Monday, 12 August 2013
DrPHealth – 2 years old, (hopefully) providing a Canadian public health service.
It started in July 2011 as an experiment and has now grown to over 300 posts and an equivalent number of Tweets.
The audience appears to change in response to specific issues, or certain followers. This month there is a surge in Latvian readers. Overall there have been some 16,500 views – an average of just over 50 views per posting, a rate that has only marginally changed over the two years. Enough to keep prying time to support the ongoing postings.
The prime audience of Canadian Public health workers has slowly eroded to a good following, and occasional episodic bursts of international interest in particular topics. Some postings keep being accessed over time, lately it is a February 2012 posting on adult pertussis. Fracking October 2012 is the all-time high viewed site, albeit the largest proportion of viewers were within the first weeks. The comments on the new Minister of Health July 2013 struck a chord with Canada’s public health journalist Andre Picard and drove numerous people to the site and the Twitter account, and similar comments seemed to become engrained in other health commentators subsequently.
Imitation is the kindest form of flattery. Several resident groups are dedicated followers to the commentaries and material. There is a gold mine of information for those preparing for Royal College exams in public health and preventive medicine.
On the downside, only a handful of individuals post comments, and even fewer email to DrPHealth@gmail.com . The number of comments only averages about one in four postings. Only a handful of followers are noted, and in a quirk of blogspot it is not known how many people receive the postings directly through email although we hear anecdotal evidence that is the preferred method for some (and are not included in page view statistics). Twitter-wise the number of followers has grown to 90, mostly Canadian public health folks suggesting it is reaching the intended audience. A sporadic stream of mentions and retweets invariably is followed by a spike in views to the blog site – so Twitterers, please help drive readers to the blog, it is the most highly effective method of advertising.
International followers are more than welcomed to catch a glimpse of some of the inner workings of the Canadian machine. One-fifth of viewers are neighbours from just south of the border and clear when certain topics strum the right chords. Ten per cent are from Russia, with Germany and the United Kingdom rounding out the top five.
The Twitter feed is the top referring site followed by Google. The most common search is on DrPHealth itself with a smattering of topic specific items that might otherwise be consider “esoteric”. To come depending on time, is a table of contents that might be easier to search for relevant topics. Blogspot does not have useful search capacity.
The past two years has seen the expansion of the number of other relevant public health sites, so for the dedicated readers, a heartfelt thanks. It is only through your dissemination of the blog that readership is sustainable.