Thoughts on Blogs: A Glimpse at Healthcare Blogs – 5 Points

DSC05693-BBlogging does not come natural to me.  But it is interesting, because there are particular blogs that I do enjoy visiting, particularly photography blogs.  Healthcare blogs were often times places I would go for a good laugh!  Typically the advice seems very elementary or frankly wrong in my opinion.  Often times, patients will come into my office having read many blogs and articles online which have created concerns which need not exist.  While I do not say that people should not go online to read about healthcare, I wish more patients read with caution.

Nonetheless, there are a few things which I have noticed about healthcare blogs which I feel make them useless and easy to use.

5 Points For Successful Healthcare Blogs

1. Numbers

Often times they will number bullet points which somehow make things more palatable – more digestible.  When you see “Top 5 Causes of Obesity!” you know you will only have to read through 5 causes.  You know it will be brief and likely simple to grasp.

2. Colorful Pictures

No blog is complete without colorful pictures!  A great example of this is the blog, Girls Gone Strong; bright pictures galore.  Like the nice bokehlicious picture of the medicine tablets up there?  Well, I do and it might have helped to attract you to read this post.  We know from our readings pictures and attractive formatting are key to getting interest and keeping interest.  Also, have you ever noticed how most of the pictures they have are of women?

Woman Sitting DownWe all know sex appeal works, well it also works for healthcare blogs.  Post a picture of a women wearing just enough close to not be lewd but it somehow conjures up health, cleanliness, body, beauty, youth . . . all kinds of positive health images.  Oh yeah and it doesn’t hurt that it’s a pretty girl!

3. Humor

Have you ever noticed that most blogs are witty and teetering on humorous?  While not usually overtly “Saturday Night Live” type comedy, but just enough jocularity to keep you reading.  This is particularly important for the all too common “sex health” blogs where gritty, raw language often keeps readers reading.

4. Brief

Part of the reason I don’t like the healthcare blogs is they are too brief.  They don’t give enough detail, they don’t provide the reader with enough information to figure out if those symptoms are just the common cold or a new nasal tumor!  While to a physician it would seem quite easy to distinguish the 2, somehow the blogs don’t always get it right.  The brevity helps for readership but doesn’t actually help the reader!

5. Easy to Understand

Probably one of the strengths of these blogs are the ease of understanding the language.  They use layman’s terms, they use simple phrases.  These are all good for improving understanding in health, so I’m all about that!

Overall, the blogosphere is full of healthcare blogs, from ones provided by leading healthcare organizations, to community help groups, to type A personality worrywarts.  Some of them are really helpful, others not so much.  Perhaps they all do have a common good thread – they keep us thinking about our health and ways to improve it!

Side Comments:
I noticed in prepping for this blog entry, I had to change my attitude towards blogging to write what I felt would be a successful blog.  I felt like it was imperative I have fun with it and show others I was having fun with use of colloquial language, witty statements, and cheeky rhetoric.  Also, Mansfield tells us, a blogger must be confident (2012).  In the post, I acted as though I was the authority on healthcare blogging while I am nowhere near that.  I have just observed many things and I am a medical professional.  With those 2 “expert qualifications”, I confidently expressed my opinions as facts.  Readers will have to use their own judgement whether to believe my statements or not.  It was a fun and eye-opening experience.

Thanks!

References:

Comas, J. (n.d.). Grace Under (Food) Pressure: 5 Effective Strategies for Handling Food Pushers. Retrieved July 14, 2015.

Mansfield, H. (2012). Social media for social good: A how-to guide for nonprofits. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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