Are social networks competitive or compatible with the medical blogosphere?

I’m back from my whirlwind trip to Las Vegas, and I want to think those who followed our panel at BlogWorld 2010.

I was joined by Bryan Vartabedian of 33 Charts, and Kerri Morrone Sparling of six until me in a panel moderated by Kim McAllister of Emergiblog.

A few thoughts from my end.

Photos courtesy of iMedicalApps.

Social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, are indeed complementary with medical blogs. For instance, on KevinMD.com, I use Twitter and Facebook to extend my reach and disseminate the blog’s content. In fact, the discussion often continues on these platforms outside the blog.

There is a subset of people who consume news entirely through Facebook and Twitter. With the demise of Bloglines, combined with the failure of RSS to reach critical mass, more are consuming information through social networks. For a blog to grow today, it’s imperative to have a compatible presence on social networks.

But are social networks stagnating the growth of blogs? Of course it is. It’s much easier to generate content on Facebook and Twitter, versus starting a blog and publishing a post. If you look at the social media trends that Ed Bennett provides, for instance, you’ll see that hospitals are adopting Twitter and Facebook far more frequently than blogs. People invariably take the path of least resistance.

That said, I don’t think blogs will die anytime soon.  There will always be a place for long form information consumption. But it’s safe to say that the days of exponential growth are over for blogs.

But let’s take a step back and see the bigger picture. Instead of debating whether blogs are compatible or competitive with social networks, I think we need to get away from siloing paradigm. It’s no longer a question of blogs or social networks, but how well each are being used.

Your social media presence is no longer solely dictated by how many people read your blog, or how many Twitter followers you have, but how strong your synergy is between the various social platforms.

I want to thank our sponsors, Johnson & Johnson (presenting sponsor), MedPage Today, Alliance Health and Campaign for Nursing (supporting sponsors), and WEGO Health (associate sponsor) for making the social health track possible.

 is an internal medicine physician and on the Board of Contributors at USA Today.  He is founder and editor of KevinMD.com, also on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

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