Google searches, contributing to over 24,000 GB of internet traffic – per SECOND. In one day alone, over 860 million people use their Facebook accounts to post, share, and interact with online content.

This planet is experiencing a mass social experiment like none before. No matter your age, gender, or economic background, you are part of a technological crusade of evangelical proportions. And it shows no signs of slowing down.

How we connect, select community, access information and share ‘till it hurts, remains as it was when homo erectus walked the earth. This is what we do, we do it well and we will continue to do it, for many more years.

To close out 2014 let us look at the top five key reasons why social media is, and will continue to be, a good thing.


#1: Social Media Helps You Make Friends.

Survey Says: The need to connect is hardwired into our species.

The plain fact is we need to be part of something bigger. How else can we brag, or complain without knowing our euphoria or pain is shared by those around us? In our relentless pursuit of being part of something bigger, we desperately seek to connect. Whether with complete strangers, or past acquaintances, we yearn to develop trust by exchanging emotional discourse with others. Our minds subconsciously repeat, ‘I like them and I want them to be part of my world.’

Introverted? Shy? No problem. Social media is here to make this connection for you. 


#2. Social Media Makes You Smart.

Survey Says: The size of our social networks is directly related to the size of our brain.

Behavioural scientists like Robin Dunbar confirm, we have big neo-cortexes. This is the part of our brain that processes higher functions. Such as sensory perception, motor commands, spatial reasoning, conscious thought, and in humans beings, language. Being only two chromosomes apart from our simian ancestors (on which the finding is based) humans have the ability to grow our neo-cortexes with absolute ease by simply expanding our networks. All we need to do is add an extra Facebook friend, Twitter follower or LinkedIn group everyday and our brain naturally grows. How awesome is that!

Now I’m Feeling like @SmartyPants is not that bad of a Twitter handle after all.


#3. Social Media Can Change History.

Survey Says: Social media users will look to ‘real-time’ events in order to become part of the event.

Mashable’s 10 Historical Events Affected by Social Media lays out the bare truth. Social media has the capability to adjust historical outcomes. Take Super Storm Sandy, Arab Spring, even the tragic events in Sydney Australia this past week. How would these events have unfolded without social media’s participation?

Social media is the platform where news stories break – not TV. Equally, social media is commonly used in crisis communication. This is substantiated when law enforcement routinely call for social media blackouts during crisis. This allows authorities to converse in ‘real-time,’ therefore altering outcomes almost immediately. It seems not only do we have the ability to change history, we also want to be the FIRST.

Stamford University and Microsoft research confirms, when users search for ‘real-time’ events, hyper intensive topics as terror, often evolve so fast it creates a (virtual) ‘pile-on.’ Once the information is absorbed and shared, off we go to be the first to form another ‘pile.’ Humans now have the vehicle that allows us to be part of the much bigger cultural mainstream.

Social media allows us to change history and still retain a feeling of belonging. How great is that!


#4. Social Media Bites! (But in a good way)

Survey Says: The ‘Social Media Contageon’ is an epidemic of extraordinary force that infects everyone who dares to log on.

In the New York Times Insights study, Psychology of Sharing, sharing helps build self-actualization, esteem and connectedness. All the important elements of being social. The big difference today is; this gigantic concept called the Information Age is a game changer. Sharing is now on steroids. We share more, from more, with more, more often and more quickly than ever before. And the speed is breathtaking. If you thought the common flu virus was communicable, it holds nothing to a viral event on the internet – good or bad.

Actual pandemics have benefited from this capacity to share information through surveillance as the public clamour to follow the outbreak.

Social is infectious but satisfying. We have been bitten by speed, lured by trust and comforted by community. But what a great thing this new digital malady is. We can commiserate, cheer, applaud or cry – together; almost immediately.

We are able to share our sacred emotions within our own social community.


#5.  Social Media is Here to Stay

Survey Says: As we move into 2015, social media will offer bold new opportunities to all the counted millions of users.

Will it ever!

In business, social media will enable a multitude of businesses to strategize media convergence, utilize big data procurement, and monetize big revenues from e-commerce.

In society, social media will bring people together in growing numbers to grieve our soldiers or cheer on our national sports heroes.

However you use social media remember, it is loud, it is proud and it’s not going anywhere.

The presence and pace of social media can be summed up by Pete Townsend of The Who when quoted, “Keith Moon, God rest his soul, once drove his car through the glass doors of a hotel, driving all the way up to the reception desk, got out and asked for the key to his room.” Speed, tenacity and pure audacity is why social media rocks in 2014 and will in 2015!

In closing, with all rational thinking comes the other argument on social’s place in society.

5 Crazy Ways Social Media is Changing Your Brain Right Now.

 

Are we ‘Lost in (Social) Space?’

BELONGING

Do We All Have a Social Destination?

French sociologist Henri Lefebvre, believed human interaction could be coined much the same as a simple Sunday walk. Wherever you went, your journey would be wholly dependant on the many ‘social realities’ that intercede your path. Mr. Lefebvre was convinced ‘social realities’ were everywhere. This included the idea of urban planning, the form of architecture, the conversation of language and even the appreciation of art. His research supported how either consciously, or unconsciously, we allow these ‘social realities’ to influence and guide our course of being.

Short of it, when building community we are influenced by various social circumstances whether natural, man-made or intellectual.

Our simple Sunday walk is anything but.


‘Social Realities’ Help Define Our ‘Social Space.’

Lefebvre’s thinking takes on a new reality within today’s ‘social space’ – the internet. As Lefebvre states, “‘social space’ is a… part of an interaction between subjects and their surroundings.”

Granted, these traditional ‘surroundings’ have shifted from parks and buildings, to today’s digital ‘social realities’ as Facebook and Google+; as this primal need to belong has no qualms making the jump to cyber space.

University of Colorado’s Associate Professor, Harsha Gangadharbatla, supports this belief as published in the Journal of Interactive Advertising’s, Facebook Me: Collective Self-Esteem, Need to Belong, and Internet Self-Efficacy as Predictors of the iGeneration’s Attitudes towards Social Networking Sites. Under the subhead of Belonging, Mr. Gangadharbatla mirrors Baumeister & Leary’s assessment that the need to belong is based on, ‘Fundamental human motivation that is something all human being possess… To form and maintain the least minimum quantity of lasting, positive and significant interpersonal relationships.’ He goes on to say, “Social networking sites offer a space in which people can address this need to belong by using services provided by the sites that enable conversations and information gathering, along with the possibility of gaining social approval, expressing opinions, and influencing others.”

This does make perfect sense. As social networking sites as Facebook, Google+ are more representative of today’s ‘social realities,’ the ability to arrive at our ‘social space’ is more accessible and immediate. It’s a heck of a lot easier to click and scroll than walk and run.


Is There a ‘Social Space’ For All?

Has mankind achieved its true ‘social space?’ Has this shift to a cyber landscape affected how we continue our need to belong? Does the immensity of our ‘social space’ impede the ability to share, or does it simply speed it up? Is it true that just as we achieve this magnificent ability to connect, others are still unable to complete this basic human need?

Research says, connecting online provides inclusion (circle of friends), affection (loved by these friends – hopefully), and control (over these friends) or the relinquishing there of. These are basic human behaviours for most of us, but what about other human beings that lie outside or reject these basic needs.

Let’s look at diversities. Do they embrace social media to enrich their community and feelings of belonging?

Rebecca Sawyer from the University of Rhode Island offers some thinking in her paper, ‘The Impact of New Social Media on Intercultural Adaption.’ Here she extols the thinking of Devan Rosen of Ithica College and University of Buffalo’s Derek Lackaff where these new media thinkers say, ‘people from individualistic cultures focus on meeting new people rather than maintaining their already existing cultures.’

Sounds about right; being new to a country, you will search for a way to connect that supersedes language and culture. You desperately want to belong in your new country or rejection is soon to come. At the same time, you are able to keep contact with your traditional or existing community.

Digging deeper into social anthropology, Rosen & Lackaff’s findings say, ‘Research shows that people from different cultural backgrounds and gender roles behave and communicate in systematically different ways. Findings suggest that participants who identify with more individualistic backgrounds, tend to self-promote and are better connected and more satisfied with their social lives.’

This is pleasing to hear knowing that social media has allowed new citizens to breakaway from more traditional methods of forming community, so they can be more readily accepted and trusted to belong in their new country.

As social media philosopher Brian Solis mentions, ‘…in short, belonging to a group feels good. It provides support and reinforcement, a strong identity, and a sense that we are part of something…’


Social media marketer Sarah Lee, builds on similar theories in her TedxKalamazoo lecture.


Do All Humans Have the Ability to Belong?

Unfortunately, no.

The result of connecting and sharing within a public, social, personal or intimate space provides only envy and jealousy and ultimately loneliness for some who seek inclusion and cognition. New Yorker Magazine piece by Maria Konnikova, cites various academic studies underscoring how most of us want to belong in a ‘social space’ but provides a directly opposite result. For some, gravitating to this new ‘social space’ has caused only alienation and despair; absolutely no sense of belonging and community.


Allow Social Media To Guide You There.

Now that humans have a better understanding of what to look for when charting our ‘social space,’ we can truly embrace and enjoy our journey. We have the ability to navigate the internet’s many ‘social realities’ towards building and experiencing our need to belong, and the community it brings.

There is no reason to be ‘Lost in Space’ when finding your online place. In the words of Dr. Zackary Smith speaking to his robot, “Now come along with me, you ludicrous lump, there’s much to be done.”

Yes there certainly is.

John K. Bromley

Social’s Time to Shine with Ebola Surveillance.

Photo Courtesy of Tommy Trenchard

Photo Courtesy of Tommy Trenchard

Why Social Media Will Be Critical for Ebola Surveillance.

The Ebola virus disease is real. As of October 14, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have lost over 4,500 citizens to the virus and the mortality rate continues to multiply. Outside west Africa, America and Spain strengthen their preparedness in light of serious errors in standard operating procedures. The European Union heightens their preparations with possible new cases arising in France and Spain respectively.

There is no doubt; Ebola is a very serious medical event needing responsible story telling. Media have (a degree of) accountability to ethically inform the public with balanced and culpable reporting.

In which universe?

As before and always, broadcast and print deafen our senses hourly within a framework of fear and apprehension. For many, this seems like déjà vu. Media professed countless stories of doom and gloom in 2001 and 2003 (H5N1), 2002 (SARS) and 2009 (H1N1) viral outbreaks. Each of these influenza pandemics were wrapped with the same predictable means of anxiety and fear.

Let’s face it, news-gathering is driven by advertising revenues and ‘if it bleed it leads.’ We get that.

But what about the new (media) kid on the block?

Is social media merely a ‘media vector’ glad-handing news reports on Twitter et al? Is it not the time for social to stand apart from traditional media and provide a new purpose when telling the pandemic story? The public deserve more stories detailing how the world is managing the issue. Not countless minutes of video loops and talking heads proclaiming why no one is doing anything and how much money is being spent.

The time is now for social to take centre stage by telling the story everyone really wants to hear – surveillance.

After all, social media is the public’s media!


Top reasons why social will help control Ebola

Events Based Surveillance

Bioterrorism remains the number one issue for event-based surveillance (EBS) within the American and European governments. Recently billions has been poured into biodefense in something called a Biosurveillance Ecosystem.  An American early warning detection system wired to analyze and track bioterrorism in the U.S.. Something newly minted Ebola czar @RonaldKlain will tap into, right?

In the 2012 Olympic Games the U.K. implemented an EBS to great success and is now a standard in EBS technology and benchmark code for future algorithms. Considering public participation is imperative with good EBS data, let’s hear some these stories!

As with past pandemics, online giants as Google provided search tools as Google’s flu trends which mapped out influenza hot spots for early warning. Yes, Google was leery on giving away flu search terms as to ward off hackers, but clearly Rihanna or other celebrities have learned and will not claim flu-like indices on their Twitter handles regarding Ebola, right?

Twitter

The world’s largest ‘micro-blogging’ platform now rings in half a billion tweets a day. Plus, as of March of this year, mobile apps have overtaken PC internet usage. This gives Twitter a huge capacity to broadcast from literally, anywhere. Equally, at 140 characters, the communication is more succinct and offers phraseology conducive to behaviour tracking. Past influenzas has underscored the importance of developing algorithms to parse off the Twitter slang and offer accurate data outside of Google search terms.

Twitter also offers Geo-tagging (GPS tagged tweets) relaying real-time metadata. Gone are the days of helicopters following white Broncos, now we can accurately plot a virus’ virulent path by tracking photos from mobile devices.

Crowd Sourcing

Invaluable towards the tracking and eventual capture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects; crowd sourcing is growing as a premier surveillance tool. Groups as crowdbreaks.com rely on public data to help track STDs, influenza, tuberculosis amongst other maladies. This beta site is funded by Salathé Group, CIDD, Penn State University and Health Map and is actively positioned for social integration.

People Have the Power

Social will help the world react to Ebola in a positive and proactive manner. Not by proliferating fear through misinformed tweets, but by uniting together with their devices as one true mechanism to track, analyze and ultimately beat this horrible and devastating disease.

Patty Smith sang it best, “People have the power!”

Footnote: This blog entry supports all the dedicated and selfless work rendered by the hundreds of medical workers in west Africa and around the world. In death there will be triumph and on behalf of all patients suffering from Ebola, thank you.

John K. Bromley