Why Do You Blog?

The past week I’ve been meandering down the interview trail hoping to avoid death by dysentery along the way…ugh…wait…wrong trail.

Anyhow, I really have been traveling around Central Texas the past week for residency interviews and along the way the most commonly asked question has been:

“Why exactly do you blog?”

Most often the question has been posed with genuine interest and good intentions, but it has been occasionally paired with a single raised eyebrow and skeptical tone. Both reactions I understand and both are great reasons for me to address the question here. Would it be appropriate to refer someone to a URL mid-interview?

No? Oops…maybe I really have been in the blogosphere too long.

So, here are the 6 best reasons I can come up with on this half-cup of coffee I’ve had:

#1: I enjoy it.

I initially started writing in this blog 2 years ago (holy wow, have I really been typing random rants and information for two full years? You people are so tolerant.) because I felt like medical school had sucked the creativity out of me. I can’t paint or draw (except those awesome stick figures cursed with Streptococcus agalactiae and Pseudomonas), so naturally blogging was my only option.

#2: Before medical school I worried…about work-life balance, about studying, about family.

I feel like I have a perspective to share that would’ve given me hope as a pre-med. I wanted to write about whatever we might sit down and talk about over coffee. I wanted to show that a work-life balance was not impossible for a woman in medicine and I wanted to share my experiences. Everyone doesn’t go to medical school, but a lot of people seem to be genuinely interested in our experiences here, particularly those considering a career in medicine. This feeling to share the possibility of balance in medicine became even more urgent after seeing that everyone was not promoting the fact that it is possible.

#3: Our patients are online…and they have so much to teach us.

I feel like I’ve now written ad nauseam about the utility of hearing people’s stories…feel free to hop on over to “Following Patients On Twitter…” or “What Medical School Doesn’t Teach Us” for my take on learning from patients online.

#4: Our pateints are online…and they have a right to reliable information.

We have this unique opportunity to share information on things we are passionate about and know to be evidenced-based, like flu shots and how they’re safe in pregnancy or the fact that endometriosis is related to infertility. Though I don’t blog in this manner too often at this point in my career, I do plan to share more health information in the future (you know…when I’m really a doctor and stuff).

The bottom line is our patients are going online to find their health information and, in my eyes (and the eyes of some awesome health bloggers like SeattleMamaDoc) that means we have a responsibility to be online with them.

#5: It’s a fun challenge.

Make no mistake, friends – maintaining a blog is no easy feat. It’s a fun and interesting endeavor, but it does take some time and patience. I’ve enjoyed seeing Mind On Med evolve into what it is today and I’m excited to see where it’s headed in the future. I love the challenge of putting my thoughts into words and of designing and orchestrating the back end of the blog. It’s exciting to see what posts get a lot of chatter on the Twitters (usually not the posts I expect) and it’s fun to hear others opinions on what I have to say.

#6: I get to learn from people I never would’ve met if I wasn’t online.

I’ve interacted with people from more countries than I can count, specifically through the Medical Education Monday series. People from all over the world have taught me what it’s like to train to be a physician in their country and I’ve had the opportunity to share it with y’all. I’ve also had the chance to meet (or “meet”) medical students, doctors, and other providers from around the US and learn about how medicine is practiced in different parts of our country. These are not conversations I would have had without my involvement in social media and I think there’s a lot to be said for a tool that makes it so easy for us to step outside of our little bubbles…and comfort zones!

Why are you involved in social media and/or blogging…as a patient, provider, or student? I’m interested to hear what keeps you coming back to the wonderful web-world every day.

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10 Comments + Add Comment

  • I originally started blogging to interact with people. After graduating college, most of my friends and I went our separate ways (geographically), so not only was it tough to keep in touch, I seemed very alone. I didn’t have anyone to share my random musings with, no one to share how my day went, and no one to hear back from. Thus, I started blogging to keep my friends in the loop and consequently they would share/comment about their lives. As medical school started, I still feel like most of my days are long and alone. Blogging allows me to interact with others, regardless of what field they’re in.

    Additionally, when I read my previous posts of my personal blog, I love reading about how I felt during different times in my life – it’s a nice way of reflecting upon the past and moving forward. I wanted to continue that during medical school. However, lately I’ve been contemplating my social media presence. Thank you so much for writing this; it allowed me to learn why others blog and remind myself why I started blogging in the first place.

    P.S. I’m from Houston, and I’m so jealous that you’re there now and I’m not. I hope you’re having an excellent experience.

  • So long as there has been print there’s been the question of why writers write. It’s no different here. We all have different reasons for being here. Some are altruistic, others self-centered.

    I get a kick out of watching what’s happening in medicine. A shake out like this only happens once every few hundred years. That’s why I stay up late at night talking about it.

    I’m not sure any one else realizes it, however. Which motivates me all the more.

    I like watching people like you, Danielle. It’s just amazing.

    I could go on and on.

    But I won’t.

    That’s all.

  • I wrote before the internet, but only i read it. Since 07 i’ve been blogging and it turns out people are as interested as i am the intersection of science, medicine, and culture. I started as most bloggers, because SIWOTI, but expanded to include my own personal thoughts, stories about medicine, parenting, etc.

  • I began writing my blog to help put good medical info out there. I discovered a great medical blogging community. Lately I have had trouble finding time/ energy to write or even read blogs like I once did. It’s that life/work balance thing to some degree. Hoping to become more active again. Best to you

  • I started blogging about eye health because there wasn’t anything else out there with the kind of content that I thought people wanted about the eye and vision.

  • I like to starting blogging about brain.

  • I’ve been searching for good medical student blogs to follow, because I’m trying to head down the med school path and I’d like to have an idea of what hell I’m getting myself into! Your blog seems great to get some insight from. :)

  • First of all, I love writing; it helps me gain perspective on my life, too. After reading blogs from doctors and current/former medical students for years, I realized blogging is an amazing way of getting involved in the medical community. I’m starting up at CCOM, and I thought it would be an easy way to update my friends and family on my life without losing touch since I know medical school is going to be super stressful/time-consuming. Love your blog:]

  • I love to write…Blogging is my passion and it is the most powerful way to express yourself !! I love your topic..Keep blogging….Cheers!

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About The Author

I'm an ObGyn. I started this blog as a medical student (some would call that doctor school) and now I'm working as an Ob/Gyn, which is seriously the coolest job ever. I'm a twin mom and recently added a baby brudder to the mix. My life story through November 2010 can be viewed here. The events in the many years following can be summed up as wedding bells, books, exams, babies, and doctoring. I started this blog in hopes of landing a role in a Lifetime movie so I could quit medicine and move to Hollywood, but that hasn't if you wouldn't take medical advice from Angelina Jolie, you shouldn't take it from me. I may not even be a real person. In fact, I'm probably a spambot. Or possibly a 15 yo boy blogging from a dingy basement. If you're really interested you can read more about me here. If you have any questions or want to guest post contact me.

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