Healthy Media

It’s so true that it’s a tired cliche: The medium is the message.

Marshall McLuhan’s proclamation almost 50 years ago has everything to do with our time.

Media are no longer intermittent parts of our lives.

Print, radio, television – you turned them on, you turned them off. You did the turning.

Today’s media – they stay on. ¬†They’re sleepless faeries. They do the turning.

Each of these media has their own unique properties, possibilities, limits and uses.

What are the messages of these media? The media themselves.

The message of Social Media is Social Media.

So if the medium is unhealthy – addictive, misinforming, infiltrative, distracting – the message is unhealthy.

Those of us who want to make the best use of Social Media for healthcare, need a clearer language about how we can make the Web better for patients, providers, researchers, etc.

When we’re discussing the intersection of Healthcare and social media – whether a particular medium is good/bad for in a particular context – perhaps we should ask “Is this a healthy medium?”


It’s hard to understand what it means to claim “the medium is the message” because we’d like to think that the container and the content are different. The medium is the medium, we think.

Let’s think of it this way: What’s the message of a petri dish of bacteria? It’s the medium: the petri dish of bacteria.

The message of a gene is…a gene.

Healthy Media are those media which produce healthy messages. They propagate health.

The message of Healthy Media is Healthy Media.

If you’re looking for Healthy Media online, you’re looking in the wrong place.

So: what are Healthy Media? –

The cells in your body.

Your body.


You are a healthy medium propagating the message of you.


Sometimes the messages falter – bits and parts of you break-down. It may hurt. It may depress. It may kill.

But: there you are, all the while a propagating medium of health.

Can – and does – Social Media play an important part of staying and becoming healthy? Yes. And no. So you take the best and propagate the best.

But Social Media is not Healthy Media. It’s its own medium.

You, on they other hand, are a true social medium.

A healthy social medium.

What’s the message of your body? What messages are faltering?

Can you find other healthy social media – other you’s – to connect, share and help each other?

Because if you can do that, then you are building a network of Healthy Media.

Social Media isn’t the right phrase in Healthcare.

It’s Healthy Media.

You never thought of this before, but Medicine is about propagating Healthy Media.

Health Care keeps the Healthy Medium well; fixes it when it falters; and dignifies it when it dies.

You, my friend, are it!

You are a healthy medium.

You are the message of health.

The message of health is you.

@PhilBaumann@HealthIsSocialHealthy Messages from Hermes


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