A few weeks ago I gave a brief presentation to the Thoroughbred Chapter of PRSA about social media. I was invited by president of the local chapter, Sally Baker of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. (When I moved to Kentucky I learned "equine practitioner" was a smart way of saying "horse veterinarian.")
At the presentation Sally told me about AAEP's blog, Out of the Starting Gate. It's relatively new, and Sally said they were still finding their way with it, but I was immediately impressed when I read it. The blog follows the progress of Dr. Jennifer Selvig, a 2007 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.
From a technical perspective, and even from a social media perspective, the blog isn't all that sophisticated. Not a lot of bells or whistles. Just some dated (and fairly long) entries, displayed one at a time, confined to the AAEP website's content management system. The only social components currently available are comments and an RSS feed.
But anyone who knows the history of "Best Blog EVAH" knows I don't recognize blogs because they're shiny or full of distracting web2.0 tools - the Best Blogs EVAH tend to be relatively low-tech, simple options that perform a single function very effectively. Don't let your goals get tripped up by technology - the strategy is more important than the tool itself.
AAEP's blog does one thing very, very well - it personalizes the profession. It does this by providing very strong content. Dr. Selvig is a solid writer, and while the posts are a bit long and spaced out over time, she's clearly found a voice.
The blog provides AAEP with a useful marketing, promotion, and recruiting tool. The blog has already been featured in America's Horse (the official magazine of the American Quarter Horse Association), and I'm looking into highlighting it for Business Lexington.
This blog is great for AAEP. It's great for Dr. Selvig. And it's great for anyone who wants to learn more about what it's really like to be an equine vet. If AAEP chooses to leverage a few simple tools such as multimedia or bookmarking, I really think this could take off. There's some real potential here.