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Everything wrong with health tech reporting in one article

Before I delve into this rant, let me start by saying that Business Insider isn’t exactly the Economist of technology reporting. I’d equate it more to a poor man’s HuffPo, but the format of their SEO-optimized clickbait articles (or listicles in this case) means that they permeate the web at a high volume. Good for their ad rates, natch, but bad for informing the public at large in any meaningful way.

I write this because these types of articles shape the opinions of a large number of people who don’t otherwise understand that most of the coverage is superfluous fluff with no real substance. The problem seems to be particularly acute in healthcare technology reporting because, in my opinion, the people writing these stories aren’t even remotely qualified on the subject matter.

Case in point: This article on BI.com “9 Ways Google Is Changing The World” Google does do an excellent job self-promoting, but most of their announcements are vaporware that the tech media gobbles up like candy. BI bit hard on these announcements time and time again and covers them like they are real. To be fair, they’re not the only ones guilty of this, but I’ll detail a few examples to show you what I mean.

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“Garbage At The Speed Of Light”

Space Trash

 

A few evenings ago I was attending a work function and the guests included several senior members of the extended organization who don’t normally interact with our group. Amongst the various conversations that were going on, a very interesting comment was made to me by one of those senior attendees. He joked (I assume), that “digital stuff is just garbage produced at the speed of light.” He wasn’t referring to the quality of the work, or the depth of the creative. His jest, and for the sake of my sanity I’ll assume it was a jest, was that digital as a potential service offering within healthcare was garbage. I was left non-plussed by this conversation not only for the obvious reason, but because in other situations his general disdain towards the digital medium was palpable. He most certainly was kidding, but that sentiment has been expressed on other occasions.

This got me thinking. Is there a greater undercurrent at work hindering digital adoption, integration, and progression in organizations? Could the old-guard leadership of these massive agencies and operating companies be biased against digital leaders and digital talent? Is there such a thing as a digital prejudice?

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“Journalism”

My favorite line from the piece, got added AFTER it ran for days.

“Correction: This video was actually created by marketing students at Berghs School of Communication, and is not made by Google, nor is Google Gesture a real service. We updated the story below and apologize for the error.”

Link

Is Facebook Robbing Us of Our Political Power?

On March 25th the Human Rights Campaign launched a social campaign to raise awareness for the marriage equality debate currently being deliberated by SCOTUS. You probably saw the campaign, which asked users to change their profile picture to that of a red square with a bold equal sign.  When I checked Facebook Wednesday morning, my entire feed was covered with these logos, as a good portion of my Facebook friends had decided to participate. As I thought about it over my morning coffee, I was struck with the thought that all this activity, while potentially raising awareness inside the walled garden of Facebook, might not actually result in anything of substance. And in fact, it might just be completely meaningless. After all, changing one’s profile picture is a transactional gesture, regardless of the scale. It costs nothing, takes no time, and involves very little risk on the part of the participant.

To which, I posted this: “Changing my profile picture was what really tipped the scales on that political issue” – said nobody ever.”

And then a few minutes later, I pushed the idea even further: “If only Abraham Lincoln had the ability to change his profile picture, perhaps the civil war could have been avoided.

And finally, teasing out the thought to its most ludicrous conclusion, I wrote: “Can everyone on Facebook please change their profile picture to a non-perishable food item? This way we can ensure that the starving children of the world never go hungry again.” (The Huffington Post did a spoof of this 2 years ago which lampooned the issue far better than I could have.)

A good deal of my Facebook peeps were not amused. All in all, those 3 comments generated almost 30 responses. Most of these were enraged for even daring to suggest that this act had no meaning or effect. “It raises awareness!” said one person. “It’s a show of solidarity!” said another. And, in the mother of all ironies, some wrote (on my wall) that I shouldn’t express my opinions (on my wall) about the things they choose to support (on their wall).

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