Short-term Social Networks

Last week Jeff Jarvis pointed to Bluenity, a new social network for AirFrance and KLM passengers.  It’s a tremendously neat idea: interact online with other passengers on your trip, receive travel tips from the community, and meet them in person if you want.

This social network is interesting because:

  • it’s built to function around a short span of time
  • hibernation is okay; lack of activity with other social tools might get you defriended; use it only when you travel
  • it has a defined, controlled purpose
  • it’s targeted toward a defined audience
  • though not necessary for use, it facilitates/encourages in-person meet ups

Privacy concerns put aside for a minute, short-term social networks hold possibility in health care.  Patients might enjoy meeting others in the same hospital for companionship or finding support from those with similar diagnoses.  Rural hospitals could band together allowing all rural patients to connect with each other.  Or those patients being treated in academic medical centers could find others with similarly rare conditions across the country.  Or all patients in all settings could have the opportunity to interact.

Then, when the hospital stay is over, the profile would go into hibernation and be awakened only if a patient should return to the hospital.  The network could interact with other social networking tools so that friends made in the hospital could be transferred to traditional networks (e.g., Facebook).  An import option from a site like Patients Like Me might also improve functionality.

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