Ten years of blogging

This month marks a decade of blogging on “Reidbord’s Reflections.” This is the 130th post. My posting frequency dropped precipitously over the years, from 20 posts in the first two months to one every couple of months now. I imagine I share with most bloggers a limited set of rehearsed topics, things I always wanted to write about. Once these were exhausted, new ideas came more slowly, often spurred by news articles.  Lately I’ve been more inclined to write about current events and news items, less about psychiatry.  I find people’s minds and ideas engaging.  As for the practice of psychiatry — tweaking this med or that, arguing over nuances of psychotherapy technique, weighing ethical goods like beneficence and autonomy — well, my interest waxes and wanes.  Psychiatry doesn’t change quickly, and as a result I feel little time pressure to write about anything particularly psychiatric.

I don’t track my readership here, but I crosspost to a blog on Psychology Today’s website, and they keep records. Far and away, my most read post there is “Countertransference, an overview” with nearly 400,000 views.  It’s fairly well written in my humble opinion, but not especially so.  I can’t account for its outsized popularity.  Other favorites of mine, never mind their popularity, include the two-part posts on placebos and psychiatric disability; my ethics piece on Pharma and doctors; my post on charging patients for missed sessions (with a record 130+ comments); “Antidepressants are just a crutch“; my sailing analogy; whether therapists should accept gifts; and my one attempt at fiction.  Actually, there are more, but I’ll stop there at ten.

Also, I was surprised to learn that my “Brief History of Psychiatry,” a page deep in the website for my practice — not in my blog — is quite popular.  It’s often found by folks searching for… a brief history of psychiatry.  As it happens, roughly 50% more people search this phrase and go directly to that page on my site, than search for psychiatric services and go to my landing page.

I somewhat regret naming my blog after myself.  If I’d known I’d be at it ten years later, I might have thought harder about a better name.  I envy the creative titles of some psychiatry blogs: Shrink Rap, Thought Broadcast, The Alienist, 1 Boring Old Man, The Last Psychiatrist.  Sadly, however, none of these are active anymore.  Dinah Miller shut down Shrink Rap in August, Mickey Nardo (“1 Boring Old Man“) died nearly two years ago, The Alienist stopped posting in 2015, the anonymous Last Psychiatrist went silent in 2014, Thought Broadcast in 2013.  Psych Practice and Psycritic haven’t posted for over half a year, either.  It’s nice to see George Dawson still posting long, thoughtful, frequent pieces on Real Psychiatry, even if I sometimes disagree with his conclusions.  There are, of course, other psychiatry blogs I’m less (or not) familiar with.

I was pleased that a content aggregator called Feedspot ranked “Reidbord’s Reflections” number six out of the “top 50” psychiatry blogs and websites.  I don’t know how they decided this, but I thank them nonetheless.  I even added their badge to my blog several months ago.  I didn’t pay them or anything.

The future of this blog? With the demise of Shrink Rap, a longtime favorite, it crossed my mind to shut down too.   I realized early on that the 1000-word cerebral essay isn’t ideal for blogging.  It’s not my style to post quickly and often, nor to repost cute cartoons and jokes from other sites.  By only occasionally posting anymore, I imagine that long ago I lost the regular readers I once had.  (I miss the dialog we sometimes had in the comments in the early years.)  I’ve thought about turning some of this writing into a book.  Or maybe try more seriously to publish op-eds in old-fashioned newspapers.

On the other hand, I’d feel bad to kill this creature I created.  On balance, I figure I’ll keep posting here as ideas occur to me. I enjoy writing (and crossword puzzles, and other wordplay).  As long as it’s fun there’s no reason to stop.  And you’re more than welcome to keep reading — and commenting, and even tossing me a writing-topic suggestion now and then.  It’s good to have you along.

The photo is an iPhone calendar from 2008.

10 comments to Ten years of blogging

  • Congratulations on your blog’s 10th birthday! I’ve also noticed (and been saddened) by the dwindling of other psychiatrist blogs, which seems to coincide with a decline of blogging in general as people migrate to social media for their newsertainment (the horror!). However, I’m very glad that you’re still going, and I read all of your posts. Here’s to the next decade!

    P.S. My blog is definitely not dead; life events have just gotten in the way of writing, and I’m hopeful that as things settle down, I’ll have time to post more regularly again.

  • Dinah

    Congratulations to one of my blogging buddies. I am still alive, and a number of times there have been things I’ve wanted to write (or rant) about and I’ve been a little sad to not have Shrink Rap to express myself. I am still writing over on Clinical Psychiatry News.
    I hope you keep up with it!

  • Thanks Dinah. I always admired Shrink Rap a lot: a nice balance of topicality, approachability, and links to good source material. Sorry to see it go.

    I read the post by Jason Kottke that psycritic referenced. It’s a pretty strong argument that blogs are on the way out. If so, I’ll likely be among the last rats on the sinking ship. I’ve managed to avoid much of the social media that supplanted blogs, i.e, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — and don’t feel I’ve missed much. There are only so many hours in the day.

  • Donna BARKER


    When I started private practice 5 years ago I found your blog (as well as Shrink Rap). I appreciate your thoughtful posts. I think social media has changed blogging — some of my favorite bloggers (non-psych) have moved to FB. Oh well. I’ll keep reading!


  • Snap: you might still remember me from well, 10 years ago:

    I just found your blog, and wanted to commend your nice mix of thoughts, links, and photos. I’m a San Francisco (California, USA) adult psychiatrist with a similar view of the over-use of atypical antipsychotics. If you like, check out my blog sometime, particularly these posts on the same topic.

    Best regards,
    Steven Reidbord MD
    August 1, 2009 at 11:12 PM

  • F68.10

    I loved “The Last Psychiatrist”. It was hilarious and well written.

    We need blogs about psychiatry desperately. And blogs where anti psychiatrists and pro psychiatry people can exchange ideas. Nothing is worse than echo chambers like Mad In America (which also happens on occasions to be insightful). And worse than echo chambers is when rational discussion cannot occur at all.

    There are people who need to express themselves about psychiatry and who are reliant on blogs to do so.

    My suggestion: organise with other psychiatrists to have a common website for posts with a rolling editorial board. Like Science Based Medicine. And organise it so that anti psychiatrists can to some extent have a voice there in the comment section.

    At one point, you have to admit you cannot do everything on your own, and that you need to organise with other like minded people/psychiatrists.

    • Thanks for your comment. The “warring camps” of psychiatry and anti-psychiatry talk past each other, in much the way highly partisan groups do in national and international politics. Partisan declarations certainly aren’t persuasive to anyone on the “other” side — nor, I believe, are they intended to be. So the first question is: who wants real dialog? There are many who aren’t quite so partisan, and I think that’s where dialog can happen. To me, such dialog isn’t “bringing psychiatrists and anti-psychiatrists together.” It starts with dispensing with the identity labels and admitting there is good and bad in every field, including mine.

      As a practical matter, this blog is a hobby and I have many other demands on my time. I won’t be the one to organize a website with a rolling editorial board. However, it’s a good idea, and I’d be inclined to participate if one is organized.

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