To Blog or Not to Blog...

To Blog or Not to Blog...

L. Michael Glode, MD, FACP, FASCO

Feb 16, 2011

Finding myself with an extra day prior to the start of ASCO GU, (no offense meant to SUO and ASTRO - just what I have been calling the meeting for many years) here in sunny Florida, I have finally caught up with some of the many things left undone for the past several months. As an "early adopter," I became involved in this as an experiment about 5 years ago when I was trying to help the ASCO IT committee keep up with "new media." The short story is that I was approached by to write a blog for them as they tried to enhance their content. Since, that site has become more commercial than I would like, so today I moved to a new site that (hopefully) only I control.

So here are 3 reasons for you to consider writing a blog. 1) It can save you time. When a patient comes in and brings the latest buzz article from USA Today on how prostate cancer cells can be detected by Harvard scientists, I can look up the real article and comment on it. The next day, when a different patient comes in, I can offer them my blog commentary by handing them a card saying "subscribe to my blog." This way, I have created sort of a virtual support group for my own patients and they know that I am both up to date (not to be confused with UpToDate, also from our friends in Boston), and have thought about the "breakthrough." 2) When you have an internet presence other than that provided by your practice, hospital, or professional society, you gain visibility and credibility. Think of it as "publish or perish" for the common man. 3) It may force you to deal with some issues you could sit down and write about, rather than simply complain in the physician's lounge. I think we all complain too much, and forcing yourself to write may help bring up some solutions.

Finally, if you DO decide to start a blog, I recommend looking around for some independent site that doesn't offer free blogging by making ads appear to the left and right of your brilliant commentary. I haven't researched this issue too much, but did receive several recommendations for I haven't tweaked my blog homepage much, but I'm off to a new start without Revolution selling my content to the ad world. I also suggest you take the time to put in hyperlinks to your blog - makes it much more interesting and web interactive in my view.


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David J. Kroll, PhD

Feb, 18 2011 2:44 PM

 Hi Mike, great to hear that you moved away from Revolution Health to your new Wordpress-based blog. A very wise idea. I left ScienceBlogs for very much the same reason - they sold a main content blog slot to Pepsi to have their people write about nutrition - and about 25 of us from the network departed. I'm now writing advertising-free content on pharmacology, chemistry, and free-range musings at two different blogs, one at PLoS and the other at CENtral Science, a network of the American Chemical Society's Chemical & Engineering News.
I've only been at this for five years and am in no way the pioneering, early-adopter that you have been. But this exercise is tremendously useful. Although I don't see patients, blogging gives me a repository and notebook for reports in the literature, new drug approvals, and other topics in academic science and medicine that are relevant to my students and fellows. I've also gained a lot more public exposure to my writing that I couldn't have gotten from my institutional portals.
You've always been a great inspiration to me so I encourage your physician readers to take your good advice - I love the "publish or perish for the common man" analogy.
Hope you and the family are well. DJK

Stephen Staal, MD

Feb, 24 2011 1:05 PM

Doubt you remember but if memory serves I knew you when you were at NIH and we both volunteers at the Grey Panthers clinic in Hyattsville! I was curious regarding the legal aspects of blogging-are you aware of any treatises on the topic particularly with reference to physician blogs. Did you have any concerns as an employee of U of Colorado, and vice-versa with respect to institutional versus personal information. Is there a standard physician disclaimer? Thanks for any information you can provide and thanks for your post.
Best wishes,
Stephen Staal

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