Blogging out in the open in a clinical setting

Roy from Shrink Rap’s commented on my post about Web 2.0 opportunities that he has "not EVEN mentioned to anyone about our psychiatry podcast." That surprised me, given how significant his web presence is. But that was certainly true of my blog until a couple of weeks ago, when I finally "decloaked" my blog to my colleagues.

I decloaked during a presentation to our group that focuses on evidence-based practice. This group includes several key leaders in our department. I was giving a progress update about my work toward our shared goal of improving the training and documentation tools for suicide risk assessment, documentation, and response. Thankfully, the project is progressing, and I had several steps forward to present. On the mindmap I was using to present, (as I've noted in a previous post, I use MindManager for presentationg), I reported progress on steps forward that I had previously committed to, then added a bubble reporting the development of this blog (along with a link to it).

I introduced it with some trepidation. By way of disclaimer, I started by recognizing that the image some think of when they hear the word "blog" (if they think of anything) is a "navel-gazing, exhibitionist teenager" sharing stories about weekend parties and rants about parents. I explained that blogs have evolved in many professional and academic circles as a way of journaling ideas and sharing emerging trends with like-minded people. I showed some sample posts and sample comments. I referred people to the About this blog page if they wanted to learn more about what I'm up to with this experiment.

The response was mostly positive--probably best described as a mixture of amusement and curiosity. No one was openly critical, and some of my colleagues thought it was pretty cool. There was one appropriate and constructive question raised about liability issues for me (what if someone follows my clinical advice and something goes wrong), but no other public comments. One colleague later comment that she had never read a blog before, and I suspect that was true for many people in the room.

Being out in the open feels good, although it has already changed the way I think about my blog. I don't think the change is good or bad, but it does change my mindset to think that my colleagues and superiors might read what I write here. Then again, they might not!