August 31, 2009, 3:16 pm

Observing the Blogosphere

perfectcapThe. Perfect. Cap.

The entire reason my nine-year-old self decided to be a nurse.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what the perfect ten-out-of-ten cap (on the Emergiblog Cap Rating Scale) looks like.

If I could add effects, I’d surround it with a heavenly glow and have an angelic choir going “Ahhhhhhhhhh” behind it!

And even better? It’s exactly like the one I wore in the dark ages back in the day.

The one I would wear in a split second today if I thought I could get away with it without getting laughed at.

Looks like someone has saved it for posterity in a museum. Mine is in the den closet (and I wouldn’t even charge admission if you wanted to see it).

*******************

This is exciting: blogging colleague Dr. Val and the Better Health website were referenced during a Larry King show! Dr. Val is also in the running to be a panelist at the next SXSW conference. You can register and vote for her using the for the SXSW PanelPicker. If you have heard her speak, you know she should be at the next SXSW!

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I’ve received some emails from nurses who would like to start a blog. Some are a bit nervous about starting, others are not sure how to begin. There are a million sites out there on how to start a blog; in fact, I wrote a post specifically on how to be a “nurse blogtitioner”.

But their emails got me thinking about the blogosphere in general and the most important considerations in starting/maintaining a blog.

1.  The blogsosphere can never be saturated.

Think you have nothing to add to the dialog? Think that everything about your topic has been said?  Think again. If you aren’t blogging there is still a voice that needs to be heard. What exactly do you bring to the discussion? You! No one has had your experiences or can express your opinions. More importantly, no one else can bring your voice. And unlike a meeting or an email, there are no time limits or physical boundaries to the blogosphere. There is room for everybody, and that means you!

2. The heart of the blogosphere is interactivity.

If you read blogs, you probably leave comments. Comments are the soul of the blogosphere. With them, the blogosphere is a conversation. Without them, the blogosphere is simply a virtual collection of “articles”. By starting a blog, you bring the dialog to your “home turf”, so-to-speak. You are the host/hostess of a virtual “salon”, providing information on your sphere of expertise, initiating the debate and most importantly, learning from those who comment on your posts.

3.  The blogosphere is the great equalizer.

There is no hierarchy of blogs. Don’t confuse size with importance. Some blogs may have a million readers a day and some may have ten, but in the blogosphere, no one is “better” than anyone else. Your blog, with that first post, is just as important and just as relevant as anything you see on “Instapundit” or the “Huffington Post”.  It’s unique and cannot be replicated, because it is based on your outlook and experiences.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you start your blog:

1. Content is King

Maybe you look at the blogs with the sidebars and the graphics and the ads and the widgets and think, “Man, I don’t know how to do all that!”. You don’t have to do all that!  All you have to do is start posting. One post. Later, if you want, you can add a blogroll or a few widgets. But the way to start is to begin writing, and keep writing. People will come for your content. Everything else takes a back seat to that.

2. Promotion, Ur Doin’ it Right

You’ve just put up your first post. A few folks might stumble on your site by accident, but you need to get out the word that you’re on the web. This is where you start promoting your blog. The best way to do this is find a carnival for your niche and submit a post. For those of us in the medblogging community, examples would be Grand Rounds, Change of Shift, Patients for a Moment and The Handover.  Make your url part of every email signature and blog comment you send. Write it, and they will come…but they need to know you’re there.

3.  Prolific Perfection…Not

Blogging can be addicting, and in a good way.  It can be challenging, therapeutic, frustrating, and energizing – all in one post! But…you do not have to be the “perfect” writer. Just find your style and run with it. And while consistent posting makes it easier for readers to find your blog, you control your posting schedule.  “Prolific” is what you say it is, be it once a week or once a day.  But know this: the more you write, the easier it becomes to write; the more you are interacting with the blogosphere, the more inspiration you will find and the more you will want to write.  It’s the blogosphere “circle of life”!

So…if you ask me, should I blog?

I’ll say YES!!!!

Been there, still doing that, and if I can do it, you can do it.

It will clarify your outlook.

It will recharge your batteries.

It will change your life.

Really, the bottom line?

You’ll never know unless you write…

That first post.

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22 Comments

  • Sean
    Sean

    August 31, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I second the Yes!.. with a Hell YES!
    I’ve gotten so much from blogging over the past year. Everything from meeting a ton of great people, networking, friendship, etc. I feel less ‘alone’ when it comes to the difficulties on being a nurse in our nursing world – sharing our horror stories and our triumphs.
    I also somehow.. learned to write a little better, which become oh-so evident this past summer when I started taking classes this summer!
    WOOT WOOT!
    Get out there and blog!


  • Maureen@IslandRoar
    Maureen@IslandRoar

    August 31, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Great post!
    As someone that’s only been blogging since May, this is all good advice.
    And I do love that cap! When I started nursing in 1983, our head nurse, who was very young, wore her cap and got a lot of grief for it.
    But it wasn’t nearly so pretty…


  • Rachel
    Rachel

    August 31, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    To anyone in doubt after this post, go for it. Blogging can be rewarding if just one person gets something out of your posts. :)


  • jeff
    jeff

    August 31, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    great advice kim! dont forget theres also the surgical grand rounds – SurgeXperiences around!

    http://surgexperiences.wordpress.com


  • aqua
    aqua

    August 31, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Hi Kim,
    I love the cap. My Mom used to wear one just like it with her crisp, bleached, ironed and starched uniform. She looked so regal and beautiful.

    When she passed away we found one of her caps, so my sisters and I set up a table in homage of her nursing days (she nursed from the time she was 21 until she retired, three months before she died). The table had her nursing graduation photo…stunning, her cap, and tons of photos of her and her fellow nurses/friends getting into all sorts of silly and serious things.

    I wish she could have gone through all those moments with us. Nursing is one of the most important careers there is. So glad you write about it.
    …aqua


  • Reality Rounds
    Reality Rounds

    August 31, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I would love more nursing blogs! The more the merrier. I am hoping for some more NICU bloggers if anyone is listening.
    As far as the nursing cap, I wore a nursing cap in my nursing graduation picture. I may one day make this picture my avatar, but I am not there yet :)


  • Sean
    Sean

    August 31, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Great post! Especially at a time where I’m starting all over. It’s great to see a reminder that the basics are what’s important.


  • Ken O
    Ken O

    September 1, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Just my 2p worth (look I’m British):-

    1) Content is indeed king; if you don’t have content (new posts and a group of commenters) there’s nothing to keep people coming back. That said, don’t feel you need a new post every day if there’s an on-going conversation in the comments.
    2) As Kim says (or infers) the best blogs are the ones that attract the right readership, rather than the ones that attract the most readers.
    3) Promotion:-
    A) Don’t spam your friends with a signature; tell them (us?) with a single e-mayo!
    B) Do use the website/URI/URL field in the comments header when you comment on entries on blogs in related fields to the one you blog in.


  • #1 Dinosaur
    #1 Dinosaur

    September 1, 2009 at 2:31 am

    Agreeing with everything you’ve said, all I can add is Dinosaur’s Blogging Rules:
    * Write well.
    * Say something.
    * Mix it up.


  • Walt Trachim
    Walt Trachim

    September 1, 2009 at 3:41 am

    Pearls of wisdom, your words are… You did it again. And I agree with everyone else that’s commented: all one has to do it start. Plain and simple. The rest seems to come over time.


  • RehabRN
    RehabRN

    September 1, 2009 at 5:53 am

    Blog as if your life depends on it…it does. Or at least your sanity and having the ability to let go sometimes.

    It’s not a case of je blog donc je suis (I blog therefore I am) for everyone, but it’s another creative outlet in which you can do things…and vent…and hopefully not get fired or sued. It may leave your stove cleaner, too, since you may not start cooking and mess it up…oops, someone must have looked in MY kitchen. (I don’t just cook on my blog…)

    Blogging has been a lifesaver for me. It forces me to think outside the box and constantly evaluate what’s going on in my world. And I’m a sharing type. If you like it, goody for you. If not, check out another blog.

    And, I have to say, it’s fun. If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t do it.


  • Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope
    Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope

    September 1, 2009 at 5:56 am

    Great post!! I love blogging, but love reading other blogs even more, especially yours.
    By the way, I’m not sure if you read mine, but I started my Critical Care program and absolutely love it!! I’m already thinking about when I can become certified, but I know I have a long way to go and need to calm down and learn how to be a critical care nurse first!!


  • Stina
    Stina

    September 2, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Thank you for the confidence boost Kim. I’ve got to keep on writing. It’s hard starting off from the beginning, but if I am blogging for myself first, it doesn’t matter how many readers I get. :)


  • Sean
    Sean

    September 2, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Thanks for adding my new site to your blog roll :)


  • Doctor-to-Be
    Doctor-to-Be

    September 3, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Hi Kim,

    Great post! I am new to blogging (as in, I launched my blog earlier this week) and enjoyed these nuggets of wisdom and encouragement!

    xo
    Doctor-to-Be
    http://www.payformybrain.blogspot.com

    p.s. I worked at a hospital a few years back and there actually was a nurse on one of the floors who wore an old-time nurse’s uniform and cap — with no intended irony or humor. It was a hoot!


  • Laney
    Laney

    September 4, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Thanks for this post! And thanks to your tips, my blog has jumped form 3-10 readers a day to about 50 [which is VERY exciting to a new blogger like myself!!!]

    I think this is one of those encouraging posts that pushes us to keep going :)


  • whitecap nurse
    whitecap nurse

    September 4, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Hey Kim –
    Try wearing your cap on Halloween for starters. I wear mine every day (and I didn’t even get one when I graduated.) You’ll be amazed how it changes your interactions with people. Try it just for a day.


  • Dr. Dean Brandon
    Dr. Dean Brandon

    September 5, 2009 at 6:25 am

    One more thing, other than the computer you have anyways, you do not have to spend a dime. What you “spend” is your time. So far, I have not spent any money and I have been blogging since 2006.

    http://www.cyberdentist.blogspot.com

    Oh, I wish more nurses would wear those little hats-very cool. Hats are undervalued in our society. Among other things they help others recognize your profession, training, and expertise.


  • danielle
    danielle

    September 6, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Funny….every once in awhile I get the urge to pull my cap out and wear it….first becuase I am so damn proud of it but 2d to see what people would say!


  • NPs Save Lives
    NPs Save Lives

    September 6, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    I totally agree with what Kim and the many others that I read says about blogging. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever been involved with and count many fellow nurse friends from it.


  • Paris
    Paris

    September 11, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    The nurse blogging community is so supportive and there are so many stories to be told. Thank you Kim for encouraging nurses to get their voices out there!


  • Miss Anne
    Miss Anne

    September 12, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks for this post. It can be scary to put your thoughts and writing out into cyberspace and not have any idea who is sitting behind a computer at any given moment reading your opinions, experiences, thoughts. It can be hard to just let go and not care what anybody thinks about it.

    And you’re right – it’s definitely therapeutic.

    Thanks again – hope you’ll stop by. :)

    btw – your blog is excellent. I’m a new fan.


About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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