This month, HealthBlawg turns ten. I think that’s about ninety in blog years. The world is a different place than it was ten years ago, and the blogosphere certainly has evolved quite a bit since 2006. I started blogging in order to put myself “out there” in a way that hadn’t been possible before, and the rewards I have reaped as a result have been different in kind and degree from what I had hoped. At the beginning I thought of the blog entirely as an exercise in developing more of an online presence in order to market my practice. It has certainly done that but, more importantly, it has helped me join and help build a community — or, rather, several communities — that I never would have found otherwise: Communities of lawyers, health policy wonks, health IT nerds, social media evangelists and users, digital health toolmakers and enthusiasts, health data liberation activists, health data privacy and security specialists . . . and more . . . all unbounded by geography. In retrospect, I realize that it was impossible for me to imagine the connections that blogging — and starting a little later, tweeting — would engender, and I feel extremely lucky to have found my “tribe” or “tribes” through the intertubes.
Along the way, I have participated in a number of blog carnivals (for the uninitiated: a sort of journal club for bloggers) — including Blawg Review and Grand Rounds (and even co-founded one, HealthCare SocialMedia Review), though given the changes in blogging over time, only one of them is still running: Health Wonk Review. (The indexes to GR and HCSMR are lost to the sands of time, though you can find editions that I hosted by searching through HealthBlawg; a couple of my favorites are here and here. I also offer direct links to examples of my hosting efforts at BR and HWR.)
There has even been a blog rally promoting the idea of having frank conversations about our wishes regarding end of life care (Engage With Grace).
All the conversation and interaction has been grounded in the regular posting of new blog posts. Blogging is both an intensely private act and a social act. Writing a post happens alone — and then we click that publish button, and who knows what might happen next? Like many bloggers, I have treated my blog both as a megaphone and a public sketchpad; blogging is both a way to communicate well-formed ideas and a way to work out what I think about something . . . by writing about it and by — one would hope — sparking some interest in others. Blog posts have led to comments and conversations, tweets, Skype calls, Google Hangouts, Blabs, et cetera, et cetera.
For many, the online community has moved past the long-form blog post. I can converse on Twitter, Facebook and the never-ending parade of other platforms about a wide range of issues — but for me, the blog post remains at the core. I often share a link to a blog post I’ve written — or that I’ve read on another blog — when it relates to an online discussion. Sometimes I am happy to see how an older HealthBlawg post has held up over time; sometimes I think: Gee, what was I thinking? or: Wow, things have changed a lot in a few short years. But that’s OK. The blog remains the archival sketchpad, the repository of thinking over time, the “Quantified Self” tool of the modern-day thinker and writer.
I’m still enjoying the ride, and I hope you are too, gentle reader.
In academia, it is common to celebrate a significant career milestone with a Festschrift — a collection of writings by colleagues published together in order to commemorate the event. For HealthBlawg’s tenth blogiversary, I have asked some fellow-travelers — most of whom I met first on line, through our blogging and tweeting, and only later met in real life — to help me celebrate by contributing posts they think I might like to read, collected in a Festschrift of the Blogosphere. My heartfelt thanks go out to them, and to all of my other fellow-travelers. Throughout the month of June, these posts will be featured on HealthBlawg. I’ll be updating this post to include direct links to each of them, and they may all be found here as well: Tenth Blogiversary.
- Integrated Health – People Finally Caring About Their Health and Not Even Realizing It by John Lynn
- DonaldCare: Can Trump Make American Healthcare Great Again? by Patricia Salber
- Gimme my DaM Data: liberating to patients, scary to some by e-Patient Dave deBronkart
- Channeling Churchill to deal with innovation, impatience and chaos in healthcare by Nick van Terheyden (Dr. Nick)
- In search of consensus on reducing clinical variation by Paul Levy
- Five tips for defending your online privacy in healthcare by Bertalan (Berci) Mesko MD PhD
- Most Americans Favor A Federally-Funded Health System by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn
- US and UK Health Systems – Not So Different? by Richard Dale
- How can Artificial Intelligence in healthcare help patient engagement? by Robert Rowley MD
- Consumer-focused technology is transforming healthcare as we know it by Tamara StClaire
… More to come … Keep checking back …
Image credit: Wolfgang Moroder via WikiMedia CC