I can confirm : Viral sharing can be controlled !

I just got the flu. The dreaded influenza that kills over 30 000 people every year…. oh, just a minute… these were numbers tossed in the air during the H1N1 craze a few years back.  The real numbers are…staggering.

 Influenza occurs globally with an annual attack rate estimated at 5%–10% in adults and 20%–30% in children. Illnesses can result in hospitalization and death mainly among high-risk groups (the very young, elderly or chronically ill). Worldwide, these annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 250 000 to 500 000 deaths. WHO web site

OK. It looks like I survived. Not being part of the high-risk groups helps. But, BOY ! It is always hard to believe how such a small organism can wreck havoc on one’s system !

DAY 1 :

Woke up feeling weird. Hmm… is this IT ? A colleague I had breakfast with three days earlier had just told me he had been infected…hmmm. 48 h incubation period before the onset…and I was always a little slow, not this…

DAY 1 evening :

Oh, no, THIS is IT ! Had a hard time climbing two flights of stairs. Looking bad.

DAY 2 :

Baaaaaaad ! Feverish night. Bone ache, pain all over, short of breath, barely conscious…decide to watch the three movies of “Lord of the rings” all over again and then start again with the commentaries…clearly delirious…no work.

Quarantined ! My wife and I decided the infection had to be contained in the basement. No contact. Lots and lots of handwashing, coughing in the sleeves and basically wait, alone in the dark, for the virus to be processed by my immune system.

DAY 3 :

Huh ? What happened to yesterday ? An open case of “Lord of the rings” ? Cannot remember… must watch it again….ah yes the commentaries…a bit better today… can climb the stairs to get some juice with only two stops. And I almost fainted only once….pretty, pretty weak. Temperature going from freezing and shaking to sweating profusely.

DAY 4 :

Pretty bad night again. Going to the bathroom is not an effort anymore. Feeling hungry for the first time in three days. Lost 4 pounds. Nothing to be proud of however.

DAY 5 :

Back to work …slowly and at home. Still feverish. Blogging time.

Why bother writing about this ?

Because there is a direct link between viral infection and viral information. Harold Jarche model of seek-sense-share is very clear about this.

A viral infection works the same way as any information we get in touch with. The first contact is fortuitous. There is nothing, or almost nothing we can do about it. We are inundated in information, everyday. Well, I stand corrected. We CAN do something about it.

As with a virus, we can wash our hands regularly – or clean our inbox and reading lists – avoid contact with contagious people and unnecessary or useless “friends”, “followers”.

Once infected, the virus MAY take over. Good nutrition and healthy living habits might contribute to the fight and allow your body to ward off the infection. If your immune system has already encountered such a threat, you will probably come out unscathed.

Information is not so different. Good classification habits will allow you to categorize the info, facilitate the understanding, accelerate the connexion between other pieces of information and permit generally to make sense of it all. Once processed, information becomes knowledge.

Or garbage. Never to be used again.

Then there is contagion ! A virus has but one goal : propagate !

The flu virus is easily propagated by the aerosol droplets that are ejected upon coughing. Fortunately for us, the virus is inactivated fairly rapidly at room temperature. But if you breath some of those tiny droplets…

The responsibilities of the infected person are to cough in a tissue or on a sleeve, wear a mask, wash hands frequently and rapidly disinfect surfaces that were touched with bare and unwashed hands. Oh, and quarantine in the basement with the 11 hours of “Lord of the rings” !

Similarly, once information is digested and made sense of it can be shared. Randomly or wisely. I noticed in the last few years a tendency to “share” and “like” almost anything. It has become a reflex for some people. Conversely, I also noticed that some people do not understand their role when some information SHOULD be shared adequately. Once information become knowledge, it SHOULD be shared. Someone else needs it !

Harold Jarche has a wonderful system he calls PKM, Personnel Knowledge Mastery. This is a journey of the mind. I cannot help but compare PKM to a vaccine, an immunization weapon against the junk that is circulating on the web. Developing a slow knowledge networks, seeking relevant information with the help of the network, making sense of it in relation with the context you are working with and finally, finally to share it properly with the right people.

This influenza attack had got me thinking…5-10% of the population get the flu annually. 400-800 millions people worldwide. The death rate is about 0.1 %. Locally it is not bad. I survived after all.

Globally, it is a different matter. Horrendous numbers ! Still only 0.1% however but real numbers always have that effect on one’s brain !

Internet live stats displays a counter of the number of websites that are online. This counter turns FAST!!! At the time of this writing the number was 925 460 435…oups …470….FAST !

Almost a billion web sites.

1.4 billions FACEBOOK users, 345 millions LinkedIn users, 285 millions Twitters happily tweeting….

Billions of smartphones…

Just stop for minute and think about 0.1% of this might mean.

This might be the number of people getting out of the information cloud, exhausted because they could not make sense of it.

Locally, it could be your mother-in-law refusing to look at the web. Who cares ?

Globally, this could mean that whereas we have access to more information than humanity ever had, we are at the same time unable to make sense of it all. What was once obscured and hidden is now an open book. Can we read it and share its content ?

DAY 5 :

Still feverish. A budding cold sore having a ball on my lower lip is the ultimate proof that my immune system has been working overtime in the last few days. A bit delirious maybe ? An open Blu-Ray case of “Lord of the rings” is luring me away from the laptop….gotta wash my hands first….


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