7Cups is Less About Shiny Tech. It’s More About Solving Human Needs.


Last night, late for an old guy, I listened to an online video/Twitter chat hosted by #spsm (Suicide Prevention Social Media). The kind @docforeman invites me to these which flatters me to no end considering my mollusk like IQ. The topic was a new platform offering ‘anonymous and confidential online text chat with trained listeners, online therapists and counselors’. It’s called 7cups. @GlenMoriarty1 the founder of 7cups was the presenter.

The #spsm weekly chats are smart and address important topics outside my professional wheelhouse but I join and find them interesting and thoughtful. They are tres funny too if that counts. Last night with Glen Moriarty of 7cups was pure genius and riveting. So much so I had to get my ass out of bed and plug the laptop into the 27” screen so I could watch the chat, the video, and use Safari.

Everyone on the chat are Ph.D, MD’s or social workers who are passionate about #spsm and helping others. And they are a critical bunch questioning how the mental healthcare system works. They know the emperor some days is naked. First go to the 7cups site and check it out. I won’t get into my TL:DR mode. You back?

The chat and what 7cups is doing is brilliant on a human level and that is my point here. The talk last night focused on the technology and how amazingly this was funded and now has 800k people a month participating. Totally amazing platform story. There is more. This platform meets a basic human need we all try and find via social media. Humans need to talk to share to help especially when we are struggling. Just go back and read my posts on grief and loss and mourning. Not many read themor listen which I do to help others and to plumb the depths of my grief. All six of you who read my blog 20% got something from them. In a very small way I met the above conditions of human need via social media. 7cups is this on steroids and it is not the technology in my mind driving it. Reverse that, lede with the human need to help, talk, share, and listen 7cups has greased that need like a strippers pole to make it work better through technology. And I will add that Dr. Google, social media, etc. patient engagement is a robust extension of our lives. Here is short piece on that.

I’ve written and hocked about adult learning being at the core of both business and human needs. Bioc.net “Learning is the process of reflecting on experiences that produces insights useful in solving future problems (Slotnick, 1999)” And I will add, solving current problems.

Adults learn when they seek solutions to problems. New information discovered during problem solving creates experiences that upon reflection fosters new knowledge for that adult. That knowledge is incorporated in their consciousness. Learning changes consciousness. The most powerful effect we can have on patients (and each other) is to aid in learning.

Learning opens our minds to accept new information. When we incorporate new information through reflection we expand our compendium of knowledge. Our consciousness changes with new knowledge/experience and we apply it to create new experiences, change behavior, or make decisions. This is a problem-centric solution. It’s the bedrock of communications and marketing.

This effect is greater in a social situation. When we learn with someone else or in a group we learn better. Each learner comes to the same problem with different solutions and understanding. Each learner adds something to the solution of the problem at hand for other learners. Social media is a learning. It is a tactic NOT a strategy. The strategy is about identifying problems and helping adults solve them make them learners. Social media is a tactic to drive learning and knowledge not create it.

Lev Vygotsky identified “zone of proximal development.”  If a person is engaged in self-directed learning, they’ll get a certain amount out of what they do.  If, however, they learn with another person of the same level of sophistication, they’ll learn more.  Hank Slotnick, Ph.D. says, “the pooled ignorance is less than the sum of the individual ignorance’s.”

Most decisions we make as adults especially in healthcare revolve around solving problems for a family member or ourselves. Buying decisions and products we use or want to learn more about are based on our need to learn. Adult learning is a way to improve those decisions. And it is powerful in helping each other if we identify the problems others need to solve. AND a place to do it (i.e. 7cups)

And as I noted, 7cups is doing the above in spades. I immediately jumped on the idea of this as a place for those of us who recently lost a loved one to go and find a place to share your grief or help others share there grief to in fact achieve a zone of proximal development. Yes there are platforms like Widowed Village where you can chat and meet others in the same place. I have been there and used it but it never really grabbed me or me them it was more like joining a party already in progress. 7cups strikes me as a place/platform where you step into your own personalize party ether to help or find help which is key to us bipeds we love interaction.

Already TL:DR. Peace Out