Touch or Tweet?

Before digital – before tools – was the digit. The original digit. The finger.

The fingers could touch, could point, could gesture, could fashion – the tip of one could even make love. Wonders of bone and fascia. These fingers, these first digits, made the first tools, the first paintings, the first languages, the first civilizations.

And now, the ultimate bringing-forth of our fingers, the binary grip of the digital age – the all-or-nothing fascism of zero and one – is poised to render its ancestors into feeble vestiges of natural selection.

The tweet is now metaphor for the rapidity of technological selection and point-to-point connection. The tweet seeks to replace the touch.

Healthcare is now poised to seek out new ways of patient care via digital technologies.

But as it does, what happens to touch – which is more than just skin-to-skin, but eye-to-eye, mouth-to-ear, heart-to-heart?

What happens when we decide to tweet more and more, and touch less and less?

To touch or to tweet? There’s a question.

For we are entering an undiscovered country: if we lose ourselves in tweets and lose touch of each other, how shall we grasp what matters most to us all, the other human digit: our dignity?



0 Replies to “Touch or Tweet?”

  1. Several years ago as a nurse educator – I told my new hires that just because we had dynamaps – that they shouldn’t forgo taking a manual pulse. You could get more information by touching the patient than the machine could ever give to you: the temp & moisture of skin, the quality & regularity of the pulse, and the way the patient responded to touch.

    So it is with tweets? Instead of just relying on digital technology equivalents, take time to manually check in – what is the information that you can get from your patients, your professional colleagues, or friends in general with touch that the machine just can’t give to you?

    1. Hi

      I always took pulse and did manual assessment. I definitely used the tech, but in conjunction with the senses five. (Six if you include intuition – which is a very real sense.)

      The tweet I’m using here is both the literal tweets as well as the metaphorical tweet (i.e. the idea that we’re increasing becoming connected via technology).

      So, yes, with tweets I would say that we use them to stay and touch, but – as you ask – to make the extra steps to connect more deeply.

      In Healthcare, my hope is that we don’t lose the ‘touch’ aspect – in fact I would argue that *because* of technologies we need to invest more effort.

      Our touch and our technologies should work together.

  2. Phil I think you need a vacation, go somewhere romantic with…dare I say it, limited internet connection so you can use your digits to make love. No tweeting for you…..let’s go slow now, we’ll start with 24 hours you might have DT’s 🙂

    1. Nice! I’m always on vacation actually.

      But I could use a journey to San Tropez.

      San Tropez – definitely no tweeting from there.


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