One last post to finish recapping BlogPaws for those who were unable to attend. I hope I have impressed upon you the awesomeness of this extravaganza and convinced you that yes, you should so totally 100% go to the next one, which will be in San Diego if I have my way. Note: I have NO idea where it’s going to be, that is just wishful thinking so please don’t let that become a rumor, ok? If we’re starting rumors I say let’s go big and say Monaco 2011.
Anyway, on the second full day of the conference I had the pleasure of attending what I believe to be the very first veterinarians in social media conference, the BlogPaws Vet Track. Dr. Crosby from About.com Veterinary Medicine and her partner in crime Heather McCabe assembled a diverse, fun, and forward thinking group to speak about how the internet is changing the profession.
We started with Dr. Geoff Tucker of Equine Dentistry Without Drama speaking about, if I recall the updated title correctly, “Blogging so easy a cowboy could do it.” He managed to turn his practice from negative growth to 23% growth in one year just through having an engaging blog.
His favorite method of posting is to sit his Macbook on the seat next to him in the truck, drive up and down the road, and talk. I can safely say, having seen pictures of myself taken from that angle, that that particular method of communication is ALL YOURS Dr. Tucker. All yours.
Then Dr. Nancy Kay of Speaking for Spot spoke about “How Expectations are Changing Between Veterinarians and Their Clients.” Dr. Kay’s book, if you haven’t heard about it, is a truly magnificent how-to guide for clients to advocate for their pets, a bridge over the deep and confusing chasm of medicine with clients on one side and vets on the other.
Dr. Kay radiates empathy, and by that I mean she truly has a gift for understanding the perspective of clients in her practice. Why, she asked, do we kind of roll our eyes at the clients who come in with stacks of papers they downloaded from the net? Why aren’t we happy that we have interested, proactive clients and provide them reliable sources of information on the web so they come in educated? Touche. So, so true.
Part three featured lawyer Douglas Jack speaking about “Legal Concerns for Veterinarians on the Web.” It’s not a fun pill to swallow, but oh how necessary this is. I often joke that if I really wanted to give lots of good advice I should have skipped vet school and become a backyard breeder instead, since those sites seem to be an endless source of free veterinary advice. And why not? They have no legal obligation to establish a valid client-patient relationship, follow ethical guidelines, or even, you know, be correct. *shakes fist* DAMN YOU PROFESSIONAL CODE OF CONDUCT!
We had ALL SORTS of things to say. I didn’t write them all down, but Laura from Embrace tweeted the whole thing so I’m sure it’s around the Twittersphere. Everything is permanently recorded these days, whether or not you want it to be.
And last but certainly not least, Saturday was the day they announced the Dog Time Petties Award winners. I always feel awkward talking about this kind of stuff, but if I don’t then I will fail to acknowledge all of you who took the time to vote and I wanted to make sure you all knew just how much that meant to me. It meant more than you will ever know.
I was so sure I wouldn’t win that I didn’t write a speech- I’m not much of a speech person anyway. This is why, when I actually did win, I got up there and took a picture of myself with my iphone to send to my husband who was also very supportive of the fact that I probably didn’t need to worry about penning a speech. Then I think I accidentally dissed mom bloggers and sat down. It’s all a blur, which is a shame since that is the closest I will ever get to the Academy Awards and I really should have changed into a ballgown for the occasion.
But the point I made, I think, is this: the pet blogging community is the only one I know of that will en toto drop every planned post for an entire week just to help get the word out about someone in need, in this case homeless pets the bloggers haven’t even met. Just look at this week, for goodness sake. I am so proud to be a part of this community, a group more concerned about needies than freebies, a group untouched by cynicism, a group that lets a general session panel run over in order to sing happy birthday to a Havanese.
That is why I love BlogPaws and all it encompasses. For us, the human-animal bond isn’t just a saying, it is a huge part of what makes our lives meaningful.