Thursday, January 28, 2010

Randall Wong, MD: Go on and say it!

Perhaps you would like to start a Web site or blog, but you are not sure you want to don't have anything to say or are not sure anyone cares. There's an easy remedy: start commenting on blogs that you read.

One unique aspect of blogs (versus the old fashioned Web page) is that the reader may leave a comment. Comments serve several purposes and may be a useful way for you to get started on the Web.

Here are five reasons why you should start commenting:
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1. Feedback - If you read an article and you have something worthwhile and relevant to say, leave a comment. Everyone loves feedback, especially bloggers. (I think even ER docs must love feedback!)

When I write, I have no idea if I got my message across, or more specifically if my writing was clear and cohesive. I can indirectly check by looking at the article's stats the next day, i.e. how many people read the article. I can also tell if my article was popular by seeing how many people "tweeted" about my article. But these are indirect methods.

It is rewarding to have someone leave a comment. This is direct evidence that my message was well received. It is a nice way to say "thank-you."

2. Web Presence - Starting to comment on blogs will start your Web 2.0 presence. Most blogs ask for your name, e-mail and Web address. The name and e-mail usually have to be legit and really function to block spammers.

On the other hand, your name will start your Web presence (in case you are hesitant). The search engines will actually start to keep track of you.

3. Web Traffic - Leaving a Web address with your comment will create, in the Web 2.0 world, an external link from the site you were just reading to your own Web site. External links are an important way to build traffic and increase your Web ranking.

By the way, the web address you provide can also be your Facebook page, LinkedIn site, etc.

Readers of your comment can also click directly on your Web site/Facebook page/Twitter page/etc. and read all about you. Some blogs, however, don't actually list these addresses.

4. People Do Care - As physicians we tend to trivialize our own knowledge and assume everyone shares the same information and that we have nothing special to say. Every one's ideas and interpretations are different. Web sites attract readers from various backgrounds.

Not everyone reading is a doctor!

Even if you have nothing different to say, it is worthwhile to validate the author's opinion with your own. Perhaps you disagree with the author; you might choose to compose a nice comment outlining your counterpoint. You are just creating a constructive conversation using your expertise! Web 2.0 is all about creating "conversations" and sharing information.

5. Get Used To It - Writing comments may be just the way to get used to writing on the Web. It should not be a bad experience. Contributing, especially as physicians, may be one way to improve the quality of health information on the Internet.

Commenting will let you experience, and get over, the anxiety of writing. You'll find people won't poke fun at you, snicker, or call you stupid. Instead, you'll find a whole world that is appreciative of your time and expertise. Just like in the office.


  1. I agree. Nothing worse than wondering if your message is read by anyone. "Howling in the wind" comes to mind. Thanks for writing down what I've been thinking!

  2. Testing, testing... I have been tasked with enhancing the social media presence for my company. Your blog has been helpful and motivating. This is my first virtual exposure... The Post Comment button is daunting!