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The Retreat from (and return to) Blogging

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I’ve been thinking about NotNurseRatched’s post about the state of nurses in social media. I’ve definitely retreated from social media for some of the reasons she describes (incivility, name-calling, pitchfork wielding), but the truth is that I want back in. I love blogging. How much sense does it make to give up something you love because of a little unpleasant conversation?

I received more insight into this today as I watched my community facebook page light up about a bad decision from the local school system: They declined to delay school even though the roads were slick with freezing rain. Angry parents were ranting and raving about it all morning long. And they all have my sympathy; but ultimately, it’s a human who makes the decision, and humans make mistakes. (I declined to point this out on the page, though. Nothing more annoying than venting about something on facebook and some sanctimonious fool comes along and says, “It’s not that bad – suck it up.” If you can’t vent on facebook then what good is it?)

It made me realize:

  • People use social media to vent. (That’s never going to change.)
  • Venting is characterized by negative emotions.
  • Negative emotions expressed online tend to be ugly and mean.

These certainly aren’t new observations. What’s new to me though, is that the idea of retreating from social media because there is unpleasantness is well, a bit lazy. Maybe even cowardly.

In light of all this, something really interesting happened a couple weeks ago. With all my adventures in nurse blog RSS aggregation, I somehow managed to miss this excellent post by @GrimalkinRN. Ironically enough, I found it via Dave Winer, whom I started following for (among other things) his insights on RSS aggregation. Not only did he unearth this post, but he was inspired to write his own post about it: “Blogging Matters.”

While their [nurses] work is gratifying and grounding, it’s also grueling and abusive. She told the story so well, so personally. Yet in the comments people found many things to complain about. She just shared her point of view, wrote a blog post, and it was good, and of course the trolls gave her hell for it … It’s important to feel free to tell your story even if it cues up other people’s permission to be jerks.

How cool is that? Here you have the inventor of blogging, inspired by a nurse’s blog post, writing about why blogging matters in the first place! That tells me that as nurses, the last thing we need to be doing is retreating from the space. So I’m ready to jump back in. The next question is how do I keep the momentum going?