Crowdsourcing Your Mental Health at #SXSW

Crowdsource Your Mental Health at SXSW

We were extremely proud to have one of our team members selected to lead a panel discussion at this year’s annual SXSW Interactive festival! Schipulite Sarah M. Worthy and former Schipulite Data Analyst Dr. Dharol Stevens, PhD. led a Core Conversation on the topic of “How to Crowdsource Your Mental Health for Free.”

The audience was made up of an array of medical professionals, those looking for better ways to find health information online, and those curious about the topic as it relates to the growing trend of Health 2.0. The panel was a great discussion with lots of feedback and participation. Below are my highlights:

Why Crowdsourcing for Mental Health?

Crowdsourcing is where many people are doing a little bit of the work instead of one person doing all the work.

Over 50% of people in the US can’t afford afford mental health treatment. Mental health issues are complicated and much of  the treatment is trial and error. Unlike other medical conditions, mental health symptoms do not necessarily have only one answer that a doctor (even a very experienced doctor) can diagnose with a single test or symptom.

For Mental Health issues specifically, crowdsourcing can help piece together the puzzle of what is really going on for symptoms that are difficult to diagnose. The idea is that crowdsourcing is a tool you can use to be more informed and aware when you visit a doctor.

The Power of Crowdsourcing

SXSW Part 2 058Crowdsourcing’s power is in its specifics. Reading other people’s very specific accounts can hopefully ring true to your unique situation as well.

The benefits of these personal experiences include:

  • Reading other people’s stories lets you know you’re not alone
  • Seeing stories of those going through treatment may set expectations for what treatment entails
  • Stories of people who have overcome health issues gives hope that the symptoms will eventually end
  • Reading other people’s accounts can also help you define symptoms you didn’t otherwise know how to articulate, or things you didn’t know were a symptom you should be paying attention to
  • These accounts give access to peer support which can be incredibly powerful for those going through any kind of medical treatment
  • When you visit your doctor, you can ask more informed questions to get to treatment faster

Tools for Anonymous Online Searching

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 4.02.23 PM

Many people hesitate to do searches around mental health online because they are worried about the privacy issues involved. If your family or peers cause these concerns, here are some resources to try for anonymous searching online:

  1. Incognito mode in the Chrome browser when browsing the web
  2. Tor – For IP address anonymity online
  3. Duck Duck Go – Anonymous Search Engine with Privacy at its core

Validating Medical Information Online – The Downside to Crowdsourcing

The danger of crowdsourcing is that 50% of health sites have incorrect information. You can combat this by arming yourself with tools to evaluate information online and look for trusted sources.

Tips for Validating Online Medical Information

  1. Verify that it is written by an expert
  2. Make sure it is current & cites valid sources
  3. Look for certifications and disclaimers

Valid Sources for Medical Information Online

  1. Look for .gov or .edu sites
  2. Anything linked from the resource pubmed will be credible
  3. If you find studies cross linked you can look for them on – Sometimes it will appear as though you have to pay for detailed study information, but any government journal is required to release its studies for free after 2 years
  4. Health on the Net is a great resource as well – this organization’s goal is to publish credible medical information

“It’s never been easier to cross reference information online” – Dr. Dharol Stevens

mental health apps to try

Mental Health Apps to Help Focus

  • Mood Tracker tracks your mood over time and shows patterns like how your mood is related to stress, amount of sleep, etc.
  • Focus Booster uses the Pomodoro technique to break down work into 25 minute chunks of uninterrupted time
  • Lifetopix is an app of organization tools help you stay organized and focused
  • Self Control blacklists programs or websites you block for a certain period of time so you can focus

Tips for Finding a Doctor

“If you take one thing away from this, it is that the Internet is not your doctor. You still need a doctor.” – Sarah M. Worthy

The internet will never replace a medical professional. Hopefully it will arm you with the tools to start the conversation.

Tips for Finding a Doctor

  • Unfortunately the best way to find a doctor is still word of mouth
  • Like treatment, know that finding a doctor you like will be effort – it may take some trial and error
  • If you don’t like the person you are working with it’s ok to look for another doctor (your gut feeling is probably right)

Apps to  for Locating a Doctor

(Note that this list was crowdsourced from the audience)

Keep the Conversation Going! More on This Topic:

SXSWi 2011 – The Extended Version

We all like a little closure.  Last week Scooter dropped her South by Southwest Interactive takeaways. Today we’ve compiled favorite takeaways from other  SXSWi Schipulites to share with you.

SXSWi 2011 Takeaways

From Melissa

Photo via (SXSWi 2011 Scvngr feature)

The highlight of SXSW 2011 for me was definitely SCVNGR CEO Seth Priebatsch’s keynote address.   Priebatsch explained how the developing ‘game layer” in the virtual world can be applied to solve problems in the physical world by taking advantage of principles of game play, including rules, rewards, and levels.   He even concluded the talk with a short game involving the audience to illustrate how game play can motivate people to work together to accomplish communal goals, regardless of locale of the players.

Not only did the talk itself cover a lot of real world problems (such as the inherent  problems with school model) and present some interesting solutions, but Priebatcsch’s energy and enthusiasm was unmatched and inspiring.  Listen to the audio of Seth Priebatsch’s Keynote Address

The high-profile presence of Gowalla and their SXSW-focused game of checking-in and collecting stamps throughout the conference was a lot of fun, too!

Also, I attended a panel session called Time Traveling: Interfaces for Geotemporal Visualization. The panel discussed how much data we are creating and storing in online systems, such as Google Maps, now that so many more people have access.

It’s easy to show either time or space/geography in visualizations, but combining them together makes visualizing the data a lot trickier.     It’s a new challenge and new opportunity to create and use tools to learn about history, current events, and trends and also presents new ways for storytelling on the web.

One of the panelists, Nick Rabinowitz, who works mainly as an information consultant with a focus on non-profit organizations, created a JavaScript library called Timemap.js that can be used to display geotemporal data in tons of ways, including progressing loading as you scroll through time.   He and his brother, panel moderator, Assistant Professor and Director of University of Texas’ Institute of Classical Archaeology Adam Rabinowitz, also created GEODIA, a system that visualizes the temporal, geographic and material aspects of ancient Mediterranean civilizations.

From David

We went to SXSWi with a strict goal to promote Schipul as a leader in the Drupal community, and while we promoted our Drupal Monster video, we had a wonderful time engaging the SXSW crowd with a content management system some were new to.

As part of our strategy, we printed out Moocards with a simple link on them, and we handed them out  guerrilla-style.

Drupal Monster Moocards

We got more of a response from DrupalCon the week before SXSWi. But that’s to be expected since the video is Drupal-related. That being said, our promotion at SXSWi kept the snowball rolling. Watch the Drupal Monster video.

From  Derek

Groupon SXSWi 2011

The panel that made a lasting impression on me was by Aaron With from Groupon called ‘Strange Business: Corporate Creativity that Doesn’t Suck.” It was about a lot of things they do that most people see as wasting endless amounts of time and money for no reason. They do fun, interesting things that have no plan at first then actually end up having value at some point (try unsubscribing and you’ll see). My favorite quote was Aaron describing one of their activities: “We made it for no good reason then it ended up having a business benefit.”

At Schipul,  we don’t go to the extremes Groupon does, but it’s good to see the idea reinforced by a large company. Our company realizes the potential of ‘wasting time” even when it may mean lack of productivity at that specific period of time. The Drupal Monster video or Plasma Car races are perfect examples.  Listen to the audio version of this panel

Random Photo Time!

While in Austin, we took every opportunity to live it up: nerd-style. That means Lyndia and I cuddled the xtranormals (you may remember them from @urbanhoustonian’s video); I met Dule Hill from  psych (USA) and The West Wing (NBC)  ; and between panels, the Schipulites enjoyed the beautiful weather on patios with free wireless internet access.

xtranormal cuddlies at SXSWi 2011
Lyndia and I cuddled the xtranormals.


Me to Dule Hill: Dude. You're hot.


We're mapping out the parties that have free beer. Priorities. Nerdery.

Looking ahead

We had a few SXSWi first-timers in our group (including me). Since the conference we’ve had opportunities to apply much of what we’ve learned in small doses. Between now and the next SXSWi, it’ll be interesting to see how we, and how others, expand on information from panels.

If you missed it, I’ve updated my takeaways with audio links to the panels. Check them out  here. And please feel free to share your takeaways and links with us. We’d love to hear from you!

SXSWi Catch-Up: Sex, BestBuy & Gaming

We’re still wreaking havoc in Austin! Here’s a an overview of what I’ve been up to –sending a little SXSWi report to give you a peek at what’s going on here. We’ll take a more comprehensive look at these panels and others we attended when it’s all said and done.

SXSW Newcomer

This is my first time at SXSW. I knew it would be impossible to do everything so I set a few goals to help get the most out of the experience. One of my goals is to attend panels that cover topics that interest me as a woman, a web marketer, a writer and a minority in America.  I have to admit, I’m pleased with my panel selections so far.

The Yoga Panel

SXSWi free hug guy

No. This guy wasn’t the instructor, but he totally was giving out free hugs.

About the yoga though: It was interesting to see yoga offered as a panel. And it was an actual yoga class that any beginner could get through easily. It was a good experience for advanced yoga folks, too. The panel was surprisingly popular and we had to modify a few of the poses for the sake of space. Ari Stiles was a great instructor who made light of the crowded room and kept us all at ease. I left feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day. If you missed Saturday Yoga, no worries. Tuesday Yoga will help you close out the conference feeling peaceful.


The Sex Part

SXSWi panel by Bedsider on re-branding birth control

Listen to the Bedsider SXSWi 2011 presentation is funny, human and interesting enough that it got women to share their personal experiences with sex and protection on camera. They’re also a free support network for birth control. It sounds boring. I know. But it’s so not.

One of the major take aways from the panel Re-Branding Birth Control: Behavior Change through Design, was simply that it’s easier to have sex than to talk about how to have sex responsibly.  Jennifer Maer and Lawrence Swiader did a beautiful job of illustrating how Bedsider has a conversation about sex and protection in a way that women can relate to: through girl talk.

Despite sex ed classes, religious teachings and Maury baby daddy episodes, young adults who say they don’t want to have kids yet also say they use birth control inconsistently. To that, the Bedsider team says awareness isn’t enough, and that part of the solution is to have the right tools and an agile approach to educating young adults about safe sex. Bedsider is a community supporting women who use birth control and rewarding them for getting it right. And they’re doing it all by design and conscious content creation.

If you’re into sex (no joke), check out this evening’s panel on Subtle Sexuality on TV.


Latino Link: Marketing to Spanish Speakers Using Digital Platforms

SXSWi panel on marketing to spanish speaking consumers on the web

Ana Grace and Joe Kutchera facilitated a brilliant discussion on including Spanish speaking consumers in online marketing campaigns. Ana is leading the charge at BestBuy. She presented a case study on BestBuy’s Spanish language website that gave attendees an idea of how to approach this form of online inclusion. Some of the challenges the company overcame included deciding which version of Spanish to use (they went with universal Spanish), and whether or not to highlight special content to try to appeal to their Spanish speaking customers.

The major takeaway from this panel is that in the BestBuy case study, they learned consumers didn’t want different or “customized” content on the Spanish language site. Their target audience wanted the content to be identical to the content on the English language site. Also, it was an integrated campaign that relied a lot on the support of off line (in-store) components. The offline components included helping customers identify Spanish-speaking customer service reps that could help them in the store.


Keynote by SCVNGR founder Seth Priebatsch

Seth Priebatsch Simulcast at SXSWi

Listen to the audio of Seth Priebatsch’s Keynote Address

Seth Priebatsch (founder of  SCVNGR mobile check-in app) delivered a compelling keynote presentation.  The main conference room was jam-packed so we watched the simulcast from a nearby conference room.

Priebatsch proposed a theory that suggests that we can solve some pretty big problems if we apply key elements of gaming to real life. He demonstrated the premise of his theory by getting the audience involved in a little bit of play time.

Each person in the audience had a card with two colors – one color on each side of the card. (Only in the live presentation, not the simulcast ones). The cards were placed randomly. The colors varied on each card and the room was filled to capacity. The challenge: get each person on a row the same color card. The prize: SCVNGR would donate $10k to The National Wildlife Federation.

It was a fairly difficult task. And it was timed –they got about 2.5 minutes to win the game. Players couldn’t get up from their seats (though I saw some people standing). The audience did well and completed the challenge with almost one minute to spare.

Seth Priesbatsch keynote at SXSWi


Branding Panel: Congratulations! Your Brand is about be Obsolete

SXSWi panel #savebrands Congratulations! Your Brand is about to be obsolete.

Listen to the audio of  Congratulations! Your Brand is about to be Obsolete

This panel rocked my socks off. I was hesitant to go because, straight up, I didn’t want to get duped into watching a power point slide show about extinct brands and what they should’ve done. This panel was not that at all. The panel played to a packed house.

SXSWi panel on keeping brands from becoming obsolete

Andrea Ring and William Charnock of R/GA presented the audience with what would be a tough sell to the client of a marketing or branding agency:

Dear client,

Hey! Things couldn’t be better. You’re at the top of the game right now. Your brand is doing well –you’re the hottest thing going right now. In a word: you’re winning. Now let’s change everything completely. Don’t worry.

Thank me later.

Your Branding Agency

Scary. Charnock and Ring painted a clear picture of why changing while a brand is at the peak of its influence helps it avoid becoming obsolete. It’s a form of adapting overlooked by some brands that have failed. As an example, Ring and Charnock pointed out that lots of companies built their brands around selling fur, but cultural shifts made that change. You have to be ready to shift when “shift happens.”  The key to brands shifting when at the height of their success, according to Charnock and Ring, is to find your higher purpose as a company rather than focusing solely on a product.


Stay Tuned! There’s More.

These takeaways are just snippets of what I learned in each panel. There’s more information and takeaways from the rest of the team still to come. We’re taking in new ideas and making new friends every day we’re here. Look forward to seeing more of what we learned as we return from SXSW.  Can’t wait for the wrap-up posts? Follow our tweets to participate in our SXSWi experiences!

Derek Key, Schipul Business DevelopmentDavid Stagg, Schipul Creative Director Ed Schipul, CEO of Schipul- The Web Marketing Company Katrina Esco - Schipul Communications Team Lyndia Makol - Schipul Web Designer Katrina Kakoska - Schipul Project Manager Melissa Lonchambon - Schipul Project Manager Iris McAlpine - Schipul-The Web Marketing Company Michael Coppens - Schipul Business Development

Friday Fun: SXSWi 2010 Wrap-Up Video

Believe it or not, only a month ago we were having a blast at SXSW interactive. Relive these good times by watching the SXSWi Wrap-Up video! If you were unable to attend, or just want to see more, be sure to check out these follow-up blogs to see what you missed! This blog provides a day-to-day update with the bands who played during SXSW.– A wrap-up blog of what went down! – An interesting perspective of SXSW – The official website for SXSW

Drupal Rap – Thanks Dries & the Drupal community!

“Community is the difference between something that is boring… and something that is a phenomenon” – Dries Buytaert

The Schipul Drupal Rap Video, featuring AHughes and Qcait:

Around here, we are pretty passionate about Drupal – one of the platforms we use to build websites (including Web Entertainment Guide and Gulf Coast Balloons) – and what it can do for our clients. Last week I had the opportunity to see Dries Buytaert (creator of Drupal) at SXSW presenting on how Drupal is changing Content Management.

The biggest point I came away with was that when people talk about Drupal (and Open Source technology in general) they tend to focus on the fact that there are lots of people developing and improving the technology, but often leave out that these aren’t just any people. These are people who are extremely passionate – and that passion makes a difference. This passionate community is the X factor in open source that pushes innovation – and often gets overlooked.

“I never meant for it to be so big – it’s the people who made it” – Dries Buytaert

As part of the presentation, Dries showed off things the community has created for fun because they are passionate about Drupal: Drupal Easter eggs, Drupal stress balls, Drupal cupcakes, even a Drupal tattoo.

Our Drupal rap video is something we did for fun because we’re passionate about Drupal. So, I sent it to Dries.   And he posted it on his site! Then he tweeted about it. Then @Drupal tweeted about it. Now we’re closing in on 1,200 views. We’re thrilled that so many people thought our video was worth sharing!!

I wanted to post this to give a   huge THANKS to Dries and the Drupal community for sharing the video! We had a blast making it and we’re looking forward to many more!