A Healthcare Social Media Lesson from Delicious

It was Del.icio.us. You could bookmark tasty treats you found online, put little tags on them and store them online for snacking later from anywhere in the world. Delicious not only offered us a new way to manage and categorize information – it helped to bring for a new way of sharing with others and finding it from others. Classification and curation. Delicious.

It appears that Yahoo, which acquired Delicious five years ago, will be shutting down the bookmarking service. Whether or not the service somehow stay up or be acquired remains to be seen.

But there’s a lesson to be learned here about getting overly excited and reliant on social media, especially in a healthcare context.

It’s a reminder that the Web is fluid, always shifting, always evolving. Change can be instant, brutal and terminal. The Internet is brusque.

But this tenuousness is also a welcome feature: it enables destruction of satus quos and creates pathways for innovation.


2010 marked an advancing year in healthcare social media: we’ve seen more providers enter the Twitter stream; the public at large is paying more attention to how social software and healthcare intersect; and healthcare application development has left the tarmac.

So it’s been good that we’ve had conversations about social media and healthcare. But sometimes those conversations get a little bit overly excited about these tools – although they’re important, they aren’t that big of a deal. Put it this way: what’s big today might be gone tomorrow. (If you’re not offended by passionate language and dark sarcasm, click this and come back.)

Patients who actively use social media as a way to track their information need to be mindful of what can happen to their data. Same for life sciences researchers, nurses, physicians and other professionals.

The lesson of Delicious is that you must have a big picture view of what social technologies are, their influence on culture and how richly new systems can grow on top of them. If you over-invest in these tools, you risk over-exposure to the consequences of the risk inherent in the Internet’s tenuousness.

For Healthcare and Life Science Enterprises, having procedures for backing up content, social graphs and communications is a must.

Even individuals aught to consider that. I’ve built a vanity backup for most of my web presence on PhilFeed. I backup the database there in cast Twitter or other sites implode. You might consider the same (you can always make it private).

If you never used Delicious, check out Marshal Kirkpatrick’s post.


In light of the news of Delicious: a little tip.

If you are a Delicious user, consider Diigo. You can import your Delicious bookmarks to Diigo.

Unlike Delicious, Diigo has always evolved the service: in addition to bookmarking, it offers features like highlighting and annotations. It offers Web, desktop, iPhone, iPad and Android access. You can even save your Favorite tweets.

Diigo is a bit like Delicious meets Evernote meets Amplify.

I used to use Diigo a couple years ago (I haven’t bookmarked much publicly, but it used to be a great enhancement to my blogging). With Delicious’ future in the air, I might just do that – knowing full well that it could go poof! like Ma.gnolia.

When deciding on how to allocate your web presence, remember four things: 1) keep it simple; 2) be focused; 3) invest in a good pen; and 4) buy a Moleskine.


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