Is SMUG on your first page of Google results for smug?

When I tell people how to find SMUG, I usually tell them to search for Lee Aase in Google, or alternatively SMUG U. When you do that, SMUG shows up as the top search result.

Previously, when I just searched for SMUG, our beloved university seemed to show up on the third or fourth page of Google results which, as you all know, is pretty worthless. Between SmugMug and various Macintosh User Groups, we were far from the first page.

So last night I was surprised to see this when I entered the term smug in Google (click to enlarge):


So in my results (I wasn’t logged into Gmail, so hopefully it wasn’t just a case of Google relating the search to me), Social Media University, Global (SMUG) showed up in position #7.

I’d like your help with this. What position does this university have in your Google results for smug? First page? If so, what position?

Book Review: What Would Google Do?

I’m almost done listening to the Audible version of Jeff Jarvis’ new book, What Would Google Do?  I’ve long been a reader of Jeff’s Buzzmachine blog, and so had eagerly anticipated his book. 

I wasn’t disappointed.

As a former media critic for People and the founding publisher of Entertainment Weekly, Jeff knows “old media” and has been thinking in public on his blog for several years about newspapers and other mainstream media can adapt to the realities of the Internet age. In WWGD?, he applies the new rules he’s observed to various other industries as well. I haven’t gotten to his recommendations for health care yet. That might deserve a separate post.

(As an aside, check out Jeff’s post on Buzzmachine today, in which he estimates that today’s print edition of the New York Times is $2.6 million short of the paper’s target for display ad revenue. That’s for a single day! And the Times reports today that the Boston Globe is losing $85 million a year.)
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Microsoft, WebMD and CIGNA on Consumer Medical Data

The title of this session is Next-Generation Consumer Engagement — New-Age Solutions to Advance Consumer-Driven Health.

Jim Mault, M.D., from Microsoft started with an illustration, asking how many people know how to access credit card transactions online vs. getting access to our immunizations or cholesterol test readings. Not surprisingly, only about half of the health geeks here knew how to get these health records. The absurdity defies explanation.

You’re already suffering the risk of someone (a hacker) getting your online health information, but getting none of the benefits.

Need Portability and Interoperability to realize the potential benefits. In HealthVault, Microsoft is developing a health info ecosystem, much like Facebook and MySpace did for digital photography. Unlimited opportunity for you to share your data, on your terms, with whomever you want.

John Young from CIGNA says lifestyle accounts for most of the risk of chronic conditions. He says it’s not a decision of whether to do consumer-driven health care, but how. By year end 59 percent of employers will be using consumer-driven models. Companies need to design their plans as an “on-ramp” to promote consumerism. He says consumerism could save about $2,300 per employee per year within 5 years, without cost shifts. CIGNA’s offering is CIGNA Care Connections, and he says the key is making it simple. Better choices = improved health and lower cost. Incentives drive better decisions. Pharmacy tools enable consumers to compare specific costs for their particular prescriptions. Next up is a Cost of Care Estimator. Patients will get much more interested in how much the bill will be when they have HSAs and similar plans. 

Need to change language; instead of “coinsurance” need to say “amount you pay after the deductible.” The goal is to build confidence and self-sufficiency among consumers.

Craig Froude from WebMD Health Services works with a lot of big employers and health plans with the goal of improving health outcomes and lowering health care costs. They create an individual profile for each IBM employee, for example, and import lots of data from various sources into the system without the employee needing to enter information. Based on these data he says they deliver personalized, targeted information and recommendations. It’s called WebMD Health & Benefits Manager. He says 1.8 million people took a risk assessment last year, and 43 percent started an exercise program, 40 percent changed diet, but 26 percent reported making no changes. His team’s goal is to increase the proportion of users actually taking action.

Vince Kuraitis, the moderator, concluded the presentations with what he calls “5 New Realities”

  1. Personal control of PHI displaces health care incumbents and puts patients in charge. Emerging reality: Patients say: “It’s my data. Hand it over. NOW.” Now HealthVault and Google are making it practical for patients to exercise the rights they already have.
  2. Proprietary IT and processes give way to open standards and collaborative business models. Collaborative Care Management Networks are required to coordinate care, just as you don’t worry today about using a non-network ATM (other than some extra fees.) But 70 percent of PHRs are not interoperable.
  3. The Personal Health Info Network facilitates incremental advances toward interoperability and liquidity. This has been moving very slowly, but now we’re moving from Ready, Aim, Fire to Ready, Fire, Aim
  4. The jury is in: patients will use PHRs. Conventional wisdom says adoption rates are low, but the emerging reality is patients value integrated PHR systems. Kaiser has 30 percent adoption and Group Health has 50 percent.
  5. Google, Microsoft and others are collaborating in creating a new ecosystem. Conventional wisdom says it’s a battle between the titans, but the emerging reality is “It’s a new ecosystem!”

In the ensuing discussion…

Continue reading “Microsoft, WebMD and CIGNA on Consumer Medical Data”

Twitter 121: Sharing Photos with TwitPic

Note: This is the first in a series of reviews of third-party applications that are part of the Twitter ecosystem. If you would like to write a review of another application, please contact the Chancellor about becoming a SMUG Associate Professor.

Twitpic is a site that lets you share photos using your Twitter account. It’s easy to use; You don’t even need to sign up separately. You just log in with your Twitter username and password:


Then, from the main page you can click the “Upload Photo” link:


This starts a three-step process. First you select your image (I chose for the sake of illustration to use the same image I embedded above):


Then you enter information about the photo, including where it was taken and tags. If you use a real address, the photo will show up in a Google maps mash-up. I’m trying a non-standard approach for this one:


Finally, you enter your Tweet and hit “Post It”


Here’s what the Tweet will look like in your timeline on Twitter:


The link to your photo shows up right after your username, and if people click that link they can see and comment on it.


And of course, their comments also become Tweets:


And from the TwitPic site you can share the photo via several other social networking platforms:


Lest you think TwitPic is just for screen shots, here’s the first photo I shared via TwitPic. I was in San Francisco earlier this year and caught my first foul ball at a major league baseball game.


  1. Sign up for Twitter if you haven’t previously.
  2. Comment on my baseball photo.
  3. Follow me on Twitter (I’ll follow you back.)
  4. Upload your own photo to TwitPic.

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Social Media 111: Customizing Your iGoogle Page

In Social Media 102 we introduced you to RSS, which is a powerful way for you to keep tabs on what’s new in dozens (if not 100 or more) of Web sites and blogs that provide RSS feeds. Instead of having to go to the sites, you can use Newsgator or NetNewswire or Google Reader, and have the updates sent to you.

iGoogle is an alternative that enables you to embed what Google calls “gadgets” featuring the latest content from your favorite sites, all on a single page. It lets you, in effect, create a simple, free blog monitoring dashboard.

I recently heard that Yahoo! said as many as half of all MyYahoo! users never customize it from the default settings. I expect that may also be true of iGoogle. That’s why I made this video screencast, to show just how easy it is to customize iGoogle, to have the latest posts from the key blogs you’re monitoring available to you with a single click.


Homework Assignment:

  1. Sign into your gmail account (or get one if you haven’t yet)
  2. Go to iGoogle.
  3. Click the “Add Stuff” link (on the right side), and then the “Add feed or gadget” link in the left column.
  4. When the box pops up, paste in a URL from any blog post. If you like, for example, you could use this one: then hit the “Add” button.
  5. When you get the confirmation that the feed has been added, click the “Back to iGoogle Home” link, and you will see that the gadget containing this RSS feed has been placed in the upper left corner of your page.
  6. Repeat the steps for each blog you want added to your monitoring dashboard.

Please note that while iGoogle lets you just enter the URL from a single blog post, and figures out the related RSS feed you want to monitor, you also can paste in the URL from an RSS feed in step 4. So, for example, I did a Blogpulse search for posts mentioning “Mayo Clinic” and got this URL:

Which I pasted into a gadget and now it sits on the front page of my iGoogle.

Please note also that you can edit the number of feeds that go into your gadget, increasing to up to 9:

This will be most helpful for those feeds (like Blogpulse or Technorati searches on keywords) for which you expect more frequent updates.

Alltop has several pre-configured pages like this, as described in this post. But you can’t tailor those. You can configure iGoogle to exactly meet your needs, though, and as our SMUG motto says:

It’s Not That Hard!