Social networks: a tool to promote best practices



Previously I have written about the power of social networks to affect health status – and the importance of factoring that in to any bchaviour change effort.



But of course, social networks don’t just affect health status, they affect everything – your career, your choice of life partner, where you live…actually everything.


More immediately, for those working in knowledge management around public health – networks are a great platform to get the message out about new research findings, find expertise in a particular area, and sometimes simply get past bureaucratic hurdles. They are an important platform for the diffusion of best practices- part of the way we translate knowledge to practice.


I am an avid user of social media to keep in touch with overlapping professional and social networks across India and globally. I have been exploring different apps to make this easier – especially when I am running into and out of meetings and conferences with little time to spare.


Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 2.49.12 pmHow does this help me promote best practices? best practices are often best shared through your trusted professional connections, so augmenting your network provides more opportunities to share knowledge with the most appropriate people – and for them to share with you.


I am highly impatient with apps – if they don’t have an immediate benefit, I delete them. These ones below all have the impatient person’s stamp of approval!


Get rid of piles of business cards

I had been recommended Evernote a number of times, downloaded it and then wasn’t sure what to do with it. The hook for me was a component that lets you scan business cards, enter the names into a database and immediately connect with them on Linkedin or send an email. This was particularly helpful to me as I had a huge pile of business cards filling up my desk drawer, floating around in my handbag and in jacket and pants pockets.


Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 2.39.59 pmI also use it on my phone when I am waiting for people or stuck in traffic to make notes of new ideas, to-do list etc – and I can then access these notes later on my laptop.


See details of your contacts as you email them

Rapportive is a Google Chrome based app gathers information from social networks on your contacts and displays it as your contacts email you. This helps build a more personal relationship with your professional contacts. It’s easiest to download it from the Chrome app store.


Scope out people at conferences and meetings

The Refresh app is a great way to quickly scope out details of people you meet at conferences and meetings. Although it’s definitely a bit stalker-ish – so careful. As I was playing with it, it reminded me a colleague’s birthday was coming up, it tells you the names of your colleague’s spouse and lets you know their recent publications or successes. It doesn’t get good results for everybody. I use the beta version on my laptop rather than the phone based version – easier. It could also be useful for match-making, but I haven’t used it for that…yet.


Additionally, I always make a point of connecting with people on LinkedIn as soon as I have met them – this helps me remember their names, lets me get to know their profile better and means that I can easily search them later.


If you have time on your hands…visualize your network

Immersion Is a great way to visualize your email network and who your greatest contacts are. I am not sure this is actually useful – but it produces a very cool visual. Sociolab visualizes your LinkedIn network. The LinkedIn app that used to do that has been retired. Again this is really only for entertainment value.


I found these apps through recommendations from friends and the book Social by Ankit Fadia

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