Blogging about Blogs: Don’t Forget the Bubbles

(This is the final part of the ICE Blog’s “Blogging about blogs” series, edited by Anthony Llewellyn and Teresa Chan. Click on the following links to see previous posts: #1#2 #3 #4 and #5 )

This post is an interview by Anthony Llewellyn with Andy Tagg of Don’t Forget the Bubbles (DFTB).  The aim of this blog is to create a practical, high-quality paediatric education resource for health professionals.  DFTB does this through collaboration – getting more people involved in creating online content (Free Open Access Medical Education).  The site is primarily run by four authors who are all paediatricians Tessa Davis, Henry Goldstein, Ben Lawton and Andy Tagg.

Their most popular post to date has had about 22,000 page views and they have regular site traffic of around 750 views per day.  While the latest posts are often the main draw to the site, the blog also serves as a repository for core information specific to paediatric medicine that they may not find on other websites.

One interesting fact about the DFTB crew is that even though they have been going since 2013 they have yet to meet in person.  DFTB is a true international virtual collaboration.

Q: When did you start your blog?

A: We started around July 2013.

Q: How many people are involved?

A: The four of us regularly contribute and act as editors but we use a collaborative model with many individuals contributing single or multiple posts.

Q: How would you describe your audience?

A: A mixture of specialities read the blog – paediatrics, emergency medicine and primary care as well as nurses and allied health professionals.  Although it was initially aimed at trainees in paediatrics, it has grown.

Q:  Can you describe your process for generating content?

A: Each of the four of us contribute articles based on our areas of special interest.  We don’t set a specific agenda. We may post on recent public health policies as related to paediatrics (immigration health, vaccination) or recent journal articles (updated ILCOR neonatal or paediatric guidelines). We might post talks we have done to trainees to make them available to a wider audience. But more often than not, we post an answer to a specific question that we can’t find anywhere else.

Q: What’s your technology stack (i.e. how do you host your site, how do you code it, do you have a CMS, do you use any integrations e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google etc…?)

A:  It is a WordPress-based blog. We cross post to Facebook as well as promoting the posts by Twitter and Google +, as  well as LinkedIn. We self host the site.

Q:  What’s one interesting thing you have learned through the process of developing a MedEd blog / website?

A: I might give a talk to our registrars that 15-30 people attend.  I will have put in a lot of effort to write, rehearse and give the talk, but the impact is small.  I can put the same amount of effort into recording the same post and putting it online and reach many more people. That is extremely satisfying.

Q: DFTB is a site that focuses on learning through incorporating assessments.  How do you create goals and objectives for your learners / audience?
(Especially since you don’t REALLY know who’s reading OR do you?)

A: We don’t really know who is reading.  We write for ourselves and each other using Basecamp to collaborate. We cross edit the posts. When I write a post I think of a topic that I want to know more about.  I then write the questions I want answered before I research the topic.  We try and take a practical approach to answering day-to-day problems.