Ratings and Rankings and Grades (Oh My)
(Nick Genes beat me to the crux of this post, but I thought I'd write it anyway.)
What is it about humans that makes us so damned competitive? Why are we so incapable of understanding -- really understanding deep in our guts -- that certain things do not matter.
I'm speaking of the endless ratings of blogs and ranking of blogs; blog awards; top 8/10/100 lists, and so on ad nauseum. I may just be ranting at myself, but NONE OF IT MATTERS!
For example, take a site called the Top 100 Healthcare blogs. As of today, Musings of a Dinosaur ranks #87. When it first appeared it debuted at #40 and has been moving down.
In Truth Laid Bare ecosystem, Musings comes in as a Slithering Reptile, ranked at #7287. Last week it was #7147, with a brief surge to the 6900's in between.
On the virtual stock market site BlogShares, this old dinosaur is valued at B$22,945 and change.
As of today, SiteMeter tells me I have had over 55,000 visitors since I began blogging last September; 238 of them today so far.
How much does that really matter in the grand -- or even the not-so-grand -- scheme of things?
Last week I had a truly bang-up blogging week. 7 posts in 6 days, covering a diagnosis I missed, a diagnosis I made, a snake bite (with pictures), digs at lawyers and cardiologists, a spiritual linguistic epiphany and a modest endorsement of a routine procedure that brought out an impressive display of the crazies. KevinMD has just begun his MedBlog Power 8, recognizing:
..blogs that have had an exceptional week of blogging, based purely on my subjective measures. Factors I consider are how provocative the posts are, the amount of discussion it generates, and posting frequency.Subjective is subjective, of course. So what if I'm not Kevin's cup o'tea? Big whoop.
The more I think about it, I think what it indicates is just how vast this virtual blogging world really is. Each of the various measures above has been criticized for the inaccuracy of the parameters used to judge, to evaluate, to choose. In the end, ranking blogs is as fraught with peril as defining "quality" in medical care. We know "good" when we see it, and that's enough. In essence, I am agreeing with Nick Genes:
The medical blogosphere is a growing community of vital, insightful voices. ... Medical blogs should be surveyed, scrutinized, categorized... but not ranked.
(On the other hand, apparently no one under 17 should be allowed to read this one:)