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Posting for my friend, Tracy Costigan, and her colleague, Paur Tarini, both senior program officers at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  They’re asking the question "Can We Harness Social Media Data for Better Health?” In their blog post from last week (http://thedoctorweighsin.com/can-we-harness-social-media-data-for-better-health/), they ask for feedback about the barriers and limitations to using social media data to improve health.  They’ll track and share comments left on the blog post or emailed to them at [log in to unmask]. I’ll post their compilation back here if it includes any network analysis ideas - which I’m sure would be very interesting to them.

From their post:

How can social media give us knowledge that can help people live healthier lives and help scientists cure diseases?
While we think social media holds a lot of promise (http://www.rwjf.org/en/culture-of-health/2015/07/using_social_datato.html) here, we've turned down most of these harvesting and harnessing proposals. The reasons for the turndowns have varied, but a theme underneath them has been a sense that the proposals have all been one-offs, focused tests of really early stage applications that are unlikely to move into general use move into general use after the test is over.

Time for a closer look
But we think it's time for us to take a closer look at this question of how social media can give us knowledge and help us live healthier lives. So, let's start by assuming that at some point in the future, social media data is easily accessed, harvested and harnessed for the cause of better health. Now, think about where we are today relative to that future. We want to hear from you about the barriers and limitations that exist between current and future states.


Kathleen Perez-Lopez, Ph.D.
Senior Researcher
American Institutes for Research
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007-3499
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