Venting My Spleen – literally

Utterly wonderful and exhausting day out at OurSocialWorld, listening to the pontificerati of the blogosphere fortell th...

September 9, 2005

Utterly wonderful and exhausting day out at OurSocialWorld, listening to the pontificerati of the blogosphere fortell the end of media, marketing, HR, PR and advertising now that a cheap web publishing tool is available…

Amidst the groupthink, there were some wonderful nuggets of realism available -with ‘social’ software really achieving something: Patient Opinion was one of two star turns for me.

PO is Headshift‘s semantic web project for the NHS.

It lets indvidual patients tell their service stories online, creating a ‘real patient’ record of service quality which all users can thus benefit from. The internal benefit is the ability to decode testimony into clinical language, improving diagnosis, work-load allocation and even epidemiology, I guess.

It is also, franky terrifying in terms of its potential impact on the NHS. It will undoubtedly accelerate demands for the marketisation of the NHS, by turbocharging the debate on postcode lotteries.

It brings back all too readily my own NHS experience this year. Medway hospital managed earlier this year to conduct a postmortem on my dead father’s body without my consent, before I even had time to think about a funeral, feeding my suspicion that his rapid demise had perhaps been accelerated by a hospital-caught bug. While they supposedly changed their procedure in the aftermath, it was immensely distressing. Thousand of stories like these, and far worse, will come flying out of the woodwork and there will be a feeding frenzy of litigation and personal injury lawyers.

Talk about transparency. Here is a market where introducing a little bit of social software could blow out the organisation’s windows entirely.

On the upside, the project sets an extraordinary precedent for actively and openly decoding the organisational ‘meaning’ of customers’ activities. Scrap CRM, introduce social software.

Of course, plenty of organisations have played with this sort of unstructured data analysis behind the scenes, but making it the centrepiece of a new relationship is really interesting, as is the direct link to diagnostic procedures. This is getting pretty close to genuine co-created value.

Charities, in particulat should pay attention, but so should any organisation whose stakeholder relationships are at present unequally balanced and who wishes to offer some value back to its disempowered supporters.

I know how long this project has been in gestation, and I just know it’s going to send people flooding to headshift’s doors.

My other star of the show was Loic Lemeur’s discussion of the Franch blog scene, and social software environment and in particular LaFraise .

Lafraise is a mutual marketing organisation which grew from a blog about T-shirts.
Having attracted the attentuion of the T-shirt geeks, its author has moved it into an e-commerce operation generating 48,000 Euros revenue at its peak.

The model is delicious. Designers submit artwork for T-shirts. Site-viewers vote for their faves. Highest voted becomes a limited 300-off T-shirt run, and the designer of the shirt get 300 Euros. Genius. A self-managing mutual marketing organisation. Made possible thorough the power of community.

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