If you’ve ever spent months planning for a trip, a music festival, or even college, you probably employed a few peer recommendations and a healthy dose of guesswork. Which cities/resorts should you consider, which bands should be on your playlist, which school will help you land a dream job? Here at W2O Group, we’re demystifying the process with forensic analytics. We believe that a brand’s online social resonance is a leading indicator of offline word-of-mouth advocacy. By monitoring digital dialogue, content sharing patterns, and peer networks, we can predict the next “big thing”.

I’m excited to introduce W2O Ranks, a digital relevance rating for newsworthy personalities, brands, organizations, and places. You may have seen the past work we’ve done ranking top universities and health care influencers (Sharecare). As we mature into the Agency of the Future we’re leveraging the in-house brainpower of our 70 analytics and 80 digital pro’s to test new proprietary methods. For a bit of fun, we ranked the top 20 bands of this fall’s Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) by reach, relevance, and resonance across social and digital channels.

ACL is a premier fall American music festival which spans two weekends, features 130+ bands, local eats and arts, and takes place on 46-acres of Austin’s Zilker Park. I’ve often wondered how (producer) C3 books bands, how they’re sequenced across eight+ stages and six days, and who will be the next breakout. As music becomes ubiquitously digitized, social buzz might be the best barometer for who is “hot”. But this doesn’t always correlate with font size and implied order on the official ACL lineup list. Each year there’s bound to be an Alabama Shakes, Skrillex, or Lumineers who magically transform their B-list timeslot into a coming-out party. This isn’t the result of organized PR, it’s good old-fashioned word-of-mouth advocacy. In the mobile age, a band’s rise to headliner status can happen real-time, so the question is no longer “who sells records” but “who builds digital momentum?”

To test the hypothesis we ran the 2013 lineup through a proprietary algorithm indexing social scores from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, web, and digital radio. The result is an interesting mix of established artists and a few potential breakout acts. You may be wondering how Eric Church, Portugal. The Man, and Grimes will drive attendance to ACL. These emerging acts may not sell wristbands, but they’ll probably light up C3’s radar with their ability to extend the festival experience beyond Zilker and into the social web.

Check out our playlist and have some fun with the infographic below. You can play media, follow artists, and share with your friends all from within the image itself. Keep an eye out for future W2O Rankings which could include athletes, actors, sporting events, movies, TV shows, vacation spots, chefs & restaurants, you name it (literally)!

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Yesterday marked the official end of American Heart Month, the national initiative to drive awareness about heart health and cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of death in the United States. Looking back, it’s interesting to see how this national awareness month affected conversation and behavior online. Examining Twitter specifically*:

  • At least 4,918 tweets used the hash tag #HeartMonth (an 86% increase over 2011 activity)
    • 12% of these tweets occurred on Feb 1
    • The second-highest activity date was Feb 3, driven by Heart Month posts/articles from @LeeDeWyze of American Idol fame)
    • The total tweet reach (based on followers) was 16,282,190
  • Most popular handles tweeting this hash tag:
  • Other popular hash tags within these tweets:
    • #heart
    • #heartdisease
    • #hearthealth
    • #GoRed
    • #twibbon (a support badge for Twitter profile avatars)
    • #wellwomenSharecareNow 10 - Heart Disease

On February 21, WCG joined Sharecare in launching the SharecareNow 10 – Heart Disease to recognize those authors who were contributing to and driving the online conversation around heart disease (and much of the above statistics). We thought it would be interesting to catch up with these influencers and see what they were up to during Heart Month:

#1 American Heart Association,
An unmistakable leader in the fight against heart disease (and the driver behind Heart Month), the American Heart Association was highly active on Twitter and Facebook, syndicating relevant information and directly engaging with followers. They even encouraged followers to suggest songs to be included in their “AHA Love Songs” playlist on Pandora. On its website, the AHA also showcased various initiatives, including the Go Red for Women campaign (“more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined”), and Teaching Gardens (“… a new approach in the fight against childhood obesity”).

#2 Shelley Wood,
Shelly Wood remained busy on Twitter throughout February (further syndicated through her publication’s handle @theheartorg). She also reported on industry news, producing an article (on Valentine’s Day) regarding a study of vitamin-D supplementation and its cardiovascular effects, prompting commentary on the meaning of the study results.

#3 Larry Husten, CardioBrief
Larry Husten posted 24 articles to CardioBrief throughout the month, covering FDA approvals, new biomedical and pharmaceutical offerings, study results and other industry news. He also included guest posts from Tom Yates of Sick Populations and Edward J. Schloss, MD. One of Larry’s more fascinating pieces cited a new study suggesting the Y chromosome might explain why men have earlier coronary disease.

#4 Richard N. Fogoros, M.D., – Heart Disease
With 9 posts on in February, Dr. Fogoros kept his readers up-to-date on new studies and information about subjects from sleep deprivation and heart disease to mitral stenosis. One standout piece was his breakdown of a study on how heart attack symptoms are often different for women, subsequently leading to increased risks.

#5 Chris Kaiser, MedPage Today
Chris Kaiser kicked off his February with coverage of the International Stroke Association, producing a number articles including one on the association of stroke and sleep apnea. Also, while not highly active on Twitter, his February activity did increase 500% over January.

#6 Carolyn Thomas, Heart Sisters
Though enduring the loss of her mother (and our thoughts are with her and her family), Carolyn provided 8 posts throughout the month, including a particularly thoughtful and informative piece: “Six rules for navigating your next doctor’s appointment”.

#7 Stephen Sinatra, Dr. Sinatra’s Healthy Heart Blog
Dr. Sinatra decided to start February by driving awareness about heart health, a post shared more than 350 times on Facebook. In all, he posted a total of 15 times throughout the month on his Healthy Heart Blog,

#8 Tara Parker-Pope, Well – New York Times
With a broad range of topic areas related to health, Tara Parker-Pope and the New York Times Well Blog were highly relevant and engaged throughout the month. Her stories during February ranged from statin safety to healthy recipes, closing the month out with a piece on some new safety alerts for cholesterol drugs.

#9 Deepak Chopra, The Huffington Post
Always incredibly active on numerous online channels – across a number of topics – Deepak Chopra also published a series of three blog posts on what he calls “higher health,” through which individuals can learn to gain control of their bodies.

#10 Michael O’Riordan –
Similar to Shelley Wood – his counterpart on this list – Michael O’Riordan was active during the month of February. Perhaps most fascinating were his pieces on why cardiac death risk is highest in early morning, and how retired NFL players have lower mortality and cardio vascular disease rates … well, at least the smaller players.

If there’s one thing for certain, these individuals and organizations will continue conversation about heart health and cardiovascular disease throughout 2012 … even without the push of American Heart Month.

Bob Pearson & Adam Pedowitz

(*Source: Radian6 data)

Disclaimer: WCG works with a number of pharmaceutical companies, including some that provide treatments for heart disease. These clients have not participated in the SharecareNow 10 analysis. Sharecare is a client of WCG.

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Studies have shown around 3.75 million Americans potentially suffer from Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD), a medical condition typically diagnosed among workers of non-traditional hours. That’s around 1% of the U.S. population.

With WCG’s experience in the healthcare industry, we work with companies that provide treatments, devices and other products indicated for hundreds of health conditions each year. But it’s still humbling to learn about a condition like SWSD that affects so many people, and yet so few know they suffer from it.

For greater context, individuals suffering from SWSD typically work rotating shifts, the night shift or on irregular schedules (in other words, not 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.), often resulting in excessive sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, headaches and lack of energy. These can develop into more serious conditions such as insomnia or depression, or even result in serious accidents on the job.

To help shine a light on this issue, SharecareNow, powered by WCG published the SharecareNow 10: Shift Work Sleep Disorder, identifying the most prominent online influencers addressing SWSD and other sleep disorders within shift work industries:

  1. Dr. Michael J. Breus, SharecareNow 10: Shift Work Disorder
  2. Brandon Peters, M.D., – Sleep
  3. American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Education Blog
  4. Lisa Shives, Sleep Better Blog
  5. Cleveland Clinic,
  6. National Sleep Foundation,
  7. Deborah Kotz, – Daily Dose
  8. Anahad O’Connor, New York Times – The Well Blog
  9. Dr. Steven Y. Park,
  10. Dr. Catherine Darley, Naturopathic Sleep Medicine Blog

These experts and organizations expose a shift in how patients are seeking resources and information on how to treat their health conditions. In addition to relying on primary care or specialist physicians, patients are increasingly taking an active role in their treatment, seeking out numerous sources of information. And, in the case of chronic or long-term conditions, they’re following regular sources of relevant content like blogs, forums, news and Q&A platforms, and ultimately becoming a more informed patient.

So whether those suffering from SWSD read an article from Anahad O’Connor, or follow Dr. Breus’s blog, or research the condition on, these influencers have the ability to help patients find the right information, learn how to apply it, and finally receive the support they need.

With the SharecareNow 10 series of influencer lists, the focus is on sharing insights in a way that the average person can benefit and improve their health in a meaningful way. This is how health will be transformed.

Bob Pearson & Adam Pedowitz

Disclaimer: WCG works with a number of pharmaceutical companies, including some that provide treatments for shift work sleep disorder. These clients have not participated in this analysis.

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Original post published at  November 1, 2011

Imagine your next visit to your doctor, whether it is for a routine check-up or to discuss a specific health condition.  We know that everyone involved, from doctors to nurses to pharmacists, will focus on how to provide you with precise care and the next steps to improve your health. 

We’ve always been impressed by the commitment and care that healthcare provider’s exhibit day in and day out. 

But then you leave the office.  And that’s when the issues emerge.

Patients need to learn more about what they just heard.  Since few of us have gone to medical school ourselves, we actually need time to read, absorb and process what it means.  And as we go online, we have to fight through another issue – the fact that approximately 85% of all healthcare blog posts are spam.   What and who can we trust to learn about our health?

Whether you are proactively managing your own health or visiting your physician, or taking care of someone else, you are likely to only have a handful of interactions with medical professionals each year.   Yet, our health is part of our daily life – it’s part of who we are and what we care deeply about — and, as a result, we think about how to improve it each and every day, ranging from whether we should eat a certain food to how we avoid cavities to stopping smoking to looking for a clinical trial for breast cancer. 

 What we do know is that in our search for the right information, the answer is not another website.  It is not a mobile app.  It is not a social media channel.  It is not more advertising.  It is not many things. 

What we need is rather simple. 

We need to empower the world’s experts to share the best information with you directly. 

Working together, as one healthcare ecosystem, we will learn together every day of the year.  Physicians can learn from each other.  Healthcare providers can do the same.  And patients can know that they can depend on receiving the best available information, often directly from their physician, hospital or manufacturer of a brand, device or application. 

When we all work together to “share care”, we create the ability to transform health.   When we combine our collective IQ, we can provide the most helpful content in the form of Q&As, images, videos, mobile apps and more.  We can provide you with many ways to learn and make it more efficient to do so.  We can provide content that you can trust. 

Dr. Oz, who is the inspiring voice of Sharecare, provides the perfect example of what we will accomplish as a team.  He wants to help us transform our health, as individuals, today.  Not tomorrow, today.  And at the same time, Dr. Oz is pushing all of us to find new and better ways to improve our health via education, application and information for the long-term.  When we combine forces with healthcare providers and influencers who know a specific disease or condition inside and out, we have the right ingredients for success. 

We’ll now be providing a new level of insight for our Sharecare partners so they can provide people – provide you — with the best possible information, applications and care online.    Called Sharecare Now, powered by WCG, partners will be able to identify the exact influencers, sources, language, content and syndication network to reach the people who will benefit the most, whether we are focusing on Anaheim or America.    It is an important step towards getting the right health and wellness content to the right people in real-time. 

We hope you join us on this journey to partner and focus on how we can all become smarter about healthcare and become more precise in how we share information and deliver the best possible care every day of the year.

Jeff Arnold                                                          Bob Pearson

Founder & Chief Architect/Sharecare     Chief Technology & Media Officer/WCG

Note: Video of Sharecare Now discussion available here

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The Internet has made nearly everything learnable.  Smart people using the Internet can teach us many things.  A vast, highly accessible platform for communication, coupled with an expert’s talent for condensing complex information, establishes beacons for a world mired in obfuscation, complexity, and misinformation.

Lets look at doctors, for example.  Physicians have the power to teach both patients and students of medicine.  One body of pupils learns to treat the needs of others while the patient learns to treat the needs of the self.  On the Internet, a physician’s ability to share his or her rare knowledge is unparalleled.  Both med students and patients are turning to the Internet for answers.

Our world is changed.  The permutation of analog data and digital access is absolute; in a short time there will be few who recall an inability to draw from an infinite well of opinion and fact at the moment an impulse draws their focus.  We won’t remember a time when we couldn’t Facebook a question and get a ‘like’ or two.  Our reliance on our network to consider the problems we face is primeval.  Even cavemen had tribal council.  But never before has it been so easy to ask.  Never has the wisdom of the crowds been so present in interpreting even the most banal pontifications.  Dinner selection: Yelp.  Movie selection: Rotten Tomatoes.  Lasik surgery selection: Farmville Ads.  We now forge our decisions through social pondering.

8 Bit House MD
8 Bit Dr. House


Websites like WikiAnswers and Sharecare (client), and features like Linked In Answers and Facebook Questions are popping up all over the Internet.  For some people, entering vague keywords into Google and WebMD is an unrewarding process.  The search results can be unwieldy and the answers can come from just about anywhere.  On Linked In, you can see who is answering your questions, and if they’re in your network, there is a higher probability that you’ll trust their answer over something you read through Yahoo answers or on Wikipedia.  This is truer with health related questions.  Sharecare will sometimes even give you answers from licensed medical professionals, who dispense their advice with caveats for your protection.

Pharmaceutical and beauty companies alike are employing physicians’ world-over to answer questions on online forums, advise tweet-chats, and write expert opinions in blog posts.  Physicians need to be aware that not only are their patients getting information about their health needs on the internet, they’re starting to expect medical advice via social networks.  If I can find everything else I’ve ever wanted to know about the world around me through questioning my social networks and the tools that expand them, why can’t I learn what to take for this lump?  Well, there are many reasons why I can’t, but the fact that I’m even asking represents a change in the way I think about learning.

This trend isn’t going away, because if you haven’t realized, asking the network is a behavior we were born with.  Instead of neglecting the digital clamor, purveyors of answers would do better to listen—even if they intend to never respond.  Doctors: people will listen to your caution, but only if you warn them.  Make sure people know it takes testing and observation to make a diagnosis.  Make sure patients aren’t trampling on the sensitivity of your consideration by taking the articles they encounter online to heart.  People will always ask questions.  Better for you to be there to answer them than not.


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