Vicarious Media





Let’s be honest: the media we have begun to use aren’t exactly social.

“Social” means living or communicating or collaborating directly with other people: I like you. I don’t Like you.

As we Like, RT, Share and + away, what we’re doing is pushing buttons which activate vicarious ecosystems.

The platforms that engender these ecosystems are Vicarious Media.

Vicarious Media do enable certain kinds of indirect connections among people, but it’s information accumulation through other people’s media, not with them.

Yes, we can say that there are/is Social Media.

But: living socially and living vicariously are vastly different from each other.

Please don’t confuse the two.

Ethics and Health in Social Media

We don’t talk much about the ethics involved with social media, especially in Healthcare where it matters most.

Why not?

Is because everybody is so absorbed with “how to use social media to______”?” that ethics isn’t even a thought?

We developed schools of ethics because ethical issues can be hard to spot on the surface. A general “be kind, be good” doesn’t cut it. No matter how good we are, it can be easy for us to commit ethical slips.

What are the ethics of following patients on Foursquare (a geolocation service)? Yes, geolocation has it’s place in health care and crises. But isn’t it a bit weird that hospitals would follow people’s check-ins, especially when most check-ins have nothing to do with any kind of health care?

What are the ethics of scouring public posts, tweets, status updates, etc.? Can researchers mine public data without any ethical restraint just because that data are public?

We aught not carry a dismissive attitude about what doors social media are opening up.

Just because a tool creates a new opportunity for you, it doesn’t mean you have to use it.


The discourse and assumptions and philosophies we adopt right now – today, this very year, this very moment – will forever shape the kind of civilization we make. Let’s call it ethical lock-in.

Do you not realize how transformative this age – this momentous, changing-right-before-your-eyes age – we live in is becoming every day?

Do you not see how Twitter can be used by the charming Hitler’s of the world to lead us into destruction? Remember: evil empires always slip in theough the cracks unfilled by dismissive peoples. Tweet by Hilter:


Adolf Hitler


RT @.FDR The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. << Except…Adolf Hitler, bit*ches! LOL

March, 1933 via UberTwitter

The above tweet sounds absurd: but it’s physically possible – had Twitter been around in the 1930s, it would have shaped the course of history. I don’t mean any offense or lightening of history – the point is that a dictator could very easily use these media to exploit entertainment and spectacle to throw his evil into the shadows under the guise of “that whacky guy”. Would you follow Hitler on Twitter? It’s an ethical question: follow him and you help build his “following” and thus boost his ego and possible reach; block him and you might not see what he’s up to.

What are the ethics of a hospital following patients? No right or wrong answer per se. But there are ramifications to following on Twitter – I can use software to see who a hospital follows (and who follows a hospital), map out all the connections, mashup dashboards of content – metadata – and use that for purposes nobody even considered when they hit the follow button. Just a thought. What if an insurance company did exactly that?

Do you not see how boundaries on Facebook can be easily violated?

Do you not see that a conversation in an elevator is not the same thing as a tangle of @ replies on Twitter? We do not live in a linear universe – the online world is *not* necessarily a mirror of the offline one: to believe that is an error of logic –

Do you not see how geolocation services can open wide the chance for governments to achieve their long-dreamt hope of the perfect Security State?

Do you not see how the Facebook Wall might be like Plato’s Wall? This is important – for if we do not understand our reality, how can we form ethics?


I’m not saying these media are all bad.

I am saying that we owe it to ourselves to think critically.

But I suspect that our dopamine receptors may be getting too full to deal with the hard brain-work which all ethical discourses require.

Hurry – the window for us to create healthy and democratic spaces on the Web is fast-closing.

An unhealthy and unethical civilization creates unhealthy and unethical people until it vanishes.

Healthcare professionals (including marketers) have a duty – and a right – to scrutinize the ethics of how social media is used; how they influence our health; and how to ensure that social media’s deceptive simplicity ramifies and complexifies ethical matters we take for granted.

If you truly love social media and don’t think this is a big deal, then why would you be afraid to have your ideas filtered through the rigor of critical examination?

The question mark is the ultimate social medium.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter


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?



Here Comes Nobody


Here’s a question: What if the next several years of social media evolution are actually going to act as tsunamis against Marketing?

We’ve all heard about the power of Facebook, Blogging, Youtube, Twitter, mobile applications, etc. as new tools for marketers to reach their targets, engage them and reduce the cost of marketing.

There will be successes, no doubt. We’ve seen them already. But what if those are exceptions? What if, in the big scheme of things, social media is radically fractionalizing people’s attention to the point of making most marketing efforts less effective than under the times of traditional media?


What if what we’re seeing today is the ocean water ebbing out and we’re all fascinated with the open sand and slipping water, not realizing what’s really going on way out beneath the waves.

What if the cleared beach we’re looking at – one that looks full with possibility and opportunity – is a set-up for a gigantic disappointment? That a tsunami is underway and that when the waves crash back onto land, a massive onslaught of destruction will tumult the curious to waste.

And there it is: a beach with nobody.

I’m not asserting that this is the case. I’m simply questioning it.

Think of it: as content grows and grows, and as more media evolve, and as people continually change where and how they use today’s technologies, how expensive might it be to reach targets?

Not only to reach and engage in the moment – but do so on a long-term basis. One-hit wonders won’t do.

And still, after all that hard work: what if nobody shows up?

We used to have a limited number of television, radio and print channels. Curators and gate-keepers were easier to identify and could determine the fate of a brand, given enough money and might.


But the Web is eroding that. It’s the Great Creator and Destroyer.

The Web is like an electronic Shiva. (Brand designers may want to click that link – you’ll need to fascinate: you do that with powerful and dynamic symbolism.)

For while the Web is giving anybody in the world the power to produce content and market their message, the power of organizations to control their messages dilutes precipitously as the number of channels swell.

Clay Shirky declares Here Comes Everybody.

But what if nobody comes?

What if you spend money and other resources and nobody comes? Or people come, but only at first or occasionally, or at the wrong time?

Are Healthcare communicators and marketers going to excel in today’s landscape?

Will Public Health messages and campaigns convey far enough and long enough? Or will they simply get retweeted, Liked, blogged, mobile-applicationified…and then forgotten?

Is the Web a good thing or a bad thing for Marketing?

I can’t answer that. Opinions don’t matter – only data and information and proper interpretation do.

I will claim, however, that the Web has made – and will continue to make – Marketing a much harder job than it’s every been.

Maybe what’s about to happen is a Great Marketing Destruction, to be followed – after years – by a Great Reconstruction Period.

Maybe the the next decade of Marketing belongs not so much to the Creatives. Perhaps it belongs more to the Destroyers – to those who can fearlessly ride the fire searing around Shiva’s dance.

Creation and Destruction are, after all, two sides of the same hand.

Be optimistic. As a reminder of the hard work before you, however, consider placing a sign nearby:

Here Comes Nobody.

So: what do you do? Here’s the secret:

Love is the wielding between creation and destruction.

You must love what you do.

Everybody loves to be loved. Love turns nobody into somebody.

@PhilBaumann@HealthIsSocial – Our Destructive Newletter


What If FDA Mandated Pharma to Use Social Media?

FDA announced that it would delay guidelines on digital marketing until end of Q1 2011. You can read up on it over on Advertising Age here.

Now, much of the attention to this matter – the concerns about Adverse Event reporting, Fair Balance, HIPAA, etc. – has focused on getting FDA to offer guidance on how the regulated life sciences industries can participate in 21st Century media.

It’s a huge issue, fraught with all sorts of nuances (do we need FDA-compliant tweets for goodness sake?) and under-the-hood considerations (data in sharing widgets, etc.).

FDA could go anywhere with this matter. There’s been debate if FDA even fully understands the properties of emerging media and how they all inter-relate. FDA could set a very tight leash on marketing – which would also limit the industry’s ability to interact with patients in ways that could be beneficial.

But one scenario which I’m not sure has been pointed out. What if FDA went in an almost opposite direction. What if FDA actually said to the industry:

We want you to have social media presences so that you can monitor for Adverse Events, track conversations about your products and be immediately available on social networks in cases of public health emergencies.

Furthermore, what if FDA mandated that companies collect, document and store all tweets, blog posts, Facebook status updates and all other public communications?

And not only company-generated communications, but any communications to the companies (e.g. mentions on Twitter). And that the databases be readily subject to audit.

It’s just a thought.

I can’t imagine FDA going this way without at the same time putting a leash on what companies can do.

So what if the following happens? Pharma gets the craziest of both worlds: a mandate to establish digital presences while being limited in what it can actually do. o_O

I don’t know. My sense is that the whole project will be a mess.

The more you think about these peculiar regulatory problems – the deeper you think about all the nuances – you realize how twisted the Web is making things.

Maybe what’s needed isn’t so much social media guidance.

Maybe what’s needed is an entirely different model of regulation: a different regulatory agency, a different Pharma marketing mindset and a better way to deliver molecular and mechanical solutions to human health problems.

Yeah, looks like the Web done gonna ruin a long drug party. 😉


Is Health Social?

Health Is Social. That’s the name and premise of this blog. Some may think it refers to just social media in the context of healthcare. It’s actually a lot more: it’s about connecting the entire spectrum of what we call health.

Kathi Apostolidis, who blogs about health and social networking and is active in conversations about the future of healthcare, tweeted this:

My good man Dave deBronkart (@epatientdave), who passionately advocates for healthcare to pay more attention to the patient (you know, that thing that’s sorta kinda important?), asked me to expand on my claim that the entire proposition of healthcare is social. So here goes.


The word “social” often conjures up images of people-to-people relationships, gatherings or communication. One word that captures of the essence of these things: connection.

And it’s connection that finds its way throughout Healthcare, Life Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Biology, Genetics…everything.

The self-assembling polymers that compose the cells that house the genes that produce the proteins that structure the mechanisms that run the systems which power our bodies – all of these things are involved in simple and complex social connections and relations.

Now, polymers nor cells nor neurons don’t have the kinds of consciousnesses needed to power our kind of Social.

But if you pan back from the level of molecules to the level of the cocktail party to the level of cities, you will find fractals of behavioral patterns demonstrating the pervading laws governing all things. (Even quantum mechanical behaviors involve their own kinds connectivity and fractal patterns.)

These patterns, these behaviors, are social. If they weren’t social – if they weren’t connecting – we wouldn’t be here.

We’ve already inched towards describing technology as social: Social Media currently the most famous.

For all of today’s current fascination with Social Media, however, the number of “non-social” uses of these technologies will far exceed the people-social uses.

For example, machines will tweet, follow each other and process millions of other tweets in seconds. They will be the true power tweeters.

Medical devices will communicate with each other; pull and push data into distant servers; and collate, assemble and overlay data to produce innovative images of the human body.

Naturally, people-social activities will feature prominently in Healthcare: they always have, always will.

More and more, patients will seek out connection with others. For information. For support. For clarification. For networking. For dignity.

So when we think about the effects of technology on healthcare – and the healthcare effects of technology – we need to probe beyond “social” in the sense that we commonly use the word. Social is a small part of a larger party, and the party is Connection.

So it is within and without your body: you have connections to your caregivers; your brain is connected to your spinal cord; your hip bone is connected to…well, you can see where this could go.

You have connections with your friends. You have financial connections to some bank account’s database. You have connections to a brand (a product, an idea, a religion). Servers are connected to other servers.

Connections of various kinds surround you. People-social is one frequency along a vast spectrum of connection.

And there are hybrid connections: you’re in a connecting relationship with your mobile device. Is it a conventionally social relationship? No – but today’s media are increasingly becoming the primary media through which people-social connections are made.

“Health is social” is simply a conceptual way to unify what appears to be a dauntingly disparate and intricate field of knowledge and activity.

Even in physician, nurse and researcher collaboration it’s the social connections which propel the care and science forward. And now we have non-social social technologies which will enable a renaissance in how providers and scientists discover and share and validate.

Are you getting to see what “health is social” means?





Holistic. Holy.

Our linguistic roots, like our evolutionary genesis, run deep. It’s rather remarkable that an ancient utterance representing wholeness has replicated and wound its way into our vernacular. Health. Heal. Wholeness.

A whole is a connecting of several parts.

A “healthy” body is a well-connected system of interacting systems composed of more interacting systems and so on down to the quark.

A disease is a disconnection. A neoplasm is a disconnection from the process of cellular death.

And yet: there is no clear separation between what we call health and not-health. Having a disease does not in itself make you “unhealthy”. You are not defined by the connections and disconnections transpiring within your body.

And this brings us to the intersection of Health and Social.


Those fractals I mentioned earlier?

Well, the cells in our body socialize and recruit and mobilize around objects. They connect and disconnect.

We do the same thing. It’s just that the complexity of our consciousness enables a seamless form of connecting we call Social. Consequently, it’s easy for us to overlook the less obvious socializing whirring deep within us and far across the universe.

If we limit our conception of Social to strictly people-social, we exclude an entire universe of connections upon which we utterly depend. It’s paradoxical, but we can’t be social creatures without being social with the non-human world.

As technologies infiltrate, expand, empower, embed into us, and fly farther beyond the grasp of the hands which make them, we will have to understand the profundity of the connections which surround us.

For no matter how distant Technology travels, we are now inextricably connected to it.

Healthcare is itself a technology. We’ve been lucky so far to have doctors and nurses and other human beings involved in this unique kind of technology.

And so if we wish to continue to embed the human elements within the technical ones, we will need a mindfulness of what Health and Social are fundamentally all about.

Technology is a way of thinking and perceiving and being. If we lose ourselves to a technological view of the world, we lose the human. We lose our health. We lose our wholeness.

The difference between a Jedi and a Sith lies in their views of the world: a Jedi sees it with human eyes; a Sith views it through technological lenses.

Imbuing our relationship with technologies, such as Healthcare, with a Social way of thinking and perceiving and being is how we can keep Healthcare human.

Health is social. Social is health.


Windows and Mirrors – The Rise of Inadvertent Narcissism

A window shows you a world beyond you.

A mirror shows you…you.

The world turns on windows and mirrors.

What you view has much to do with what you know and feel and are – and what you can become.

And the medium that provides the view has much to do with what is seen.

Windows and mirrors are media.

Depending on the composition or the condition of the media, you get interesting variations on their properties. For example, a window can act as a mirror if the angle of the lighting is right.

But while windows can be mirrors, mirrors usually remain…mirrors – once they become mirrors, it’s hard to get them to show you worlds beyond yourself.

There are certain media which can be both windows and mirrors. That’s what’s so peculiar about Web media.

Google is a medium. It’s a window. It displays views of the world beyond yourself. But as you use Google more and more, it returns views of the world based on your search history. The window of Google slowly turns, query by query, into a peculiar mirror. In a way, the longer you Google the world, you begin to Google yourself.

Twitter is a window. It’s also a mirror. Your tweet is a window to someone else…then she retweets it and you see your tweet reflected on your screen.

Facebook is a window. It’s also a mirror.

Youtube is a window. It’s also a mirror.

Yes, the more you use social media, you grow more lenses through which to view the world. What’s more interesting: you get to view the lenses of other people, and to view the world through those lenses.

It’s all very cool and can be very useful. Mind-expanding really.

But these media – like actual windows – can easily turn into mirrors.

The real-time stream of tweets and Facebook updates conveys billions of tiny window-bits.

If you stand by the running flow of water, you catch glimpses of entire worlds beyond yourself.

The stream gleams and glitters like no other.

If all you do, however, is to lean over the surface of the stream, those windows will – almost imperceptibly – flip into mirrors.

Yes, this is like the story of Narcissus and Echo. (“Echo Chamber” has more meaning to you now, doesn’t it?)

Whether the Web is a good or bad thing for us depends on how much it carries us closer to a new kind of narcissism:

Inadvertent Narcissism.

Only the Web could help to create a beast like that: Inadvertent Narcissism.

I know you don’t mean to be a narcissist. Neither do I.

But given enough tug and pull, if we don’t pay attention to the world outside us and confuse the media for the message, that’s what we’ll all become. A Web of inadvertent narcissists.

When that happens, we will have become a Sibling Society.

A sibling society is not capable of democracy nor leadership nor peace. For there is no vertical structure of life experience – it’s all horizontal and two-dimensional. A hall of mirrors.

It’s the kind of society where the few with the ambition to rise above the cacophonous horizon leap to acquire all of the rights of adults with none of the responsibilities.

It’s a society where children grow up to be children. It sounds like fun. Except for one thing: when children raise children, child abuse is inevitable.

It only ends in a war of all against all. Sibling rivalry.

Dear friend:

Treat these windows with great care. We are gifted with them. Open them up. Use them. Share them. Look through them.

Just know: the longer you use these windows, and the less you peer through them, you will – without much notice – be looking at them.

The fundamental challenge of this century isn’t so much the upending disturbances of the Web, nor geopolitical battles, nor global economic collapse, nor famine.

No, the most difficult challenge of our time will be to become who we are without becoming each other.


Professional Development in the Age of Social Media

Proficiency begets accomplishment. Continual investments in talent-expansion needed to take on greater challenges almost always ensure continual return.

In an age where media continue to evolve, the value of professional development appreciates.

Once organizations get over the hump and hype of social media and begin investing in the long-term discipline needed reap any kind of return (however that’s defined and targeted), three biggest challenges come into clear view:

  • Resource-allocation
  • Logistical planning
  • Process execution

Common to all three of these: Professional Development.

In the last few years, there’s been a ton of fuss over social media? What’s it about? What’s the big deal, really? Well, aside from technophilia and our fascination with connection, play, exchange and intravenous information highs, I think that at the back of many executives’ heads is something like this:

How are we going to actually do this? What exactly are we going to need to allocate to this and how? How much is this going to cost us – in terms of dollars, effort, time and risk?

These are all legitimate concerns – in fact, it’s only responsible to have them.

A problem, however, is that resistance to adoption gets reinforced by uncertainty, unfamiliarity and fear. Since human talent is the largest needed component of doing social media, it’s professional development that is at the core of these concerns.

In the coming years, more organizations will realize the need for proficiency in online communications, proficiency which can only be maintained by due professional development.


Now here’s the paradox of integrating today’s media into businesses: the level of seriousness about social media is inversely proportional its ability to accomplish work.

In other words, for the people actually executing social media, it can’t be another job.

Proficiency in 21st Century communications has to flow.

Click on the image at the top of this post and come back here. Continually striking the right balance between Challenge and Skill is a universal need in productivity, learning, entertainment…virtually anything.

Flow is an idea developed by a Chicago professor of psychology. You’ve probably have heard about it before, but it’s perfectly apt for our discussion. For more background, you can go here.

Basically, the theory goes as follows.

If the challenge ahead of you is high, but your skill level needed to take it on is low, you’ll be anxious and ineffective.

If the challenge ahead of you is low, but your skills are highly refined, you’ll be bored – in which case you might be either effective, or burnt out and become ineffective.

Therefore, finding a balance between challenge and skill is key to keeping in the flow. It’s that place in between that provides the requisite feedback of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards needed for accomplishment.

But here’s the thing: once you’ve reached the right mix of skill and challenge, you have to keep on taking new challenges and acquiring new skills in oder to stay in the flow.

If you think of this in larger economic terms – and in historical context – it’s been those businesses that continually invest and re-invest in getting better (or which have the wisdom to quit and take on something new) that survive and thrive in the long-run.

In other words, the same basic principle of continually taking on new challenges and acquiring new powers are involved at the macro level as they are at the individual level.

So: when it comes to mastering online communications, marketing or general web presence, it’s critical to take on new challenges and hone new skills in order to remain profitable – either financially or otherwise.

Social media isn’t really the problem confronting organizations. It’s business design.

It always was about business design: it’s just that now, social media is revealing the disconnections and pathologies that plague many businesses: if an organization doesn’t appear apt to communicate in today’s world, it’s apparent to others that it’s probably not supple enough to be adaptive and visionary.

With the Internet, nothing stays the same for very long. Developing staff that develops itself is one of the most valuable and enduring processes any organization can acquire.


Given the pliancy of the various kinds of social and other media, they can have a surprisingly wide array of re-purposing potential.

Some of the things you can do with these media range from low-cost, low risk to high-cost, high-risk.

Low-cost, low risk: Publishing general content on Twitter.

High-cost, high-risk: International branded Pharma marketing.

As you move from publishing general content on a simple medium with 140 characters to blogging about more business-related content and building community, the needed time and effort needed to do well increase.

If you have no experience with online communications – never blogged, never had any experience in actively responding to comments or commenting on other blogs – then you’re opening yourself up to the business equivalent of anxiety – the cost of failure at the point is much higher than the cost of ramping up your skills over time.

So if, for example, Pharma spends years figuring out how to do Branded Marketing without going through the baby steps of rudimentary online communications, all of the fears’ of the industry will be made dutifully manifest.

Which do you think is a sounder plan in the face of 21st Century communications?:

  • Hire an intern who knows how to tweet and blog but has zero business experience?
  • Develop existing staff with years of hard-won experience by giving them the training and perspective and strategic vision needed for contemporary communications?

Now, the reality is that both of these are extremes: some staff with brilliant experience in traditional methods may be too reistent to learning new ways of doing things. Some interns may be useful in supporting roles under the tutelage of the experienced and therefore may have important roles to play.

My point is: you may have to accept that no solution is perfect – that you may have to invest in hiring and training staff who don’t have everything you need, but have the intelligence and ambition and open-mindedness to do the work involved in matching challenges and skills.

The Age of the assembly-line framework of doing business may not be dead, but it is being fundamentally challenged.

Social media doesn’t matter. The cultural, social, economic, personal, organizational, historical, geopolitical, cognitive, psychological, neurological, health-related, creative, technological and very human disruptions which these media are insidiously invoking do matter.

Rather than spinning wheels trying to copy and paste some how-to manual of social media, organizations are much better off investing in professional development of their most powerful resource: their network of (happy) human brains.


Join our Webinar this Thursday, featuring Angela Dunn from Odom Lewis. Learn more and sign up here!

Hospitals Don’t Need Social Media

Hospitals need: patients (to get better), competent nurses, articulate doctors, clean facilities, sleek information systems, functioning equipment, inspiring architecture, happy employees, financial capital…

Patients need: remarkable staff, focused attention, memorable education, easily understandable communication…

Doctors need: great nurses, simple workflow designs, less (much much) less paperwork, permission to push the envelop, continuing education…

Nurses need: respect, respect, respect, respect, respect…

Physical therapists need: equipment that works, manageable schedules, time to do their work….

Employees need: leadership, inspiration, communication…

You get the idea: everybody in healthcare needs something.

Hospitals don’t need social media. And yet…

…And yet: people have social needs. They have communication needs. They have informational and emotional needs.

Hospitals don’t need Social Media. Nobody needs social media, actually.

What people need in today’s world is either to get information they don’t have or to control the over-load of information they do have.

Hospitals can – in fact need to – deliver timely information to patients, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, employees…

Hospitals can – in fact need to – provide curation and community for its information customers, who are: patients, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, employees…

Hospitals need so much to be remarkable.

In order to achieve what’s remarkable, hospitals need the people who run them to be as informed and energized and inspired as possible.

Hospitals have some things which are critical to those people: stories.

But hospitals need to get their stories out into the world and the workplace.

By using social media as part of its storyshowing, a hospital can meet the needs of so many people.

In turn, those people can meet the needs of hospitals.

Hospitals don’t need social media. They need people…and people need stories.


Join our Webinar on August 26, 2010 – Healthcare Social Media: Perspectives in Practice. Sign up here or below!

A Simple Question About Twitter’s World Role

Imagine a world where everyone is on Twitter (or whatever similar service is around in a few years, federated or otherwise). In theory everyone would be connected to everyone else, directly or indirectly. What kind of world would that look like?

Here’s what I’m getting at.

There are two extremes with Twitter:

  • Nobody follows anybody on Twitter (zero connectivity)
  • Everybody in the world follows everybody else (hyper-connectivity)

What would the world look like when everybody’s connected via Twitter? And if you factor in Twitter’s future evolution (geolocation services, etc.), what kind of influences would that have on culture, business, education, healthcare, technological evolution, warfare, governance, global and local politics?

But there’s an area between those two extremes. One where a substantial portion of the globe is variably connected with the rest. Everyday, more and more people in the world are stepping in that direction – with the theoretical limit asymptotically approaching pure hyper-connectivity.

It may be easy to roughly imagine what the world would look like at both extremes.

But it’s the middle area that’s perhaps most interesting. And somewhat mysterious.

What happens as we connect more and more will absolutely have something to do with our individual and collective health, for good or ill.

We’ve only just embarked on a journey whose story has yet to be told.

So here’s the simple question about Twitter’s World Role:

What will our world look like when half of the world’s population follows itself on Twitter while the other half follows nobody?


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