To Blog or Not To Blog

In the era I attended dental school, advertising by professionals, whether attorneys, physicians, or dentists, was considered unethical. Your earned reputation in the community, conveyed word of mouth, would lead to whether you would sink or swim.  As decay rates went down and federally subsidized numbers of dental graduates went up, a few decided the prior standards were restrictive and began to push the envelope on advertising.  When professional associations undertook punitive disciplinary action, the Federal Trade Commission saw that as not in the best interests of the consumer and intervened. The genie was out of the bottle. No longer was the best dentist in town known as such, but the dentist with the best Yellow Pages ad was - because his or her ad plainly stated so.  Watching this unfold as an insider, an old adage was seen to be true:  the bigger the ad, the farther away you should stay.  Thus, I am conflicted about such things as web sites and blogs.  They can be good tools to give more of an inside look into what a practice is all about, but they are inherently slanted.  In his recent book "The Road to Character", David Brooks tells the story of George H.W. Bush (later known as Bush I) running for office.  He refused to promote himself on the campaign trail, much to the frustration of his advisors.  He finally relented, resorting to such self-aggrandizing terms as "I" (our recently-inaugurated president has no such reservation).  The rebuke was swift and fierce - his mother reminding him that he was raised to be more humble than what she was witnessing.  I have an appreciation for such values.  But I have been advised that blogging will be a good thing; search engine optimization, or some such thing.  So we'll see how far this goes.  It certainly will not be a stream-of-consciousness-the-world-needs-to-know-what-I-had-for-breakfast kind of forum.  And just think how dull the morning newscast would be if not for the ads for personal injury attorneys.  CK

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