I started blogging over 4 years ago. I did not start out with a specific destination in mind. I began with a vague sense that I wanted to reach beyond the class room and teach the world the joys of sodium, potassium and hydrogen. I knew I wanted a wider audience than the students, residents and fellows I was currently teaching.
I also needed high quality teach materials at my fingertips to assist teaching on the wards. Handouts, lectures, lessons.
In 2008, a blog was the frictionless path. It was the way for amateurs to access the web. But blogs are great, for reasons besides there accessibility, the serial nature inherently beacons the writer forward. Chronology keeps the writers writing and pulls the readers in.
Over four years
Over 500 posts
But the longer I did it, the more I realized the blog was not the right tool. I have adapted it to be better, for example tabs (Blog | Handouts | Lectures | Books | Kidometer for iPhone) were a major breakthrough. It allowed me to build high profile landing pages for permanent content. But it was a stopgap. it just delayed me from realizing that a blog was not the answer [Note: the blog is part of the answer, just not the whole answer. This is not an announcement of the end of Precious Bodily Fluids.]
For me, the principle weakness of the blog format really is the previously identified strength, its serial nature. The blog is constantly putting new content on top of old; freshness is valued more than quality. My most useful stuff is constantly being buried by chronology. It is hard to surface my best work.
This is also the problem with my worst work. I don't know where the bodies are burried. I don't know what previous infatuation has turned out to be the kidney equivalent of therapeutic touch. I know there is a lot of crap, but I can't find it. Unfortunately through the magic of search and internet permanence, others can find it.
I need a table of contents. An index. I need to curate the content. To go in the direction I feel that I need a more versatile platform. Fellowship of the Beans is my attempt to establish a new beachhead better suited to helping students and residents learn and love nephrology.
Joel Topf, MD