Examining the Medical Blogosphere: An Online Survey of Medical Bloggers

8 Aug

Ivor Kovic1, MD; Ileana Lulic1, MD; Gordana Brumini2, PhD

1Rijeka University School of Medicine, Croatia
2Department of Medical Informatics, Rijeka University School of Medicine, Croatia

ikovic [at] medri.hr

Journal of Medical Internet Research 2008


Background: Blogs are the major contributors to the large increase of new websites created each year. Most blogs allow readers to leave comments and, in this way, generate both conversation and encourage collaboration. Despite their popularity, however, little is known about blogs or their creators.
Objectives: To contribute to a better understanding of the medical blogosphere by investigating the characteristics of medical bloggers and their blogs, including bloggers’ Internet and blogging habits, their motivations for blogging, and whether or not they follow practices associated with journalism.
Methods: We approached 197 medical bloggers of English-language medical blogs which provided direct contact information, with posts published within the past month. The survey included 37 items designed to evaluate data about Internet and blogging habits, blog characteristics, blogging motivations, and, finally, the demographic data of bloggers.
Pearson’s Chi-Square test was used to assess the significance of an association between 2 categorical variables. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient was utilized to reveal the relationship between participants’ ages, as well as the number of maintained blogs, and their motivation for blogging. The Mann-Whitney U test was employed to reveal relationships between practices associated with journalism and participants’ characteristics like gender and pseudonym use.
Results: A total of 80 (42%) of 197 eligible participants responded. The majority of responding bloggers were white (75%), highly educated (71% with a Masters degree or doctorate), male (59%), residents of the United States (72%), between the ages of 30 and 49 (58%), and working in the healthcare industry (67%). Most of them were experienced bloggers, with 23% (18/80) blogging for 4 or more years, 38% (30/80) for 2 or 3 years, 32% (26/80) for about a year, and only 7% (6/80) for 6 months or less. Those who received attention from the news media numbered 66% (53/80). When it comes to best practices associated with journalism, the participants most frequently reported including links to original source of material and spending extra time verifying facts, while rarely seeking permission to post copyrighted material. Bloggers who have published a scientific paper were more likely to quote other people or media than those who have never published such a paper (U= 506.5, n1= 41, n2= 35, P= .016). Those blogging under their real name more often included links to original sources than those writing under a pseudonym (U= 446.5, n1= 58, n2= 19, P= .01). Major motivations for blogging were sharing practical knowledge or skills with others, influencing the way others think, and expressing oneself creatively.
Conclusions: Medical bloggers are highly educated and devoted blog writers, faithful to their sources and readers. Sharing practical knowledge and skills, as well as influencing the way other people think, were major motivations for blogging among our medical bloggers. Medical blogs are frequently picked up by mainstream media; thus, blogs are an important vehicle to influence medical and health policy.

You can read the full article free by clicking on the image below.

This study will encourage and motivate the medical bloggers around the world like myself.


Twitter For Business Case Study: Naked Pizza

8 Aug

Here is a blog post about my favourite social media case study. It is simple and smart.

I like giving this case to my clients and friends in order to emphasize the power of social media in business.

Located in New Orleans, this pizza company made a twitter only promotion in twitter in April 23, 2009. The result: 15% increase in sales on that day and 90% of the customers being new ones.

Growing Social Media Addiction

8 Aug

If social media marketing specialists do not know about people’s attitudes  and behaviours  in the world of social media, they will not be as effective as they should be.

Below is a post (April 2010)  from Social Media Examiner about two recent social media market studies on people’s behaviours and attitudes.

People under the age of 25 are more addictive to social network sites i.e. Facebook and Twitter than people over 25 years old. However, the difference is not so dramatic.

A striking finding from that study is that more than half of the Facebook users check their Facebook pages at least once a day. Considering the amount of members in this social networking site, it is huge!

The second study is after the question “What do users want?”

Chitika, an online advertising network , in their study observed:

“Facebook and Twitter users want news, Digg users have more eclectic taste, and MySpace users want to hear primarily about celebrities and video games.”  Interestingly, Twitter users actually were the largest consumers of news sites at 47%, compared to Facebook’s 28%.

Nonprofit and Social Media Surveys

8 Aug

Beth’s Blog is an important source if you are interested/involved in social media and non-for-profit organizations.

Here is an important post from her blog on findings of two surveys on the use of social media for non-for-profit organizations.

First survey was performed by Weber Shandwick; a global public relations firm. The survey was applied to 200 nonprofit and foundation executives in order to see how these organizations were using social media and the value they derived from social media. Interestingly, only half of the nonprofit sector were active users of social media. Most executives understand the importance of social media for the sector but also admit that there is yet more to get from social media than they get now.

The other survey, implemented by Philanthropy Action, focuses on midsized nonprofits.  The headline is:  Social Network and Mid-Size Nonprofits:  What’s The Use? The survey looked at results and numbers and concludes that social media is not very effective and that midsize organizations should not waste time or effort.   The survey was implemented between July 2008 and March 2009 – and the results presented here are focused on impact metrics.

I do believe myself that non-for-profit organizations do not use social media as effective as they should be using. The most common reasons I can list as follows:

1- They think they do not have the enough manpower to dedicate time on social media.

2- They do not know exactly what to get from social media: ambiguity in purpose.

3- They are not 100% aware of the power of communicating through social media.

You can read the entire post of Beth Kanter  by clicking on the image below:


8 Aug

The humankind has witnessed “words” for the first time 7,000 years ago…

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg 600 years ago made the words travel around faster than before.

Then,  words on newspapers came on the scene 400 years ago.

In the World War I and World War II, words were carried with pigeons. The mascot of the social networking site Twitter is a carrier pigeon.

Peoples started  hearing the words on the radio 100 years ago and on the  television 60 years ago.


Came the era of computers…And the world witnessed a new revolution of communication: Social Media in 21st century.

Today…People actively use the words and share their words.

The first decade of the century witnessed the growing of social media. In this decade; 2010-2020, we will see more academic approach when graduate students finish their masters, PhDs and  fellowships on social media. We will have social media faculty members teaching social media and doing academic research on social media with their graduate students.

This blog is a humble contribution to the academic expansion on this revolutionary way of communication  by collecting the recent literature; the academic studies on social media…