The "Always On" Web, Status Updates, and Health

The reason status updates - short real time mesages about who an where I am and what I'm thinking or doing - are so populr and hold so much promise for health is that 'status' broken down into smaller parts allows users, ie people like you and me who will all someday be patients- penumtinate control and choice over our identiites. On the status-obsessed, update NOW now NOW here HERE here web I get to reinvent myself as many times as I want. I can be the genetics geek, the brainy sister, the cyber babe I never was in high school, naughtier in online phraseology than I would be in the real world.

Persona creation a la avatars and profiles is imprtant, but, once created, that identity or doppleganger lives on only through the multiple and repeated status updates (and links and photos etc) that I provide.

The 'survival,' valuation and propagation of my online identity requires frequent care and feeding, and this maturation (or lack thereof) doesn't happen in isolation. For the same reasons we love heroes and villians, David and Goliath, impossible odds, star crossed lovers, the concept of Lotto tickets and the big win for a small spend, America's Funniest Home Videos and sports bloopers on YouTube, and- sometimes in our deepest secret hearts, watching our friends fail (or succeed beyond their wildest dreams) - we love watching people self journal on the web, living out the minutiae of our lives in encouraging and embarrassing micro episodes, 140 characters at a time.

On the web, our status updates are within our hands, and their individual recordation - in addition to the cumulative personal narrative they represent - is aspirational.

I'll say it again because it bears repeating - our web identities are aspirational.

And thus using these social micro status updates, with their sometimes seemingly painful mundanity and silly monotony, represent perhaps our best chance to create platforms that make "health" aspirational.

If we provide micro updates, make daily microchoices and microchanfes to our behavioral patterns it's like the start of another year at high school where the geek can be reinvented as homecoming queen.

She probably didn't change much over the summer...contacts instead of glasses. Highlights. A haircut. New boots. Going to the gym. A vacation where she met a group of kids from France.

But come late August, all those small things add up.

Microchoices, status updates, personal identity, and control. Personal reinvention via a steady stream of micro updates across distributed social networking platforms. If you can't follow the analogy above regarding how status updates and microblogging platforms relate to health, keep plugging away on the technically driven, rather than behaviorally targeted, programming.

I'm sure you'll get somewhere really big - just not really soon. In health consumer software, if you build it they will come just ain't gonna cut it. It's more like if you give me the framework to build simply, without having to enter too much stuff myself, I will come, and bring a couple thousand of my closest friends. Which approach do YOU think will make health more contagious?

Sent from my iPhone

Jen McCabe
CEO, Founder
Contagion Health

Posted via email from Jen's Posterous

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