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Mobile

Can mobile technology improve mental health?

18 Aug, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Mental health, specifically depression, is in the spotlight due to the untimely death of Robin Williams last week. It has sparked much discussion of how mental healthcare could be improved to reduce the likelihood of such tragedies. One area that has the potential to make significant and cost-effective contributions to mental healthcare is technology.

There are already individual cases of technology being put to good use for this specific purpose. Research from Oxford University has shown that text messaging and voice calls can be used to assess mental health status, provide talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy and encourage behavioural change.  More advanced devices such as smartphones and tablets deliver similar functionality but in more user-friendly ways. Kindly, for example, is a mobile app that promises to connect users with “a mobile network of compassionate and helpful listeners,” all of whom are anonymous. Users can share or receive short conversation prompts in categories like “addiction/recovery,” “marriage/divorce,” “work/business” and “creativity/inspiration.” The app then makes use of an algorithm to try and match the person who put out the prompt with another who may be a good listener.

The app is still in its early days so it should come as little surprise that it has a relatively small community. To help bolster the number and quality of “listeners” in the app, a number of psychology students have been recruited from the University of Southern California, Vassar College and New York University.

Kindly is certainly not the first or only service trying to provide a space for people who need to talk things out anonymously. 7 Cups of Tea connects users with anonymous “active listeners” online and social networks like Whisper aims to let users share secrets online and engage in private messaging. Whisper has even launched YourVoice, which includes videos from those who have overcome difficulties, and resources for anxiety, bullying, stress, sexual abuse and more. Those who want to share their experiences can submit their own videos for consideration.

Another advantage of multimedia apps is that they can draw on a wide range of sensors and capabilities to produce richer data and more intelligent interventions – e.g. accelerometers, GPS and camera. The Mobilyze! system developed in Chicago uses 38 smartphone sensor values alongside user input to predict psychological status and deliver tailored therapeutic interventions for unipolar depression.

What next?

Mobile mental health already has the capacity to transform the way mental illness is evaluated, monitored and treated, especially in poorer countries where mental health workforces barely exist. It is believed that smartphones will soon be able to deduce our emotional status from our social interactions and tone of voice, while wearable sensors will collect data on a range of factors relevant to mental health, including sleep quality, cardiovascular status and galvanic skin response. Fragmented monitoring and highly-personalised ‘smart’ treatments seem to be the future of mental healthcare; a future made possible by mobile technology.

 

What does it mean to be Social at Heart?

11 Jul, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Last week I attended the IAB annual social media event; ‘Social at Heart’. Here’s a round up of key messages presented by an impressive group of speakers, including representatives from BuzzFeed, Twitter, Google and UNICEF.

IAB Social at Heart Event


Social & Content
Will Hayward, Vice President, Advertising at BuzzFeed

  • BuzzFeed receives 75% of visits from social platforms and 50% from mobile
  • It’s better to target small niche groups of people than a broad audience - they are much more likely to share your content with their peers
  • Sharing is the new system of distribution and brands must think about how and why content spreads
  • Memes = Participatory Mass Media
  • “Start with the consumer, do something special” – what are we actually offering consumers that will interest them?
  • Creating content that is relevant will always succeed
  • Do not be the person at the party that only talks about themselves
  • Ensure you’re engaging with your audience on their terms in an environment that is right for them

Social & Social 
Paul Guerrieria, Digital Planner, Google & Will Scougal, Brand Strategy & Creative, Twitter 

  • Google+ is not just a social platform but a social layer that integrates all Google products
  • Hashtags are now searchable on Google
  • Google+ content from brands is pulled onto the Search Engine Results Page for free but there are also links out to relevant hashtags on Twitter and Facebook 
  • Plan for the moment –> Enhance in the stream –> Keep it simple
  • Be proactive around key events but also reactive to events as they happen

Social & Good
Laila Takeh, Digital Strategist and Leader, Unicef 

  • 479,050 tweets and £5.3m raised during Soccer Aid 2014
  • For UNICEF, social = content + influencers + paid media
  • Twitter cards were the most successful engagement trigger in paid social during Soccer Aid
  • Real-time Google Analytics gave team up to date view of what was and wasn’t working – enabled them to be as fluid and responsive as possible
  • UNICEF encourages its employees to tweet in a personal capacity

Social & Devices
Alex Kozloff, Head of Mobile, IAB UK 

  • 19% of the top 50 UK retailers with a mobile site
    have built one that is not transactional 
  • Q4 2013 – 53% of Facebook revenue comes from mobile
  • 4% of the top 50 UK retailers don’t have a transactional PC website
  • 19% of the top the top 50 UK retailers with a mobile site, have built one that is NOT transactional
  • 52% of the top 50 UK retailers with a mobile app, have built one that is NOT transactional

Social & Video
Oliver Smith, Managing Director, EMEA at Unruly

  • Celebrities do not drive online ad sharing
  • No creative device drives sharing more than any other, with the exception of personal triump. Focus on emotions, not creative devices
  • Poorly branding your ad is like throwing away your marketing budget. The average branded video takes 30 seconds to reveal the brand. There is no correlation between level of branding and shareability
  • Pack an emotional punch – videos that elicit a strong emotional response are twice as likely to be shared

iBeacons: a step forward in location based marketing?

21 Mar, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Brands including WHSmith, Macy’s and Eat are using a new technology to deliver targeted messages to their customers’ mobile phones. ‘iBeacons‘ allow retailers to send discounts and offers straight to users who are in a specific location, without the need to open an app, scan a code or browse a website.

iBeacon

iBeacons use a Bluetooth connection to send data to mobile devices from stationary beacons. They use Bluetooth 4.0; a new format of Bluetooth that is built into many modern smartphones. The easiest way to understand how they work is to imagine them in terms of a traditional beacon: an object that sends a signal to communicate its location to those around it. As such, iBeacons only transmit small amounts of information from distances of between two inches to 50 metres.

more…

Helen Morant: Education meets technology in Texas

11 Mar, 14 | by BMJ

Educators and educational technology entrepreneurs have been mixing at SXSWedu. Our online learning platform, BMJ Learning, is thinking hard about its next phase, so Dr Helen Morant went along to the educational innovation conference in Texas to see if we could learn anything.

  • Now we can measure everything, we can start measuring the right things

The most exciting thing about online learning is how we can measure things that we couldn’t dream of before. Everyone knows that time is a terrible measure of value in education, but for a long time it is all we had. Now education and assessment are moving online, we have piles of data that is useful for students and their teachers, appraisers and assessors. What learners do online, and how they do it can all be recorded and fed back to create hyper personalised learning experiences. But perhaps the most exciting thing is that education is moving out of being a woolly social science discipline into something evidence based and important. And we’ve barely scratched the surface of the data. more…

Docphin: a “Bloomberg for Doctors”?

28 Feb, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

This time last year I reviewed Browzine, an app that lets its users browse, sort and save scholarly and peer-reviewed articles on the go. Docphin (the Personalized Health Information Network) is of a similar ilk but with a few key differences; not least its focus on medical journals. Founded by a group of physicians in 2010, Docphin seeks to address the need of medical professionals to keep up-to-date with medical literature in an easily accessible format.  By the end of 2013, it was being used by over 350 institutions in 15 countries.

more…

What does Facebook Paper mean for publishers?

17 Feb, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

The tech community has been watching closely since Facebook went public in 2012 and began its mission to engage mobile web users. News about younger users abandoning Facebook for the trendier Whats App and Snapchat have fueled many a doomsday warning, but refinements made to the platform’s app over the past year appear to have been successful. According to Facebook, an enormous 945 million out of 1.2 billion monthly active users were using the company’s mobile products by the end of 2013.

Now Facebook wants to offer content serendipity with Paper, a standalone iOS news reader app that delivers human and algorithm-curated full-screen articles and photos in categories you select like Tech, Health, and Pop Culture. Mark Zuckerberg said back in March that he wanted to make Facebook “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” However, it seems that the designers of Paper have come up with something closer to a glossy magazine. more…

“News = mobile. Mobile = Facebook”? The rise of social sharing news sites

16 Dec, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

In a previous post, I discussed the increasing importance of social media optimisation (SMO) at the expense of traditional SEO methods. This week, I’ll be looking at how traditional publishers are testing this theory with product launches that rely almost entirely on consumer behaviour on Twitter and Facebook.

Buzzfeed, a website that combines a platform for detecting viral content with an editorial process to provide a snapshot of “the viral web in realtime”, revealed that it had reached a record high of 130 million global unique users last month.

The company  credited a lot of the growth to an increase in traffic coming from Facebook. However, Twitter referral traffic has also surged, with 180% growth in the past year. The seven-year-old site is experiencing breakneck growth, with global unique user numbers up 350% year-on-year.

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Why image is everything on social media

29 Nov, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Social media marketing has evolved significantly over the past few years and keeping up with current trends can be crucial for success. One of the biggest changes we’ve seen is the shift towards image-centric marketing rather than traditional text.

According to Trend Reports, between 65 and 85 percent of people describe themselves as visual learners, which means that they digest information more easily by viewing an image than reading text. It’s hardly surprising, then, that image-based social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram are enjoying such high levels of user activity. Even academic journals, such as eLife and PeerJ, are opting for big photos and a clean, navigable design. Not to be left behind, more established social networks are now adapting their designs to meet these changing user needs.

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BMJ podcasts now on SoundCloud

13 Sep, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

We are excited to announce that all podcasts from The BMJ and our specialist journals are now available on SoundCloud.

The idea behind SoundCloud is similar to YouTube – anyone can post their audio and share it really easily online. Whether through widgets on blogs and websites, or via posts on Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites, SoundCloud users can interact with what they are hearing better than ever before.

You can comment at a specific point in the track to add your thoughts to the discussion, share the podcast with your friends and followers, and see which podcasts or ‘sounds’ are most popular. Users can choose to listen online, or download apps to listen via their smartphones or tablets.

First launched in 2007, some 12 hours of audio are now uploaded to SoundCloud every minute. As of July 2013,  the social sound platform had over 200 million active users per month across the web and mobile. BMJ will be joining the likes of the Guardian, the BBC, NPG and many more who have already established a presence on the network.

http://podcasts.bmj.com

 

Instagram: niche social network or brand platform?

9 Aug, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Even if you don’t use the online photo-sharing social networking service that is Instagram, you’ve probably encountered an Instagram image somewhere online. Instagram’s calling card is the photo filter; a digital layer that gives the appearance of professional editing to a standard photo.

With the new addition of video capability on Instagram in June, it’s a good time to talk about how companies are using this rapidly growing platform for business purposes. After all, Instagram already has a built-in audience with 130 million monthly active users, liking on average 1 billion photos each day.

more…

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