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Language Mining is the New Health (and Marketing) Tool

I've been really enjoying James Pennebaker's new book The Secret Life of Pronouns, which provides a great, readable overview of how subtle shifts in word choice--frequently, shifts in the use of pronouns from "we" to "I"--can reveal significant differences in emotional, and consequently, physical health.

Do Androids Dream of Origami Unicorns?

Swiss artist Matthieu Cherubini was kind enough to share some his thoughts and process behind the social bot rep.licants. is a service allowing users to install an artificial intelligence (bot) on their Facebook and/or Twitter account. From keywords, content analysis and activity analysis, the bot attempts to simulate the activity of the user, to improve it by feeding his account and to create new contacts with other users.


What Your Facebook Profile Can Tell Fraud Investigators

An interesting story in the Los Angeles Times highlights the different ways that insurance companies have begun to monitor social networking cites in an effort to root out fraud. For example, a fraud investigator who sees a disability patient post photos of a recent distance run, might use the photo as evidence for further investigation--or to stop paying a disability claim entirely.

This sort of practice, according to the Times, is pretty common:

Your Friends as Salespeople

Via Springwise comes word of an interesting marketing ploy from Domino's Pizza: They've developed a widget that you can place on your social networking profile, blog or other online presence, which your friends can then click on in order to order a pizza. For every order, you get 0.5 percent of the sale. Think of it as affiliate marketing meets social networking.

The logic behind the widget, as Springwise puts it, is fairly straightforward:

23AndMe's "Research Revolution"

A couple months ago, I noted that 23andMe initiated its first self-organized trial for Parkinson's Disease where the patients themselves have paid much of the cost of enrolling in trials and have invested time into filling out questionnaires and tracking symptoms. Last week, the company announced plans to expand those efforts to 10 additional conditions by offering a $99 DNA test kit to individuals who will participate in the company's research.

Fitness product does social media marketing right

I'm at the Games for Health Conference, which is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Pioneer program.   A product manager from Electronic Arts (EA) gave the morning keynote about the success of their product launch for Sports Active, which is a fitness program that uses the Wii platform.  EA is well-known for its line of sports games, as well as other genres generally targeted at a male, video-game playing audience.

Sports Active is a new product that is aimed primarily at a female audience, specifically busy moms.

Better eat your Wheaties . . . and tell the world about it

Okay, I confess, this post is really about Kashi Cereal, not Wheaties.  More importantly, it is about how this healthy food brand is using social media to build community around living well.  The company believes that "[w]ellness isn’t a race—it’s a journey. And every day is an opportunity to live life a little healthier than the day before. We truly believe when we eat well, we feel well."

The company must also believe in the power of social networks, because it has created one on its website. 

"Waterfront: The Conde Nast of Web Health"

I have to confess--that is not my headline; it is Business Week's. But it is just so perfect that I couldn't resist using it.  A major source of health information online, founded in 2002, being compared to a worldwide magazine publishing powerhouse that has been around for 100 years?  New media, meet old media!

Social Genetics

Via Blaine Bettinger comes word of the official launch of a website that combines genetics and social networking: GeneTree. The company, which describes itself as a "family networking site," is part Facebook, part 23andMe. Users can create their own profiles, naturally as well as wiki-type profiles of relatives and ancestors. Users can connect to each other and build out extended family trees through their ancestors.

Should the doctor be ordering MedPedia yet?

MedPedia, which I wrote about last fall, has gone public. Part Wikipedia for health information, part LinkedIn for health professionals, it remains the Health 2.0 darling of TechCrunch (TC).

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