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By DJ Edgerton (@wiltonbound)

Heres a recent social-media post you may have missed: “5 Trends That Will Shape the Next Few Years of Social Media by David Reinhardt for The Next Web.

Who doesnt love a list post? Its the No. 1 most retweeted type of post internationally.

And a prognosticating post? Thats the No. 2.

And a post using the words “social media in the title? No. 3.*

Seriously, though, this post caught my eye because of one recurring theme: embedding.

Reinhardts five trends to watch are:

1. Embedded identities: your social profile ready on whatever device you pick up.
2. Embedded sharing: the ability to share on whatever device you touch.
3. Embedded location: answers predicated upon your device knowing where you are, and therefore what you need.
4. Smart updates: your device automatically posting information about you.
5. Organizational collaboration: Social networking to get work done.

I know what youre thinking. Hasnt most of this happened? Arent we there?

Not so fast. Theres plenty here that is very close, but also very different from where we are today. And its got huge ramifications for our work in healthcare. Here are just a few.

First, lets think bigger about the definition of “device.” Sure, you can tweet from your phone and computer, maybe even your TV. But imagine a fridge that can tell your running group about your love of the new protein shake – or Klondike bar. Imagine a car stereo from which you can “favorite a new song and then send it to your wife. Now, imagine a blood sugar monitor that synchs with your bathroom scale and that same fridge to give you a full daily picture of your Type II diabetes with up-to-the-minute suggestions on how to manage it with your diet.

Second, lets look at the downside. Im not so sure that its great to give more devices the autonomy to update, but I do agree that this is where were going. Were already running into privacy issues and cases of Facebook burglary. HIPAA is going to have to take a quantum leap in order to catch up with this.

Third, lets really consider that last one. Everyone involved in enterprise-wide communications please just pause and imagine what it would be like if what weve been trying to do since the first intranet finally, actually, truly came to fruition. Organizations have been fighting social networks, uselessly, for the best part of a decade. Its obvious how much power they have to bring together groups of patients, groups of healthcare professionals, groups of advocates. Why havent we harnessed that better for our own organizations?

Reinhardt sums up his image of the future excellently: “Its about ongoing convergence, enabled by embedded identity and enhanced by location awareness.

What do you think? Is that what 2015 is going to look like?

*Statistics may actually be based on nothing but pure conjecture.



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