Last week, Laney Landsman and Alex Peterson flew to Austin, Texas to join the hundreds of thousands of professionals experiencing firsthand how digital and social innovation impacts every corner of business and industry at SXSW Interactive. Before they took off, they wrote a prequel to their journey (read here). Now that they are back, here is their recap.

The past few days have been a whirlwind. We’ve played with puppies that are the size of a small gorilla, taken a tour of the Bates Motel, had some of the best BBQ that the Lone Star State has to offer (yes, we drove more than 30 minutes to get it) and learned #technologyandstuff (Thanks, Chevrolet).

Four days, four key takeaways:

      1. The next wave of health tech is about deploying care resources only WHEN they are needed. People are more likely to engage with the health app when they need to measure or track an illness. Having the data delivered to a healthcare professional at that moment in time can help further the conversation and allow for more actionable time with the doctor.  The example provided was that of a woman with two children, one of whom may have an ear infection. She doesn’t necessarily have time to sit in the doctor’s waiting room and doesn’t have someone who can watch her second child. She uses a diagnostic tool at home and sends the data to her doctor to confirm the ear infection before heading to the doctor. It maximizes her time and her doctor’s efficiency in treating.
      2. We’ve shifted from “quantified self” to “quantified us”. With demand growing for patients to not only own, but share their data, how do we use collective learning to make advancements in care? And how do healthcare providers maintain their status as experts in an era of patient empowerment? Of course, there are ethical and responsibility themes at play here too, but the idea is that we have to think of that old style of the care team a little differently. There is a push by communities to pool and share their data to further science. As communicators we have a significant opportunity to help triage this movement.
      3. You may want to engage the naysayers but that isn’t always the right move. It can be really hard for communicators to not reach out when a negative comment posts, but we really have to take a step back and think whether that is the best strategy. Ask yourself, “Will responding actually bring the person more relevancy and unnecessary visibility?” If the answer is yes, stand down and just watch. More likely than not, your community will handle it for you or the post will get lost in the millions of comments posted each day.
      4. In a 140-character world, you have to get creative to break through the clutter. Luckily, Twitter has some cool new tools and we got to hear some experts share tricks of the trade for taking your messages #Beyond140. A few of our favorite tips: don’t duplicate media and copy, try using text over image to maximize space and increase word count, use the new multi-photo card option to get up to four images in a tweet. More importantly, a clear call to action will increase your engagement. The goal of a tweet really shouldn’t be “click through to the website,” instead it should be engagement via retweets or replies. Given that the tweet should be designed appropriately – don’t have multiple hashtags and links. Make it easy for your audience to know exactly what you want them to do. And did you know that any individual or brand could spend as little as $5 on paid Twitter tactics to get lifetime access to analytics?

Based on our conversations it was clear that consumers are hungry for ways to use their health data and are excited for the technology being introduced to help them do so. We have a lot of opportunity to use this high-engagement probability and should be looking to those audiences to guide our content.


You can continue reading their updates at: #MakSXSW.

Just for fun! Check out their Bates Motel Tumblr GIF #BatesMotel: | Check out their GIF from 3M Products #LifeWith3M:

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