Why bravery is a prerequisite to start a blog?

Why bravery is a prerequisite to start a blog?


It took me most of 2010 to weight up the pros and cons of starting a blog.

I already have a busy, well-established rheumatology practice and our clinic has grown steadily through word-of-mouth. There’s also always enough jobs on the to-do list without adding another regular task. Is it worth the risk? What is the risk?

In my 1st blog, I’ve tried to explain why I ended up agreeing to do this. I now want to tell you about the 4 major fears I had to face and continue to face, as I sit at my laptop, typing these words.

Fear 1: Exposing myself to the public

I like to keep a reasonably low profile. There were no photos of me (that I’m aware of!) circulating on the internet for the general public, until now. I’ve been a hard worker and an achiever, rather than someone who has rushed to be a public thought leader.

Fear 2: What if people don’t find what I write interesting or useful?

My ego would be bruised.

Fear 3: What if someone makes negative comments?

I will have little control over what people say about my posts or about me. What if a disgruntled patient decided to take it out on me publicly? I hope this never happens but I suppose I could defend myself if the criticism was unfair, or actually apologise and make amends.

This fear could also provide me even greater incentive to provide exceptional care so that the probability of a disgruntled patient becomes exceedingly low.

Fear 4: What would my medical colleagues think?

The profession of medicine is in general, conservative. Australian Rheumatologists, in a sweeping generalisation, would not be considered the most progressive or the most receptive to change.

I suspect that our blog, will raise at least a few eyebrows, amongst the “establishment”.

Prior to starting the blog, I subscribed to other blogs to see what others do. I came across Dr Bryan Vartabedian, who writes about the convergence of social media and medicine in 33 charts.

Last night, I steeled myself and wrote my very 1st comment to a blog. I commented on his blog about Physician Online Reputation Management, expressing part of the fear I have just written about. To my surprise, I featured, in his next blog! This was social media in action, and it was quite gratifying.

I’m a newbie to this stuff. Many of you reading now are in the same boat. My 1st week of blogging has been surprisingly enjoyable (especially now that my wife is getting better).

Some of you reading are doctors or allied health professionals. What are your own concerns about using social media? Please feel free to comment. You may find it quite liberating.

Some of you reading are patients. Do you think doctors, and other allied health professionals should be using a blog, Twitter and/or Facebook to connect with you? And what would be the benefit to you, if any. Please share this with us.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
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  • http://www.thedoctorsrheum.wordpress.com TheDoctorsRheum

    Welcome! Nice to see another blogging Rheumatologist!

    • Irwin Lim

      The 1st comment on this blog! Thanks!

  • http://33charts.com DrV

    Irwin – Nice summary of what many doctors go through when making their thoughts public. Physicians are, in fact, conservative and adopt these technologies late. You’re a pioneer. Congrats. I look forward to reading.

  • http://www.youthhealth20.com kishan

    Hi Irwin,
    You have a down to earth style of writing and that’s what makes communicating using social media so powerful. Thanks for blogging and being open. I faced exactly the same fears for about a year. I spent about 8 months reading blogs and observing comments and looking out for hiccups.
    I agree with you when you say: “This fear could also provide me even greater incentive to provide exceptional care so that the probability of a disgruntled patient becomes exceedingly low.”


  • http://www.preventmalpractice.blogspot.com Preventmalpractice

    Well on your way to becoming a problogger. Great first post, will retweet with glee.

  • RB

    Hi Dr Lim, I’m just a patient with RA. I want to commend you for starting this blog, what a brave and smart thing to do! I understand your reservations and appreciate you explaining them. Best to be open and honest, it is the only way others will understand and know you. You wrote it very well and I enjoyed reading.
    After being dx’ed with RA in 2009, I found a patient blog, rawarrior.com. I would have been lost and alone without Kelly and her blog, and the friends I have met through the blog. I don’t know anyone in my small town with RA. There is so much to learn in managing this disease. Patients need other patients, as they are the only ones that really get what you’re going through. I am interested in understanding the doctor’s view. We can all learn from each other. In the end, that can only make the doctor/patient relationship work better. There are many excellent patient blogs as well as doctors blogs that I have followed since me dx. They have been a great help. I look forward to reading yours. Good luck on your venture, you will do well. Btw, there will always be negative people who like to stir up trouble, give them no mind.

    • http://bjcconnectedcare.com/ Dr Irwin Lim

      Thanks RB. I’ve only recently discovered patient blogs. They seem very informative. I have already pointed a few of my patients to rawarrior.com as well as to warmsocks.wordpress.com.