Livetweeting, Pioneering Ideas, and Data Transparency

Pioneering Ideas: How Can Health Data Transform Health and Health Care? – As this blog post says, the Robert Wood Johnson pioneer portfolio is at the famous conference that has the same name as mine.

As I received this message from the PR agency promoting this work on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, asking me to post the information (which I get regularly from various organizations, I pick and choose what are relevant, organizations are discovering the value of social media):

This week, the Pioneer Portfolio will be at TED2010. While they are there, they will be engaging in discussions about what they see as a truly revolutionary movement in health care toward an approach that is more data-driven and patient-centered. We’ll be sharing that conversation on Twitter by using the hash tag #pioneerdata.

I also was reading this post:

Live-Tweeting Events is Dying. What Can Be Done? – Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

About why or why not Live-Tweeting events is useful or if it should change/morph, and it made me pause and do a little thinking.

I am a “serendipity’s coincidence” user of Twitter, so I see what I see whenever I see it, so it feels to me like livetweeting is waning, but I don’t know if it is or not.

Then, I watched the YouTube video posted in the above RWJ blog (which stars some of my favorite people) and thought about some of the comments which were that “data is only useful if it’s actionable/contextual.”

Live-tweeting being potentially useless, data only being useful if contextual and actionable….

I didn’t come away with any disagreement of the above ideas at all. Just a twist – the LEAN/Toyota (yes, Toyota) expression, which is, “Seeing the impact of what you do.”

And so, here’s my tie-in of all of this – I think data by itself IS useful, and Live-tweeting by itself IS useful.

Why? Because if the impact that comes from making it available in the first place.

On the issue of livetweeting, it may not matter to me whether an event is livetweeted or not, or whether those tweets cause me to take action. It does, however, matter, if an event is not allowed to be livetweeted or such transparency is encouraged. About a year ago, I was invited to an event hosted by an organization that I am not affiliated with and summarily told that no tweeting would be allowed. No discussion about whether this could be done responsibly, or whether there could be benefit from the work and ideas of such happening. Just, “No.”

The impact? If I were to be invited by that same organization to another event, I would prioritize an event that’s more open, or I’d decline altogether, mostly because I’m concerned that the interest in learning and growing just isn’t there.

On the issue of data being actionable, I encourage people to think about just the impact of the data being available, and honestly, I worry that the expression, “it has to be actionable” will be used by some with less noble intentions to decide, “therefore we shouldn’t make it available.”

So in conclusion

  • Let Live-tweeting continue to serve as a marker of openness rather than of an organized approach to sharing information. If both happen, terrific.
  • I respect the RWJ Pioneer Portfolio as a “portfolio” of great ideas, and therefore my favorite project has to be the My Open Notes project (official site here), because it’s about making information available first.

With thanks and respect for the great ideas in the above blog posts, and I hope that My Open Notes demonstrates what others have written about for over 40 years, that this topic didn’t need to be researched in the first place….


Ted: Interesting experience with live tweeting this week. We did live tweeting at KP Colorado's Social Media summit on Feb. 10 (#kpcosm). The intent was to demonstrate Twitter to the 50 participants, most of whom are not Twitter users. We displayed the Tweets throughout the 2.5-hour session.

Toward the end, Mark Groshek pointed out that one Tweet had been re-tweeted by someone who follows health care issues in Colorado, and that re-tweet was re-tweeted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The tweet in question celebrated the fact that we had members at the session, helping us brainstorm social media tactics.

Who knows how many people saw these few tweets in that small window in time. But those who did are important to us — people equally interested in health care and the future delivery of it. It was a small piece of a very large conversation. But the journey of a thousand miles …

Hi Steve,

Thanks for writing about your experience! In addition to looking up your live tweets on your live tweets on Twitter search, it would be great to get more information about the summit. What was the focus, who came, and how did you incorporate members and their feedback? If you've posted this somewhere else on the Internet, feel free to attach a link.

I think your example is an excellent one. The fact that you supported and promoted tweeting says something important about your desire to listen to learn. Also, the livetweets themselves don't fill in the whole picture about the summit, but they do create curiosity which would allow a peer to ask, "how did you do that and how did it go?"

Keep up the great work, @KPColorado,


Ted: I wrote a synopsis of the meeting in the Ideabook group created for this effort: KP Colorado Social Media Explorers. But now you mention it, I will write something for my blog. BTW, I just checked and the blog is working fine.

Hi Steve,

Please do!

And…regarding your blog, I just tried to load it again, and I noticed a malicious piece of Javascript redirect code in your header, that tries to send the user to a site full of ads. I checked the source before the page completed loading and on line 163 of your index page is code that looks exacltly like what is described on this page describing a recent wordpress hack exploit.

Truth be told, I have had my wordpress blog hacked before (not this exact way) a while ago, and it involved an old version of wordpress that was sitting on another site that I did not upgrade, so I now religiously apply every upgrade. It looks like this one is easy to fix, in any event,


Ted Eytan, MD