As part of the CPN Salon that we’re running on the Wednesday immediately after the conference, I’ll be delivering a short ‘State of the CPN’ talk.
Looking back, the Network has done some incredible things in just three years, but digging down into our archives I’ve found some things that have given me pause for thought.
One of them is the popularity of some of the blogposts and the almost complete disinterest people show in others.
For instance, our most popular blog by far was 10 reasons to love physiotherapy. We had nearly 40,000 views of this post. This was nearly three times as many people who have ever gone to the site’s Home page! Is it time to end the tyranny of evidence based practice reached only a third as many people a 10 reasons (10,000), and Six useless treatments came in third (9,600).
40,000 views is just over a quarter of the views we’ve had for the site overall over the last 3 years, but you can see the effect of this one post on our month-by-month views when it was published in January this year.
Not including this one, there have been 483 blogposts written for the site over the last 3 years, that’s around one post every 2-3 days. The vast majority of these posts have been ‘substantive’ – meaning that they’re based on issues, not just notices or news.
They take a lot of work to craft, so obviously we’re interested in what’s of interest to people and what gets read.
One of the things I ponder a lot about is why pieces like 10 reasons to love physiotherapy make such an impact, while blogposts on Physiotherapy is part of the debt we pay when things go wrong (82 views), Learning to think otherwise (70 views), or no less important or potentially provocative questions like Evidence-based medicine or micro-fascism? (69 views) achieve so much less.
Because we’re not trying to sell news and don’t need to practice click-bait, it takes the pressure off us being salacious just for the sake of it. That’s not the kind of critical, thoughtful, engaged work that we want to do anyway. But we are, at the same time, interested in reaching out to as many people in the community as possible, and social media is a very powerful tool for doing that.
10 reasons to love physiotherapy was an exception in all respects. It seems to have tapped into a current of frustration and dissatisfaction, and I think people genuinely enjoyed its positive message. But it may also be our least critical piece of writing on the whole site.
It was written to test a different kind of message and to reach out to people who might not otherwise know about the CPN. In that respect it was successful. We had quite a lot of people join the Network as a result of reading this post.
But it also revealed that the popularity of a blogpost might not necessarily be the best measure of the site’s success, especially if what you’re trying to offer is consistently high quality, critically-informed thinking.