"The online version is the official journal of record, not the print edition". Start a blog in 2012

"The online version is the official journal of record", wrote the Editor-in-Chief and the editorial staff of Pediatrics, the official journal of the the American Academy of Pediatrics:

"As we start 2012, and welcome the more than 6 million annual visitors to our journal's Web site, we remind our readers that the online version, not the shorter print edition, is the official journal of record. Is it time to do away with the print version? Probably not just yet, but it may not be long until we are heading in that direction.

If you are thinking, “there are so many options to peruse and so little time!” you will find some highlights of each issue in our blog - First Read - which contains previews of articles of interest selected by members of our executive editorial board. We are even running some of our most interesting “fillers” from the print journal in the blog so they are not missed by our online readers"

This is the URL of the blog which is hosted for free on Blogger.com by Google: http://pediatricsblog.blogspot.com

All physicians should consider starting a blog in 2012

I would encourage all physicians to start a blog in 2012 - here is why (quotes from an interview with Seth Godin and Tom Peters):

"Blogging is free. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads it. What matters is the humility that comes from writing it. What matters is the metacognition of thinking about what you’re going to say.

No single thing in the last 15 years professionally has been more important to my life than blogging. It has changed my life, it has changed my perspective, it has changed my intellectual outlook, it’s changed my emotional outlook. And it’s free."



Don't limit yourself to your blog - use Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus

Blogging can be great for personal growth but there is a lot more interaction on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus nowadays as compared to blogs. If you have a blog, you must also have a Facebook "like" page (previously called "fan" page), a Twitter account, and probably a Google Plus page. These serve the dual purpose of distribution and commenting channels ("two-way street").

For example, Facebook pages get a lot more interaction than blogs for some medical journals - you can compare the number of comments on the NEJM Facebook updates (the range is 9-180) vs. their blog (0). The blog has comments enabled, of course.

Facebook is the clear "winner" in terms of commenting activity, it is not even close:

NEJM Facebook page vs. NEJM blog

This is a suggested simple project for all doctors in 2012:

1. Start on Twitter (microblog).
2. Continue on Blogger/WordPress.
3. Make an impact. Improve the quality of online health information and tell the public your side of the story.

How to Create a Blog on Blogger in 5 minutes (Google video):



Help your patients and your practice

I developed the concept of Two Interlocking Cycles:

- Cycle of Patient Education
- Cycle of Online Information and Physician Education

The two cycles work together as two interlocking cogwheels (TIC):



References:

Taking the Pulse of Pediatrics. PEDIATRICS Vol. 129 No. 1 January 1, 2012, pp. 168 -169 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-3288).

Social media in medicine: How to be a Twitter superstar and help your patients and your practice

Patients directed to online tools don't necessarily use them: 25% checked website vs. 42% read same material on paper. Am Medical News, 2012.

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