The Snowboarder’s Brain: Stories and Science Make Compelling Hospital Social Media


I love the outdoors. I spend a lot of the time at my desk wishing I could work outside, especially when the weather turns balmy and I can hear the birds chirping and the kids playing. Since I live in Oregon, there is no shortage of gorgeous trails for hiking or rivers for paddling. One way that I remind myself to get outdoors is by reading Outside magazine. I became a fan in my twenties, when I realized some of my favorite authors, like John Krakauer and David James Duncan, were contributing writers.

Yesterday, I was flipping through the June 2011 issue and read several articles that were really compelling, about Michael Light’s aerial photography, supplemental testosterone, and nature deficit disorder. One that stood out to me, “Some Reassembly Required,” was about 23-year-old top snowboarder Kevin Pearce, whose career ended a week before the 2010 Olympic trials when he suffered a traumatic brain injury while practicing a risky trick (a double cork 1080) in the halfpipe.

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Opinions Can Open Doors to Your Hospital’s Social Media

flickr: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

Amy Berman is a brave woman. She’s been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and recently shared her opinion about a controversial drug in a Wall Street Journal editorial When Quality of Life is Especially Dear. Berman also blogs about her experience on HealthAGEenda ( (I found her post from Jan 11 particularly moving and informative.)

If it wasn’t for Berman’s letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal, I would have missed her story and never discovered the HealthAGEenda blog. Berman’s willingness to share her opinion opened the door for me to a dynamic social media site focusing on geriatric health and introduced me to the mission of The John A. Hartford Foundation—to support efforts to improve health care for older Americans.

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Look Toward the Light: Let Bright Spots Direct Your Hospital Social Media Efforts

flickr: .reid.

Lately, I’ve been reading Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. My favorite chapter so far has been “Find the Bright Spots.” The Heath brothers (who have a column in Fast Company magazine), discuss how, often, when trying to solve a problem, we focus on what isn’t working and try to change it. A different approach, which frees the rational mind from spinning its wheels and gives the emotional mind its much-needed motivation, is to focus on what is working. “We need to switch from archaeological problem solving to bright-spot evangelizing,” say the Heaths.

They give the example of a Jerry Sternin, who worked for Save the Children in Vietnam in 1990. Tasked with addressing childhood malnutrition, Sternin knew his obstacles were immense. Sanitation problems, widespread poverty, unclean water, and lack of knowledge created a situation in which Sternin could very well have thrown up his hands in despair. Instead, he focused on children from poor families who seemed better nourished than their counterparts. He scrutinized those children’s mothers’ habits and soon developed a system based on what he observed (adding small shrimp and greens to rice, serving smaller portions more frequently, etc.). He then recruited those mothers to teach other mothers, with very specific instructions.

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Authenticity Anxiety—Keeping Social Media Real

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about one of our Hive Core Values: Be Real. During my forays into social media, I sometimes feel like I encounter posturing moments—people trying to be clever or cutting-edge or convincing (usually in attempting to sell me on something), in a way that rings inauthentic or hollow.

Since I’m experienced in life enough to know that what bothers me about other people is ultimately a reflection of my own character flaws, I realized that I worry about how I come across on the myriad forms of communication that surround us. Sometimes, I post on Facebook or Twitter or a blog and then think, “Did I just make myself look uninformed (or ‘market-y’ or ‘pretentious,’ or a number of other unflattering adjectives)?”

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“I Think I Can, I Think I Can:” Getting Past The Fear of Posting Your First Blog

If you have kids or know any, you probably know the story of The Little Engine That Could—a little engine who is asked to pull a big engine over a large hill and succeeds by telling himself “I think I can, I think I can.”

When you first start a blog for your hospital or clinic, you may feel overwhelmed, like starting a blog is too big a hill to climb. Even if you’re familiar with blogging, there is still a lot to learn. There are a lot of unknowns—such as how to format your blog, how to write the right headline and the big question of, “Will anyone even read my blog?”

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