The Problem with HealthUnlocked

HealthUnlocked had an interesting idea. Let health partners create groups on their platform targeted at specific patients. If it works, they would build a community where groups are managed by partners driven to help their patients achieve their best outcomes.

Alas, I just visited 20 randomly selected groups from the 500+ on HealthUnlocked. At best, they had one or two posts in the past week. The overwhelming majority were dead. If I visited all 500, I suspect I’d find a similar result. The future isn’t looking good for the social network.

The problem is largely a lack of good leaders. The majority of groups seem to have no-one with the community skills to start discussions, welcome members, drive discussions and reach out to those who haven’t participated in a while.

There are plenty of good ways to nurture leaders, but HeathUnlocked doesn’t appear to have taken any of them. When you allow people without the right skill, motivation, or time to manage a community you wind up with lots of dead groups.

If I were in charge, I’d immediately move any groups with >10 posts per week (almost all of them) into an Area51 style nurturing zone and double-down resources on the groups which are working.

I’d demand every organization commit a member of staff or trained volunteer to manage the group, check their processes for guiding people to the group and welcoming them, guide each leader through a training program, and set minimum expectations of participation.

Now members would see the best groups in the community and could choose to help new groups get started.

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