Rescuing the Message from the Medium

I fear we’re losing the message to the medium.

McLuhan was right – the medium is the message. But when McLuhan wrote his works, he was living in a time when media evolved in serial stages – that is, for hundreds of years, print dominated; then for decades radio came along; and then television.

Each of these media had their own particular influence on our senses: print enhanced our visual processing while dampening our oral tradition; radio somewhat brought back our oral tradition; and television further enhanced our visual and auditory senses.

Before the Web, people had time to adapt to these media because they came along in different stages. Media evolved serially in time.

But today the Web is evolving all different kinds of media at the same time. Today’s media evolve parallel in time.

The Web is mother of all media.

The influences of these ever-evolving/devolving media come at us at once – not over centuries nor decades, nor even years but months.

So if the media are the messages, what are we talking about? What’s being said? What are we losing?

Soon, our immersion in these media – by choice or not – will mean that the messages we send and receive are the media we use.

The implication of the medium is the message is that the message is a prisoner of the medium!

But there’s something wrong about that. There must be some rescuing element.

We simply can’t be social if the messages we send each other are not messages but media.

So how can we snatch back the message from the medium?

I argue that the rescuing element is Art.

I argue that Art is Technology’s creative twin.

Art has always been Able to Technology’s Cain.

And yet, Art always resurrects. “Art is eternal.” You never heard that about Technology, did you?

While Technology advances according to what’s created, Art creates what advances.

Art is our creation of meaning. Meaning, not the medium, should be the message.

If you want to have a meaningful life in a time where media are proliferating at an an unprecedented and ruthless pace, I suggest you do the work of creating the meaning instead of making turkey stuffing for media.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a lone individual expressing your passion or a multinational corporate enterprise: if most of what you’re doing is fueling the medium with messages, you won’t create meaning.

Any enterprise without meaning is just a shell – an empty medium propogating meaninglessness.

The way to rescue the message from the medium is to keep at the message.

Forget focusing on the media so much – create! create! create!

Create the message so full with meaning that it bursts right out of the medium.

@PhilBaumann@HealthIsSocial

484-362-0451

Exciting Opportunities in Healthcare Social Media Open Now!

Here are a few of the exciting opportunities that are currently wide open for ambitious and talented applicants:

  • Clinical Research
  • Provider Collaboration
  • Curation of Evidence-Based Content
  • Patient Customer Service

CLINICAL RESEARCH

As more and more people tell their stories, converse with others and emit data about their lives, the pool of information pertinent to clinical research will continue to swell.

Developing ways of finding and organizing the data will provide enormous value to researchers, from seeking participants to monitoring the wild. I’m pretty sure that there a few enterprises willing to pay for these kinds of services.

PROVIDER COLLABORATION

In practice, physicians and nurses can’t spend their day on Twitter and Facebook and blogs and forums.

But: they do need productive and reliable ways of collaborating on cases; alerting each other to critical needs; monitoring patient data and progress; coordinating care; and sharing experiences and knowledge and wisdom.

Social media certainly provide possible to solutions to these problems. But Twitter and Facebook aren’t the right places to look.

iMedExchange offers a view of what’s possible.

New kinds of social media will need to be developed. For more on what this means, read Instant Is Not Real-Time.

CURATION OF EVIDENCE-BASED CONTENT

The amount of data and information on the Web is virtually infinite. Worse, the amount of bad data and information probably exceeds the good.

How to provide the best information at the right time? In a world where information speeds like lightening and attention spans are straining, it will become critical that platforms are developed which deliver the right information at the right time in the right context.

The future of content opportunities lies in curation. I’d argue that Curators will be among the new kings and queens of the Web. Opportunities for healthcare are out there for someone to fill.

PATIENT CUSTOMER SERVICE

Patients want connection and service and provider availability.

The continuum of care is vast. Competent healthcare doesn’t start in the ER. It starts at home.

Building platforms that enable patients and providers to connect in safe and mutually-agreeable ways is a huge gaping opportunity for developers.

Facebook and Twitter weren’t designed with healthcare in mind.

Currently, there’s all sorts of talk on how to use these media in provider-patient relations. But the possibilities are constrained by the designs of these platforms. Facebook for example is such an unstable and unpredictable platform, that providers are understandably nervous in incorporating them into their practice.

Not to mention, the issue of boundaries has yet to be worked out. New kinds of social platforms that take account of the healthcare ramifications of social relations from the start will go a long way toward getting buy-in from providers. Hello Health is a great start but there’s still opportunity for development.

THE UNAMIBTIOUS AND RESISTANT NEED NOT APPLY

Years ago when I started thinking about the possibilities of repurposing emerging media into health care, I met a lot of resistance from colleagues and hospital administrators. Back then, talking about healthcare and social media was a lonely business. #HCSM and #HCSMEU and #RNCHAT weren’t around.

I understood: very few people in healthcare even heard about Twitter or RSS or any of this other nonsense (I use that word affectionately). But I also could palpably feel a sense of resistance – in fact, in some case I was met with something along the lines of outright anger. Crazy, huh?

But now, it’s become obvious that we are becoming increasingly connected and these media are staples of contemporary communications.

There’s so much that we can do with Technology. But we also need Art. Art gives us fresh perspective and reminds us of what we’re capable of.

Just like Health, Creativity is Social.

It can also be financially rewarding. 🙂

@PhilBaumann

@HealthIsSocial

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