The Status of Bloggers

Envision Solutions, a marketing firm, has put together a 110-page guide to healthcare blogging. It's available for $36.95, but will become more expensive after May 30th (which is curious, because it ought to be obsolete right around then). Amy from DiabetesMine alerted me to the publication, and from the table of contents, I can see they've excerpted her. It seems like "Healthcare Provider Blogs" got about 6 pages... which is nice.

Hopefully they mentioned medical student Graham Walker -- but if not, he may get some consolation from the fact he appears in the new graduate rankings issue of US News and World Report, in their article on academic blogging/

Daniel Drezner is also interviewed:

Those already working in academe may also find themselves in hot water. Political science Prof. Daniel Drezner, for one, believes that his own well-known blog,, may have played a role in his being denied tenure at the University of Chicago last year; he now cautions graduate students and untenured peers to think carefully before creating web diaries themselves. The ivory tower's old guard, he argues, is likely to overestimate the amount of time it takes to maintain a blog and also fail to acknowledge any potential intellectual value, among other downsides. "One of the problems with blogging is that it provides an alternative route through which academics can attain status, outside the more proper, traditional, peer-reviewed path," adds Drezner, who'll move to a tenured post at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University this summer. "As a result, there's always going to be hostility toward people who manage to do that, in the same way there is toward those who write only popular books."

Of course, the peer-review that leads to general popularity in the acamdemic blogosphere is at least comparable to what goes on in a manuscript review. Drezner otherwise hits the nail on the head.

Another way of putting it: Atul Gawande has about 25 citations in pubmed, many of these are articles in JAMA and the NEJM -- but very little of it is actual new research. Mostly it's his interviews, summaries and opinions (we're not even counting his New Yorker pieces). His stuff is extremely well written and enlightening, but I've noted before there's some resentment towards his position and frequent pontifications. I wonder: will he be penalized compared to an age-matched peer with 25 publications, when it comes to tenure review?

Similarly, I'd be curious to see how Graham and others handle questions about blogging during residency interviews (the new season is just six months away). My freelance writing and blogging didn't come up much on the interview trail, but when it did (and since) the reactions have been fortunately positive. So far.