The Pew Research Center has released its latest report celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Web. This one looks forward to 2025, with experts’ predictions. Here’s my favorite quote so far, from the “Pithy Additions” section:
Jerry Michalski, founder of REX, the Relationship Economy eXpedition, observed, “The Internet gives us Persistence — the ability to leave things for one another in cyberspace, freely. This is a big deal we haven’t yet comprehended. Right now, we are obsessed with flow, with the immediate, with the evanescent. Persistence lets us collaborate for the long term, which is what we’ll slowly learn to do … We will begin to design institutions from a basis of trust of the average person, instead of mistrust, the way we’ve been designing for a few centuries. This will let us build very different institutions for learning, culture, creativity, and more.”
I think this has implications for health communications, such as when we post information online that we hope will persist and be used as the basis for future decisions. The “flip the clinic” movement is part of this — the acknowledgement that a doctor’s appointment is just one opportunity to reach someone with health advice.
I’m going to start thinking about examples of “persistent” vs. “flow” health information:
- Bedsider.org is persistent; @Bedsider’s tweets are flow.
- Lisa Bonchek Adams’s post about how to prepare for a port placement is persistent; #bcsm is flow.
- AIDS.gov is persistent; the AIDS.gov Facebook page is flow.
- SeattleMamaDoc 101 videos are persistent; @SeattleMamaDoc’s tweets are flow.
- PatientsLikeMe.com and SmartPatients.com are persistent; patient groups on Facebook are flow.
But to Jerry’s point about collaboration: Lisa’s blog post and the 101 posts are good examples since people added their own advice in the comments, whereas Bedsider.org is static. PatientsLikeMe and SmartPatients are designed for collaboration — how could AIDS.gov change to take advantage of that possibility? And would that be appropriate?
What do you think? Is this a distinction worth paying attention to? What examples do you see?
Scan the Pew Research Center report for other quotes and let me know what you find that seems relevant to health and health care.
If you are in a more nostalgic mood, check out The Web at 25 (my look back).
(Image of the Choptank River courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Project on Flickr)