While still undecided what article to post first for 2011 , I read my first ever post in this blog. I was nostalgic and a bit in awe. I never really thought I’d come this far with just writing and posting my health care ideas online. More so, raise some eyebrows and grab attention to my online discourses.
It was an unfamiliar niche back then, with awfully fewer local health care blog icons to emulate while I’m still familiarizing myself with blogging as a social media. I was dipping my toes on an uncharted system, a free for all, but risky undertaking especially for physicians who are generally viewed as conservatives and slow (or even critical ) at adapting to any form of social media.
Friendster, Myspace and Multiply are booming back then, but these forms of social media target the personal “online space” market. Facebook and Twitter is still in its infancy and internet penetration in the Philippines (roughly 3-5%) is almost the same as our health care budget today. The health care niche is a new frontier with some risky uncertainties. You don’t know what type of readers you get when you write health care ideas online. We also don’t have a specific measure to know who’s reading what you rant about online and if your “message” reaches your specific target audience.
Still, the potential remains. There’s not much holding someone full of ideas and a baggage of English grammar rehabilitation program. There’s lot of free online space to practice. Just don’t press the “publish” button without having the read your draft 5 times.
My strategy then was to use personal experiences and then sharing them online as a “jump off” point to get my messages message across a broad spectrum of readers. Knowing that the personal online space market is popular back then (it is up to now I suppose), it’s the best way I can capture or grab the attention of potential readers. It is a very risky strategy in fact, since much of health care issues are” grey zones” and the health care community is strongly comfortable with health care conservatism. Social media back then was the realm of the online geeks.
Again, I saw it as an opportunity or rather, an alternative form of spreading some of my health concerns and advocacies. There’s no better alternative for me than the fast, easy and lower cost of publishing ideas, online. Blogging and the new social media also opened the gates for building communities of critical minds exchanging ideas and creating an even bigger community of health care online front liners. Of course regulations regarding its use like HIPAA or a set of online health blogging ethics (HONE Code) has to be in place for this potential to be truly maximized. Nonetheless, blogging as an alternative social media has the potential to erase that obstacle in spreading health care issues and advocacies brought about by the costly and slower traditional forms of media .
The question now is “can we sustain this form of social media? Is it here to stay or is it on its way down? Leave your answers in the comment section below!