I stumbled on this quote from Clive Thompson. It captures what I face as a thinking, writing, tweeting health professional:
“Knowing when to shift between public and private thinking—when to blast an idea online, when to let it slow bake—is a crucial new skill: cognitive diversity.”– Clive Thompson
Our ability to write, record and send stuff to the world has created a new type of judgment centered on knowing where and when to publish your thinking. It used to be that most of what we did happened in person. Public thinking was rare because there was no means by which to do it. Now ideas can live on what I call the Medical Media Continuum – the vast landscape of platforms for publishing and sharing. Knowing when and where stuff should land on the continuum is cognitive diversity.
Public networks have allowed my ideas to appear and evolve in more in real-time. I feel like my public presence is a kind of extension of myself. I’m an outward facing physician, as I suggested last year.
Outward facing physicians recognize the value of presence and connection beyond their immediate space. The use of public networks is valued and seen as necessary for professional success. The outward facing doctor sees themselves as part of a bigger picture on some level.
Cognitive diversity represents a new skill set for a new publicly facing generation. And it has real implications for professional development. Ideas shared in one space (like a blog), for example, may be prohibited from other kinds of publication (peer-reviewed journals). All of this deserves cultivation and discussion in medical education.
When I have a moment I’ll file cognitive diversity under New Literacies for 21st Century Physicians.
Image via CateStorymoon on Flickr