What makes a blog & Finals week

Next week we will embark on our last set of finals as third year med students!  Time really has flown; I couldn’t have done it without the incredible group of peers I have out here.  I can’t believe next year will be our last.  It’s frightening and thrilling all at once.  I took a break from studying for finals to finish this post – I hope you like it.  Please let me know what you think!

taking a study break last night to give each other some adjustments in our makeshift manip table! after sitting all day it’s a much needed therapy.

Hello readers!  I’m curious to see what you look for in a blog.  I know what drives me to follow one, but I’m wondering what reels you in and keeps you coming back for more.  A good friend of mine is in the process of putting a blog together and it got me thinking:  what makes a good blog?  Here are my freshman picks (seeing that I’m still new to blogging).

1) Don’t vent.  Even if it feels good in the moment, your blog is not your therapist.  Get it off your chest in private, your friends won’t hold you to it – they get you.  (Same goes for twitter and facebook etc, please spare us your personal drama.)

2) Don’t make fun of others.  Even the best fashion blogs I read don’t waste time magnifying other’s shortcomings or ‘worst dressed.’  Bravo optimists!  Posting pictures of people because of how bad they look or how stupid they are is just not appropriate under any circumstances.  Good comedy is a totally different story of course … as is laughing at yourself (something I get to do on a daily basis these days).

(This is not to be confused with deconstructing poor scientific evidence … which I encourage – go for it.  Show us what you got.  There is a lot of misinformation out there – help the public out.)

3) Write about things that inspire you.  That kind of stuff makes the best posts.

4) Don’t write when you are uninspired.  That kind of stuff makes the worst posts.

5) Research subjects that will enrich your understanding or perception of the world.  I see far too many posts that just state the obvous.  Example:  ‘this is the name of the disease, and this is what it is, I knew someone once who had it.’  We can go to medscape or uptodate for that.  What’s missing?  Good posts and arguments explore what is missing from mainstream knowledge, what problems do we face that aren’t widely known, not just the same boring information rewritten.

6) Share your favorite things!  We might love them too.  You could change someone’s life!  Take pictures and share them with us.  Pictures might be the number one way to increase readership.

7)  Make it personal.  It’s okay, people are probably keeping up with your blog because they like you.  Sometimes it takes a personal argument to get others to see things in a differnt light.  My number of viewers greatly increased when I started to post more personal thoughts and pictures.  I’m surprisingly okay with that (for now).  And as far as med blogs go, make it personal as much as you are comfortable with.  It’s really nice for people to know that they are not alone in this huge world.  Life can be tough – sharing struggles helps others just as much as it might be therapeutic for you.

8) Give credit where credit is due:  Sharing ideas and pictures is fun.  Just give those who have inspired you a shout out.  They’ll appreciate it, and will likely do the same in return.  I usually just link my pictures for credits, if you ever see me miss a beat, please let me know.  Strive for original content, but let others know when they’ve inspired you.

9) And medical bloggers, please, Don’t blog about your patients.  Unless you have specific permission from them and they see the post before it gets published.  Keep your patients privacy of utmost important and follow HIPPA regulations.  You’re giving our entire profession a bad name when you talk about them in a public forum.  Honestly, I find this terrifying and I know thats an extreme adverb.  I mean it.

10)  Remember to unplug from time to time and have fun.  I’m practically plugged in all day.  I hate it.  I miss the days of no cell phone or computer but such is the life of a med student.  We typically leave our phones at home on the weekends and I find this so liberating.  If it ever takes me several days or weeks to get back to you, please, just be happy for me that my phone and computer have not taken on my pulse from being so intimately connected to me.

med students: we’re always plugged in (unfortunately)

Do you agree?  What else makes a blog engaging?  What makes you keep going back for more?  Wish me luck this week!