While I was on hiatus, my blog celebrated its first birthday. I may not have attended the party, but I’m still cleaning cake and frosting from various corners of the blog. Sounds like it had fun celebrating. As many others with “blogaversaries” do, I thought I’d reflect on the last year of social media experimentation. Bad or good first? Hmmm, let’s do the good.
What I liked about blogging/social media over the past year:
- Learning something new. It was very exciting this time last year to learn some new technology and play around on the computer, albeit just a wordpress.com blog without bells and whistles. I got to learn a little bit of new vocabulary. I started reading tech forums. I went to a conference for bloggers (not medically related).
- “Meeting” new people. Making connections. Sometimes hard to do when you’re in an office not connected to a hospital, not inside a university. I love having contacts in many different fields and geographical areas.
- Looking at medical information in new ways. For example, this week a few docs I follow on Twitter are posting lots of tidbits about the EM meeting they’re attending. Where but social media would I have the chance to learn this kind of stuff outside of my own specialty? Also following blogs and Twitter accounts for medical societies and journals is much more interactive than sitting down with a paper copy. I’m more likely to learn that way.
- Being one of the few blogging Rheumatologists and trying to be an ambassador for social media in medicine when interacting with friends and colleagues.
What I found challenging or frustrating about blogging and social media:
- Finding my “voice.” I’m not comfortable sharing patient stories except as a very vague jumping off point to spark a discussion. I’m not very political and I don’t have much experience with the business of medicine. What’s left? Discussing medical conditions? Well, there are already many reputable sites people can visit for health information. My personal life? I’m interested in food, healthy cooking and exercise and hopefully I’ve shared that over the past year.
- Negativity. Every once in a while I’m overwhelmed by the negativity in the medical blogosphere. Much of this, of course, has to do with the payment system and the business side of things, government, etc, etc. Sometimes continually reading that the sky is falling makes me start to believe it.
- Technology. For example, a few months ago Picapp photos just stopped showing up. There’s some glitch where the photos only show up as a red X in the corner of a blank box. I’ve joined a help thread and they say it’s working but I just tried it to get a birthday cake photo and it’s not. I don’t HAVE to have stock photos but I liked putting them in. Sometimes I want to put in videos and I don’t know how. I’d like pretty badges and buttons on the side but I guess you can’t have those on wordpress.com or I don’t know how to add them. I don’t really have the knowledge to deal with this. I don’t have enough of a readership to make it worthwhile to hire someone to help me with technology.
Bottom line, I’m blogging for fun because I love writing, it keeps me up to date with current medical literature and news and I have had a great time “meeting” and interacting with other bloggers. The technology part is fixable if I decide I really need it and the problem finding my voice hopefully will evolve as I continue to write and participate in the community. It’s good to be back from hiatus.
Some of my favorite posts from the past year:
Exercise: How a non-athlete exercises.
My work day: What do I do at work, anyway?
My perspective: Dr. Fix-It.