Perspectives on blogging by Filipino Medical Bloggers:- TBR 13th Ed

in Blog Rounds/CME/Medicine/Social Media by

(Updated:Prudence MD, “I Think Therefore I Blog”)

Subtitle: “The Long Overdue 13th ed of The Blog Rounds”!
Introduction:

Medical bloggers is a diverse subclass of “online” writers. The attempt to characterize their individual personalities and the topics they write often end up in inconclusive and even more confusing results. Blame it on the different backgrounds, socio-cultural factors, geography, and all. But information technology has united these bunch of diverse writers into one common goal- to write. For whatever ends and aspirations these online writers have for web blogging, there is this commonality. The urge to write.

In 2006, a global health care blogger survey was undertaken by the Medical Blog Network and Envisions Solutions to assess the “pulse” of medical bloggers worldwide. Whatever the long term goal of that survey wasn’t clear from that start, but it attempted to “characterize” first the habits and motivations of medical bloggers and what they write. While the results of the survey gave us a ‘profile’ of the medical bloggers who joined the survey, the methodology and less stringent research tool cautions us not to generalize the results to all medical blogger. Take note that in survey, only one Asian medical blogger participated.

For these edition of The Blog Rounds, I will attempt, albeit informally and anecdotally, to feel the pulse of Filipino medical bloggers akin to the research methods of Pinay Megamom for her 9th edition of TBR, Mentors Tormentors.

Methodology:
This is a double blind study. Meaning both the participants and the researcher doesn’t have an inkling about “how it ended up this way”. Medical bloggers were invited to join the regular themed blog rounds. Call for articles were posted early, and the posts, read as late as today. Those who responded, do so with beautiful treatise on blogging. Survey questions where randomly created by the author and answers where lifted from the articles of the bloggers, as deemed fit by the researcher. Article quotes are made as necessary to support “answers”.

Results:
Here are the summary of results.

Survey Population:

  • Majority of the contributors blog for personal and non-medical reasons. Writing about medical issues however, are part of their raging rants.

With this, i have one single reason to smile despite everything. I still am blessed after all! I too couldn’t be more thankful than having this thought, that even in the absence of a confidante, there’s this thing called Blog.-Angel MD No More, On Blogging

I got inspired with those people who blogs even the minutest thing that happens to their life to the minute and to the hour. They are making a living diary through their blogs. SO, bakit hindi ko rin gayahin! so… GO!…. BLOG!- Doc Tess, Why do I blog thee, let me count the ways”

Motivation:

  • Majority blog to share their experiences, their opinions and sometimes to educate others.

I used to blog about my personal thoughts, my travel, unofficial review of movies, books or food. Now, I blog to share my more socially relevant experiences as a Doctor to the Barrios- Merry Cherry, “We(b)log”

If thru this blog, I can fight oppression and stop wars, if I can lead the world to peace and prosperity, to truth, love, freedom, and justice, then that is the revolution.-Mel, “Why do I Blog Thee? Let Me..”

Nowadays, I write in longhand first, in a ratty old journal that has obviously seen better days. I go cautiously slow, like I do in real life. Then too, in the past month, I’ve started blogging to get the fog out of my head, to shake off the inertia, and to rid myself of writer’s block. And when I still feel completely overwhelmed, I resolve to take it one day at a time. Maybe even one word at a time…- Kitty Mama, “Raison de etre”

  • Most do not care who their readers are (Medical or non medical).

Now, i don’t pretty much care if people read my blogs or not. My views about blogging have changed somewhat. I have come to realize that through blogging (as I have stated in my blog’s description), I am attempting to make life move slower for me.-Ana Kat MD, “Word Nerd”

No matter how personal a blog is, it has got to have some structure, some method in madness, and most of all, a reason for its existence in cyberspace- VG Samson’s, “The Perfect Blog”

To rant, rave, and say whatever else is in mind, shouting it to the world (this world and perhaps, to the other worlds out there) and believing that the world will care- Prudence MD, “I Think Therefore I Blog”

Blogging Habits:

  • Many MD bloggers write about their personal experiences and opinions.

1. Blogging keeps a record of my thoughts. 2. I could rave or rant about a lot of things…- Joey MD,“Blogging Thoughts “

  • Most blog anonymously to protect their privacy and their patients confidentiality.

The initial hesitation of starting a blog was largely because I wanted to remain anonymous. After all, although I am a physician, I wanted this blog to be beyond medicine.- Em Dy, “This Recovery Room

Trust and Credibility:

  • Many respondents view their fellow bloggers’ statements with a critical eye, but trust them to encourage active and unbiased commentary on their blogs

It would be easy to pepper the blog with opinions or reactions about what’s popular but I prefer to keep it to what’s relevant to me. That’s also why this blog remains moderated. I only publish comments relevant to the blog post, whether we are of the same opinion or not- Em Dy, “This Recovery Room

I write a weblog because every now and then a reader writes a comment or sends an email or a text message and that encourages me.-Ness, “Why I Write a Weblog”


Blogger Interactions:

  • Majority interact with other bloggers to share thought s and ideas.

I also like to read up on other people’s thoughts on the different topics as it is a great way to find out more about someone you may not have yet met in person. You get a lot about his/her personality from the things he/she writes about and more or less find out more about the persons values and way of life.- J.A., “Blogging For Me”

I shudder at the thought of meeting fellow bloggers in person, because I might just get disappointed with their real 3D personas.- Mel, “Why do I Blog Thee? Let Me..”

So, perhaps, it isn’t really egotistical to think that the world cares to hear our thoughts. It may be perhaps that each of us do have something unique to share. And the invention of cyberspace and blogging gave that opportunity to each and every one. Another great equalizer of people, I think, besides trafficPrudence MD, “I Think Therefore I Blog”

There is that certain belief in the goodness of humanity, and the role that we play in that greater schema, whether as individual contributors or collectively in our profession. Even those who rant always have something good to say in the end.-Megamorph, “Accidental Blogger”

Discussions:
The results speak for themselves. Feel free to disagree.

Limitations:
The questions were to say at least, very controversial and answers can be very personal. No validated questionnaires were given out. Hence, the pulse is just limited to the blogger who participated in this edition of TBR and quantitative results is impossible.

Conclusions:
The fact that this is a double blind study makes us even think “there’s not much you can generalize about”. But read the individual entries and you will feel an almost “recurring” common grounds for blogging, the motivations to do so, the habits, and the interactions.

Future Directions:
A validated, both qualitative and quantitative survey online is the next logical step. It is always nice to know where the Filipino MD bloggers stand on so many issues and concerns, medical or otherwise.

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (www.remomd.com).