EDITORIAL: The Daily Medical Examiner has witnessed the explosive rise in popularity of medical student, resident, and physician blogs. Pre-med students, laypeople, and family members are drooling to know what it’s like learning to be a doctor, and a growing population of budding medical writers are eager to tell them online. Always willing to provide sage guidance in the world of medical writing, the DME wanted to offer a few easy guidelines to aspiring medical trainees who are starting a blog this year. To get the inside scoop, we went to one of the industry’s stars, doctor Mark Timmerst. His straightforward tips will make sure that you get publicity from the people who truly matter.
Dr. Timmerst, a successful freelance medical blogger whose website reached nearly 400,000 followers before being shut down by his employers as part of a frivolous lawsuit, lends his expertise and experience to help new bloggers who are just breaking the ice.
TIMMERST’S TOP 5 RULES FOR MEDICAL BLOGS
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Say the Crazy Things in Your Head– A good blog post doesn’t shy away from the hot-button issues – religion, endangered whales, politics, etc. – nothing is off limits. Lay your opinions out there; say things you’re thinking but would never say in public. Inflammatory statements make for intoxicating reading and can totally ignite your impact-factor as a writer and doctor. You could start by getting a Twitter account and lighting up the web with your unfiltered genius.
2. Details Make a Story Sparkle – The more you say about a patient, disease, or hospital mishap, the more explosive the blog will be. Names, dates, and places bring the events to life in a way that a bland, de-identified pile of literary oatmeal never could. Our society’s misguided fixation on patient privacy and HIPAA is a fad which will eventually wither in the brilliant heat of telling the whole truth to anyone who will listen.
3. Everyone Loves Good Workplace Dirt – The nitty-gritty of working in a big hospital as a student or resident can get frustrating or icky at times. Tell your friends exactly what you’re thinking about that difficult nurse, obnoxious administrator, or hilarious hospital fecal spill. Post when emotions are fresh; don’t let your head put speed bumps in front of your heart.
4. You’re the Hero of the Story – The world needs you. Prove it by sharing a story about the awful things that are happening at your institution and what you think should be done.
5. Use Your Real Name – You’re gonna be famous one day, either as a doctor or a writer. Establish your credibility by letting the world know who you are from Day 1!
Dr. Timmerst’s Conclusion:
“Too many young bloggers let concerns about professionalism or worries about their future employment ground them just when they’re about to soar on the wings of the internet. All they can really take from you is your diploma, your license, and your livelihood. Beyond that, you’ve nothing to fear. Go forth, Medical Bloggers and let the world know you’ve arrived!!!”
Mark Timmerst, founder of the famed medical blog “Because I’m the Doctor, And I Said So!,” can now be found lending his good name and expertise to several fantastic skin care products from Dermagizer. Please join the DME for Dr. Timmerst’s next article on how physicians should use social media.
DISCLAIMER: All stories, quotations, medical reports, studies, and news entries are fictitious – created in the interest of humor. They are the rotten fruit falling from the imagination of the Daily Medical Examiner creative staff, and any relationship to actual events present or historical should be considered coincidental. The DME uses invented names for people, businesses, and institutions in its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is coincidental.