Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

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.

Who cares!

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.

So what!

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:)

Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

pain (14x); hell (5x); dead (4x); assholes (2x); orifice (1x)


At Wed Jun 27, 09:05:00 PM, Blogger jmb said...

I don't know why you are getting upset about Top 100 healthcare blogs. Their score is meaningless. Blog,MD is 56 and he hasn't posted in 7 weeks. Yes he's great but a very rare species nowadays.

Congratulations on your last week's output. You've got your faithful readers and that's all that really should matter. Of course you did set the cat among the pigeons as well last week and got 93 comments to prove it
Keep up the good work.

At Wed Jun 27, 09:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently... you are!!

At Wed Jun 27, 11:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been blogging since May '05 and I'm just a lowely insect (will only go lower since I'm not writing on this blog anymore . . .). I suppose no one really cares about the opinions of a difficult patient . . . ;o)

At Thu Jun 28, 12:39:00 AM, Blogger Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

I agree this whole ranking thing is meaningless. When I first saw it, I emailed the head of it and advised them that they were missing most of the great blogs, and receommended they check Kevin Md's feed for a comprehensive listing. They did so,and it was good to see the list expanding. But the rankings make no sense to me at all. The difference in scores between blogs is so small, and so many blogs have the same scores. In the end, it's just a computerized alrogithm. I'm sure one could tweak things to move up the rankings if one cared, but I think most of us just want to keep on blogging and could care less.

What I did find, though, was that there are a lot of blogs I didn't know about and I am having a good time exploring the list.

Keep up the amazing blogging! You have a unique voice that adds much to the blogosphere.

At Thu Jun 28, 01:10:00 AM, Blogger Medblog Addict said...

Dammit I care. When you only have 15 readers and you’re not a medblog, being ranked as #537 on the list of the World’s Best Medblogs is a big deal. And how the heck did you get an NC-17 rating? It took me three posts of hard core porn just to up my rating from a PG to an R.

At Thu Jun 28, 06:56:00 AM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

Hey, MA: I even pasted in what it was based on.

What the hell; those dead assholes were such a pain in the orifice!

Posting that 10 times ought to do it.

At Thu Jun 28, 04:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog, Dino, and read it faithfully. I'm even linking to it in my debut newsletter tomorrow! The satisfaction of blogging is like the satisfaction of medicine - it's not the volume of patients that you see in a day that matters, but the number of meaningful interactions and grateful patients that make it all worthwhile.

At Fri Jun 29, 04:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess if you're next patient states "My asshole hurts so bad I feel like I'm dying" you won't be able to blog about it to teenagers.


At Fri Jun 29, 09:23:00 PM, Blogger ema said...

Who cares about the ranking; it's all about the buttons you get to add to your sidebar. Oh, pretty, pretty buttons! [Yes, I'm TWTP and I'm addicted to them.]

At Fri Jun 29, 11:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"On the virtual stock market site BlogShares, this old dinosaur is valued at B$22,945 and change."

I would place your value significantly higher. <3 <3


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