My Two Cents on Blogging
There are approximately 70 million blogs on the World Wide Web. Every day 120,000 new ones are created - that's 1.4 every second.
How do I know this? I read it on a blog. Does that make it true?
The ADVANCE Perspectives blog will usually discuss nursing issues, but I wanted to start off our blog by giving my two cents about blogging. Because that's theoretically what blogging is: people giving their two cents.
If you're familiar with blogs you've probably seen the range of nursing blogs. Some report news about nursing issues, some are essentially ads for products or jobs, and some are personal musing about ... almost anything.
Many blogs and bloggers are not affiliated with anything and are, therefore, not accountable to anyone. This gives them free rein on what they can write about, but it also means their claims may not be checked and their sources can be questionable or nonexistent.
It's not to say you shouldn't read these blogs, just be aware. You need to understand that just because it's on the Web doesn't make it true. Some blogs are like hearing a story at the proverbial water cooler, nurses' station, or at a cocktail party. You might walk away with some insight, but you probably wouldn't (read: shouldn't) take every word as being absolutely true without checking it yourself.
Blogging has turned anyone into a reporter. But that should also mean that blog readers have to become editors. Look for and use links that are in blogs - that's how you will fact-check the story for yourself.
Citizen journalism, or user-generated content (CJ and UGC), is a great way to learn about many different perspectives, it's a way to get raw news out fast. But it can be a way to be misinformed or lead astray.
I am very excited to be blogging along with my co-workers, the editors and writers of ADVANCE for Nurses. But I ask that as we all delve into the world of UGC that you do so with the critical thinking skills you use every day as a nurse.
If you want to read more about nurse blogs, ADVANCE has featured stories by one of the best-known nurse bloggers, Terri Polik. She talks about blogging basics in Nursing Voices in Cyberspace and Inside the Blogosphere.
Oh, by the way. The stats at the top are from a media blog OnlineSPIN, which cited Technorati, a blog aggregator site. Both trusted sources for this type of information (in my opinion, anyway).
--Linda Jones, editorial director