Questions on Blogging for Readers Past/Present/Future

I started this blog exactly eight years ago, today.

Who I was then, and who I am now, has changed drastically, and often. I wrote as I stumbled my way through new clinical and life experiences. I wrote as my mental health peaked and plummeted. I wrote as my love for medicine died, and was reborn. The first community I found was that of book bloggers, but gradually, I found the medical bloggers, too.

I have written guides to rotations and provided tricks of the trade. I’ve interviewed students from various backgrounds, and I’ve had guest posts about various elective pursuits. These have all served a purpose, in their time. My posts about getting into medicine in South Africa, remain popular; although they might need an update.

I have never succeeded in making this a truly niche blog. I have jumped from medical posts, to political, to book reviews, travel blogging, and even the odd recipe. I am not defined by my career, so why should my blog be?

My medical community is mostly on Twitter, these days. I haven’t posted on this blog very often, partially because I don’t always have the time or the subject matter; and partially because my nihilism is at an all-time high.

So I ask myself: are blogs dead? Is my blog dying, and should I relieve it of its misery? I will never delete my content here, but should I simply say: nothing further?

What is the point? In the past, the point has been debriefing myself. Nowadays I go for weekly therapy, and I rant and rave on Twitter, so I don’t have to debrief on a lonely anonymous blog anymore.

The point has been to spread awareness: about medical school in South Africa, about electives, about mental health. But this may not be the best platform for awareness any longer. I prefer to get my material from Twitter/Instagram, and I suspect many others do, too.

Perhaps, in the past, the point has also been to not be alone. To feel “part” of something. Going through the feeds of my favourite blogs, commenting, and getting comments, was very important to me once upon a time. But in part due to my nihilism, and perhaps in part due to growing up, those don’t mean so much to me anymore. I still deeply desire to feel part of something, I just don’t fool myself that a blog could do that for me.

I spent many hours in the past crafting blog posts. And to what end? Should I have spent more time getting research experience? Getting better grades in university? Experiencing life? If there ever really was a point to blogging, is there still? Is it not just another way of getting noticed, another way of getting a conflated view of oneself?

I am still delighted when a medical student comes up to me at volunteer clinics and asks, “Are you Barefootmeds?” The students tell me they benefited from this blog. But perhaps they simply benefited from hearing they are not alone. And perhaps they can get that from Twitter, too.

The one thing I have considered, is that this may be a good place to interview interns and cosMOs about their placements. Every year, our various online groups are overrun by students looking for advice on placements. A few times, people have tried to start a database where interns and cosMOs could write reviews of their placements, but it has always died a rather quick and quiet death.

But perhaps that is not my place either.

I’m not really sure what my place is, these days. And whether it still is with this blog. I will forever be Barefootmeds, but will I continue to tread my footprints here?

So if you’ve read this far, Dear Reader, perhaps you can do me a favour and let me know what you think. Do you still read blogs at all, or are blogs dead?

Yours ever,

M

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14 thoughts on “Questions on Blogging for Readers Past/Present/Future

  1. I still read blogs! I subscribed to yours a few years ago and still feel happy when the occasional new post of yours pops up. Your blog may be niche, but it’s exactly my type of niche.

  2. I love reading your blogs! When I subscribed a few years ago I went back to catch up on all the older ones I missed.

  3. You are an outstanding writer. I have never become a Twitter aficionado, and don’t even have an Instagram account, so my advice may be nil.
    But my thoughts on blogging:
    I have seen friends put together professional blogs about their work/thoughts/explorations, develop a resdership, get a book contract, deliver TED talks, get paid for speaking engagements or self-help programs. Blogs with a readership may lead to book contracts.
    What would you want to write a book about? Make your blog that. And save personal self reflection for another form.
    I have loved following your journey, and much resonates. I have pared down the blogs I read, yours made the cut of not very many to which I subscribe (five, I think, but I may be subscribed to others that are on more of a hiatus than yours! Ahem Surgery at Tiffany’s). .

  4. I still read blogs but I agree that the medium has lost its early popularity. Die hard fans stick around and our sites may get visited by the odd person hunting for med school advice but beyond that I have to agree with your pathos.

    I won’t give you advice but I will give you my own feelings on the subject. I keep blogging because I love writing and I think it’s important to have non-mainstream voices out there. Blogs might not be the perfect medium to expand the single story narrative but they’re the right fit for me. If Twitter does that for you then by all means rock out to it. Whatever you decide I’d still love to follow you on your adventures.

  5. I only read your blog. Thank you for the time and effort that you put into it. I like the combination of personal and general information that you write about – it provides an insight into your own journey as well as providing valuable information about a career in medicine.

  6. Blogs will always appeal to those with a love for the written word and you’ll be surprised, that circle is still quite large despite this fast paced social media world. There’s just this freedom that comes with writing on a blog which posting on social media can’t compare to. Your readers will be here for whenever you get the time or inspiration to write! 🙂

  7. I followed your blog when I was still a premed and now I’m a final year! I loved reading how medicine was in SA and what it was being a student there, I liked that I had a med community throughout blog and other med bloggers across the globe. I don’t blog as often because Life, but I will say this your blogging has been inspiring and refreshing. Whatever you decide with the blog going forward I hope you do enjoy it because I have certainly enjoyed your med school-life journey. Baie dankie.

  8. I’ve been reading your blog since medical school ! Love the way you write and the contents are always a good read. Few years since graduation, and I still come round now and then to browse through & catch up with your posts. :p

  9. I still read blogs, and still suck at commenting. Eight years is a long time to do something, so I think it’s understandable to be a bit unsure what to do next, and if you should keep this blog up or not. Tbh I’m feeling a bit meh about blogging at the moment too.

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