Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Web Secret #115: Apps for All

Mental health professionals are among the slowest adopters of smartphones and other cutting edge technologies like the iPad. As recently as 2 years ago, I recall attending a large clinical conference (over 1,000 attendees) and exactly one person had an iPhone.

This is changing slowly, and that's a good thing because smartphone and iPad apps are among the most useful resources for professionals and their clients.

Once the clinician has purchased their Droid or iPhone, they are often slow to download work relevant apps. This is not surprising given the fact that there are around 150,000 apps in the iPhone App Store alone — with some 10,000 apps being added each month. How do you access the best?

One psychotherapy relevant app is Panic Control, developed by Dr. Laurie Richer, a University of California, San Francisco, Professor of Psychiatry. Her goal was to provide cognitive behavioral techniques proven to help reduce the symptoms of a panic attack.
“The Panic Control app serves to immediately remind sufferers of the medical and psychiatric facts about panic attacks and help alleviate some of their worst fears. It then provides guided instructions on how to relax ... and reframe thoughts via psychologically insightful mantras.”

So now you know about this app and can assign it to your anxiety-ridden client. But what about meeting the needs of your other patients? Certainly you could spend the time combing through apps yourself and downloading them to check out their quality and relevance.

Or you could access meta-apps or "apps of apps".

Dan Cohen MSW, a social worker with a lifetime of experience connecting people with quality-of-life enhancing technology created Apps for All because he believes that smartphone and iPad apps have the potential to improve the lives of both clients and practitioners.

Apps for All identifies the best mental health and wellness related apps and groups them into categories for easy access and use. For example, for clients suffering from anxiety and other emotional issues, the categories include “Relaxation”, “Memory & Focus”, and “Mood Lifters.”

Clients who are caregivers may benefit from apps in the “Caregiving”, “Alzheimers” and “Autism” categories.

Panic Control is one of the twenty-five apps recommended in the Relaxation category.

Finally clients with health related concerns such as smoking, obesity, and others may find helpful resources in the “Dialysis” and “Health Tracker” categories.

The various app categories can be purchased individually for under a dollar each. The entire Healthful Apps collection can be acquired for under $3.00.

Good thing there's an app for that.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Web Secret #114: Social Media - It's Time

Social networking provides vast opportunities for professionals to showcase their work, connect with clients and colleagues, and track industry leaders. Even so, according to a recent survey that polled over 700 workers, only 16 percent said that social networking has benefitted their professional lives.

Of employees using social media for business purposes; nearly half said they used it to access thought leadership, 33 percent to connect with peers and colleagues and 19 percent to showcase themselves or their companies.

Ironically, America's largest corporations are the biggest and most successful adopters of social media. Just check out Starbucks in any of their 11 social media channels, or Zappos - the Twitter king.

Better yet, check out Old Spice's brilliant campaign on YouTube. For those of you who have been stuck in a state of suspended animation and missed this social media phenomenon, the makers of Old Spice deodorant realized that most of their product's buyers were women. So they made an ad geared towards the fairer sex. That was clever, but then they kicked it up a notch - they went on Twitter, and enthusiastic followers tweeted about the ad. Then came genius - seemingly in real time, Old Spice responded to the tweets with custom response ads on YouTube. The whole thing went viral, and the rest is history.

How is any of this - the survey and the Old Spice campaign - relevant to an individual practitioner or a small(er) business owner?

Well first of all, the survey shows that social media is still in its infancy and there is time for anyone to implement a social media campaign if they so desire.

Secondly, social media is inexpensive. Sure, the original Old Spice ad has state of the art special effects, and Isaiah Mustafa, a former pro football player. But, what got them over 100 MILLION views on YouTube wasn't the original ad - it was Twitter, and the subsequent mini videos that feature no special effects - just incredibly well crafted writing (OK and Isaiah who is incredibly hot.)

You could do this, anyone could do this.

You just have to have a great idea.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Web Secret #113: Blog Memes

Jeff Bulla believes that blogging is the most powerful online path to branding. I still believe that memes are the most powerful form of viral marketing.

What if your blog is also a meme?

Then you are on your way to fame and fortune.

Take For over four years, Frank Warren, has invited people all over the world to send him creatively decorated postcards bearing secrets they have never before revealed. He posts the most interesting of these cards on his blog. The most compelling secrets are about religious beliefs, sex, suicide, and love. From this blog, Frank has published 5 bestselling books of secrets. Over 340 million people have visited his blog. He has also become a leader in suicide prevention.

Let's review - as a result of his blog meme, Frank now has:
  • visibility
  • power
  • money
  • the ability to inspire others
Now that's compelling.

Another addictive blog meme is Year of Giving. The concept is simple. Reed Sandridge, a 36 year old unemployed man, decided to give $10 to a different person every day for a year. He writes about the people with whom he intersects. I don't know how he does it, but he comes across the most interesting individuals, who react in often astonishing ways to his donation.

Reed's blog has gotten him written up in dozens of major publications, has inspired other philanthropic efforts, earned him recognition in countries around the world, and given him a platform to promote causes he believes in. The book and movie rights are almost certain to follow.

Successful memes always seem to have an elegant simplicity. These two are no exception.

But coming up with a meme... Not so simple.