The old rules around (a) who holds the information and (b) what avenues do I have to go through to get it, no longer apply in today’s digital landscape.
We live in an age where information, including medical information, is readily available at our fingertips by the click of a mouse. With today’s advanced technology we find ourselves living in a global society where communications across cultures and countries has never been easier. The MS Research Australia website now has well over 30% of its total visitors as people from other countries affected by MS. Talking to our global colleagues, it would appear that Australians affected by MS are just as likely to get their information from a wide variety of sources including international websites or via other digital media formats. Anything is possible.
Information is not guarded by jurisdiction any longer and hasn’t been for some time.
It wasn’t long ago that tertiary-level medical facts or peer-reviewed trusted current information, much of which is of great interest to people with MS, was only within the domain of the people within Universities and Institutes. Now, thanks to the advancement in digital technology we have access to programs such as the Massive Open Online Course, aka. MOOC. Established in 2008, the incredibly successful and popular MOOC courses provide up-to-date information with free, unlimited participation and open access via the internet. An Australian Nobel prize winner recently noted in a public speech that he has a staggering 250,000 participants from over 88 different countries doing one of his open courses!
Closer to home and our core mission of curing MS, we have seen significant interest in our webinars and that of the Progressive MS Alliance, which recently had large numbers registered- especially Australians which were one of the biggest participants. Our website visits recently had a 500% increase due to the recent potential blood test breakthrough which we have funded. The ABC called us to note that the number of individual views of the video discussing the breakthrough on their own website had just hit 1 million! This is huge even for the ABC! One of our individual posts on the topic also had a successful 1,200 likes and over 80 comments.
We have also held a few focus groups to understand from our audience how you prefer to receive your MS research news. Some people still prefer to get their information in hard copy, via email or on the phone. That avenue will always be open at MS Research Australia. Increasingly, however, people with MS are wanting bespoke digital media, trusted-source snippets that communicate to a wide audience in a language that they can understand that helps them to navigate through the mire of misinformation. And this is exactly what MS Research Australia will be doing.
Please view the article written by Kiss Goodbye to MS campaign manager Richelle King here.