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Information gravitates to trust -- more from Connected Health (2 of 5)

The session topic: Social Networks, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations, delivered byClay Sharkey (Author, Consultant, and Professor at NYU). Clay Sharkey pointed out the fallacy of ‘trusted systems.’ Instead, he noted that information goes to where the trust is – using examples of how e-mail replaced the original purpose of the Internet -- Telnet and FTP -- within 3 months of its existence. By then 75% of internet traffic was e-mail. His second example: the emergence of Voice of the Faithful, 25,000 members in 21 countries, despite Vatican directives specifically asserting that lay groups couldn’t cross parish lines. He noted the failure of a company called “Medical Justice”, intended to keep doctors out of patient rating databases by suing them. Instead, more doctor rating offerings (RateMyMD or Angies List) will emerge and thrive based on consumer engagement. Said medical Wikipedia, Medpedia, will end up in Wikipedia.

Social networks will happen, because information will emerge whether sanctioned by providers or not.  Ad-hoc non-commercial social networks dominate: they help you talk about what you have, learn who else has it, and interact with people you can get to know in a very personal, online way. He mentioned social networking examples like Yahoo Groups, with 178,000 groups like “Being Sick” or “Living with Crohn’s.” His key advice when asked about engaging non-white, lower income, non-English speakers: rethink service delivery away from web to phone, given the penetration of cell phones in lower income groups), and get to know the lead user in those groups and communities – provide tools for them and all will benefit, mentioning the ‘My cousin knows someone who is a nurse’ syndrome.) Also mentioned Mendecino Safety Net Medical Clinics. (

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