Real Wellness in the Real World
June 12, 2012
We make our living on the Internet — 80% of our revenues are tied to delivery of online wellness campaigns. Yet we put more effort into non-virtual wellness than many of our customers. Here’s why:
- All wellness is local, not virtual. No matter how super-fantastic your health portal, online wellness campaign, or mobile app, when it comes right down to it, wellness happens across the kitchen table and on the sidewalks of neighborhoods where employees live and work. Earning virtual badges or stars grows old and loses its motivating qualities quickly if it’s not connected to a real-world experience that’s equally or more inspiring.
- The digital noise is deafening. With 500,000 iPhone apps, 300,000 Android apps, and millions of websites stuffed with millions of videos, posts, and tweets, trying to compete for attention with a digital-only strategy is like treading water in the middle of the ocean trying to get noticed by a passing satellite… at night.
- Virtual buddies and teams are effective at helping people move toward wellness goals, but not nearly as much as flesh and blood friends and teammates looking each other in the eye and talking about their challenges, sharing their successes, and offering support along the way.
- There’s more energy in a real classroom than a message board. All things being equal, there’s greater impact in a live setting for whatever is being shared — content, successes, obstacles, frustrations — than online, even with emoticons. Call it aura, or whatever you like, there’s something invisible transferred between people in close proximity that creates an opportunity to experience more than you can over Webex or Skype.
- 140-character mentality makes inspiration darn hard. So much online activity is frenetic and superficial that people are trained to blow past content without considering information that might help them improve the quality of their life.
- Smiley faces feel good; smiles feel great. A core strength in Health Enhancement Systems products is fun. But even we have to admit there’s only so much delight you can elicit through a computer or smart phone. Real emotion happens between people connected by the air they breathe, not the electrons they exchange.
There’s no question that digital advances in the last 15 years, and those accelerating into the future, hold tremendous promise for greater reach and more efficient delivery of wellness services. But don’t kid yourself that you can do it all — or even most — through a keyboard or touch pad. If you’re starting to feel disconnected from your participants, take some time this month to plan how you can keep them making the best use of your digital tools, while reconnecting in the real world.