Monday, September 22, 2014

Refreshing The Definitive List of Hospice and Palliative Blogs

Just in case you thought Pallimed and GeriPal were the only two hospice and palliative medicine blogs out there, I wanted to let you know I have finally gone back and refreshed our ongoing *UPDATED Hospice and Palliative Medicine Blog List*. It had been over a year since I updated it, and I sadly realized a lot of blogs went dormant in that time (19!), but I also found 13 blogs previously not recorded!

So why does this matter? Many have said that blogs are dead, taken over by the fast paced world of Twitter, the ever disappearing Snapchat, and the infinity time-suck of Facebook. Jason Kottke summed it up nicely:

Sometime in the past few years, the blog died. In 2014, people will finally notice. Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs. Instead of blogging, people are posting to Tumblr, tweeting, pinning things to their board, posting to Reddit, Snapchatting, updating Facebook statuses, Instagramming, and publishing on Medium. In 1997, wired teens created online diaries, and in 2004 the blog was king. Today, teens are about as likely to start a blog (over Instagramming or Snapchatting) as they are to buy a music CD. Blogs are for 40-somethings with kids.
Ha, while I do have kids, I'm not a 40-something (yet), and I think people in health care and especially in hospice and palliative medicine still have a lot to say.  And a tweet, picture or Facebook post just doesn't capture it.  We have to write more AND read more to get at real change. In the past we had things like Palliative Care Grand Rounds to feature great blog writing every month. But that round-up of powerful prose dropped off, because it takes time to sustain those things and everyone always seems to be running out of time. Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIN are all so ephemeral. Yet blogs have a sense of permanence and search-ability, those other social networks really do not have.

Except not all blogs are permanent. My favorite blog of years past was Hospice Blog by Hospice Guy. He was an anonymous hospice doctor in Oklahoma and he wrote honestly and passionately about his work. But he stopped writing, and the blog eventually disappeared*. Either taken down intentionally or just lost to the maintenance of the internet. I don't want that to happen to other HPM writers.

So I will make a promise to you as editor of Pallimed to highlight great writing when we see it.  It may come in a summary of links, a feature piece about a single blog, or even reposted content (with permission). And when you read it, you can share it, tweet it, or most valuable of all - leave a comment.

And I hope you will make a commitment to all of us, your peers. If you are an aspiring creative type...wait, scratch that...some of you may underestimate your aspirations and creativity.  If you have something you want to say about hospice and palliative medicine, drop me a line. Let me know what your skill set and ambitions are and I will help you find other like-minded people or projects that are achievable and then we will really begin to have an impact.

*I've downloaded as much as I could find from the Internet Archive of The Hospice Blog by Hospice Guy. If anyone knows who he might be, tell him to drop me a line, I would love to preserve his writings.

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