I was sitting in the third session of the medical blogger track at Blogworld Expo and noticed something. On the screen to the right of the speakers was a live feed from Twitter. It seemed that everything posted there had the word "Blogworld" in it, so I twittered the following:
Like magic, my tweet went up on the screen!
Then began a series of responses:
Which looked like this:
So all the world of Blogworld saw our antics; yet we were not Blogworld kicked out. Clearly there was poor Blogworld monitoring.
Overall, the Expo was wonderful. I have gone to medical and EMR conferences over the past 10 years and, truthfully, get bored in them. I learn things in the medical conference, but having done EMR for the past 13 years, there are not a lot of new tricks to learn. Blogging is a whole different thing.
The medical track was especially good, with excellent discussions on several very pertinent subjects:
- The history of medical blogging - Was just plain interesting.
- The ethics of medical blogging - I talked on this panel and despite that fact, it was good. There are very big issues around being in a business that emphasizes privacy, and blogging - which is public by nature.
- How to influence healthcare through blogging - Very good discussion about what the point is of what we do as bloggers. What is happening as a consequence of what we do?
- The value of blogs to corporations and hospitals - The issues around these institutions are much different, but are important for all of us. How do pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the media handle medical blogging? Where does blogging fit in and what are the pitfalls?
It was truly a joy to meet many of the medical bloggers I have read for years, especially my chance to meet the wonderful South African blogger Bongi and his fiancee Delre Roberts.
So what of the rest of Blogworld? Here are some of the take-home messages I got:
- Google AdSense is not a good way to make money.
- Design of your blog will do a lot to retain visitors. I changed the tagline of my blog because the haiku kept things mysterious to new visitors.
- Don't apologize for advertising. You work hard on your blog and good enough content will retain serious readers.
- Put things on your blog that will bring readers who get posts via RSS feed. Things like contests, polls, and other interactive things are examples. Increased traffic allows you to attract advertisers and increase your income.
Let me add, however, that medical bloggers are under a different level of scrutiny. Our legitimacy is based on our independent voice. Our job is to speak for our profession and for patients. Just as people don't want doctors' prescribing habits influenced by pharmaceutical companies, our voice as a blogger should never be perceived as influenced by outside forces.
So, I recommend that (Blogworld) all of you go (Blogworld) to the Expo put on by....