Saturday, June 02, 2007

Blog smart, blog safe

In the wake of Flea’s difficulties Clinical Cases and Images offers some timely advice on smart, safe blogging. Clinical Cases and Images is an examplar of smart blogging from design to content. The authors are open about who they are and their institutional affiliation. It’s one the blogs I trust so I thought I’d mention the post here, which advises us thusly:

I would encourage anybody to write a blog if they have something interesting to say and add value to the online conversation. Just be smart about it. Write to share and educate not to blow off steam. We live in a Google world. What you post online today can come back tomorrow to haunt you.

For me, not blowing off steam doesn’t mean we shouldn’t express strong opinions. My rule is to try and back up opinions with evidence, avoid personal attacks and avoid references to local health care issues.

Other tips:

- Write as if your boss and your patients are reading your blog every day

- Comply with HIPAA
- Do not blog anonymously. List your name and contact information
- If your blog is work-related, it is probably better to let your employer know
- Use a disclaimer, e.g. " All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice."

Whether it’s best to blog anonymously is a point of controversy, but recent events have shown us that the veil of anonymity is thin.

No comments: