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Nov29
As The Genetic Pandora’s Box Opens Wider, Wither Are The Communicators?

Earlier this week while conducting Sunday morning errands, I turned on my localDNA.jpeg NPR station and listened to an interview with the founders of 23andMe, a new “web-based service that helps you read and understand your DNA.”  In addition to the NPR feature, the company, co-founded by Linda Avery and Anne Wojcicki, has enjoyed a burst of positive media coverage, including a feature article in The New York Times.  I first learned about 23andMe while attending the Health 2.0 conference earlier this year, as Esther Dyson is a board member.  

After reading a lengthy Wired Magazine article about the company, I was struck by the fact that while there is great excitement about new genetic technologies, there is also a lot of uncertainty.  For example, according to Wired:

“Starting a personal genomics company isn't like starting a Flickr or a Facebook. There's nothing intuitive about navigating your genome; it requires not just a new vocabulary but also a new conception of personhood. Scrape below the skin and we're flesh and bone; scrape below that and we're code. There's a massive amount of information to comprehend and fears to allay before customers will feel comfortable with the day-to-day utility of the site. 23andMe's solution is to offer a deep menu of FAQs, along with some nifty animation that explains the basic principles of genetics.”

 

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Nov27
On Privacy, Facebook & Healthcare
Recently, I wrote about how Facebook’s policies could limit its utility for health communications purposes because it requires that users identify themselves.  Now, I’m highlighting another concern: how Facebook uses data regarding users' purchases to monetize its activities.  The advocacy... Continue Reading
Nov20
Debating The Value Of Social Marketing
As we begin defrosting our turkeys and preparing to receive (or become) dinner guests, our thoughts often turn to gift giving.  While many focus on what they will give to friends and family, others take the time to make their... Continue Reading
Nov15
New Research: Charities Are Big On Social Media
Many forms of social media are relatively inexpensive and easy to deploy.  Given this, it’s not surprising that non-profits have embraced Web 2.0 technologies.  According to a new research study just released by marketing consultant Eric Mattson and Dr. Nora... Continue Reading
Nov 8
Physician Heal Thyself: A Silent Message Can Have The Most Impact
Yesterday, Tara Parker-Pope, who recently started a New York Times blog (Well) after leaving the Wall Street Journal wrote a blog post highlighting a subject I’ve rarely heard discussed.  With Americans becoming increasingly obese, some physicians counseling patients to lose... Continue Reading
Nov 6
Health Plans Develop Video Games For Health
Those following the ongoing effort to use video games for health have had ample reason to cheer recently.  Last week, Health Plan Week published a story outlining how managed care companies like Kaiser and Humana are using these tools to... Continue Reading
Nov 1
Facebook’s Policies May Limit Its Usefulness For Health Communications
This morning, a popular conservative blogger who uses the name “Jon Swift” reported that Facebook terminated his membership because he used a pseudonym (his account was later restored).  Apparently, he violated the “social utility’s” regulations regarding anonymous users.  According to... Continue Reading

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