Monday, February 5, 2007

Pharma Blogs, Bush and Iraq

Pharma Blogosphere Survey!Bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere have political opinions just like you and I. And, as in the real world, the war in Iraq and president Bush dominate all other political issues.

Some of us interject our political comments in footnotes or analogies as when I said "To use a war analogy -- as is often done in industry -- sales and marketing executives tend to send in more troops when they fail to reach their goals with the current force level" (see "YouPharma(tm): A Brave New World of Marketing?"). From that, you can pretty much guess where I stand on the current US policy viz-a-viz the war in Iraq.

Even when I insert such comments, however, I try to stay focused on the topic of my blog, which is marketing, not politics.

But some pharma bloggers wear their politics on their sleeves as it were. In fact, they devote entire posts to political issues that have nothing to do with the pharmaceutical industry.

Two bloggers that come to mind who often do this are Peter Rost (Question Authority with Dr. Peter Rost) and "Insider" (PharmaGossip). See, for example, "Top villain of 2006: Bush wins over Satan..." and " Abu Ghraib Art".

Other pharma bloggers, such as Richard Goldberg and Peter Pitts (Drug Wonks) freely attack senators and other -- mostly Democratic -- politicians. See, for example, "Henry Waxman's Dangerous Political Science." Even so, Drug Wonks stay on the topic of their blog which is drug policy.

So, what's my point? Maybe it's that we are seeing some bloggers expand their horizons beyond the pharmaceutical industry. It's very difficult, for example, to categorize a blog like Dr. Rost's. In the beginning, his blog was 100% focused on the pharmaceutical industry. But he couldn't stop himself from sharing his views on other topics like sex and dead birds. He found that as he did this, his blog got more popular -- he was reaching a broader audience. So, he changed the name of his blog to Question Authority yadda yadda yadda...

I must admit that I like both these blogs precisely because you never know what you are going to find there! And I'm not just talking about politics. Rost includes many video clips from YouTube. One showed cars skidding in 1 inch of snow in New Jersey! It's all good entertainment.

In the first every Pharma Blogosphere Survey, one question asked is "What are some of the reasons why you read blogs about the pharmaceutical industry?" As expected, the vast majority of respondents say they read these blogs to keep up to date with industry news and gossip and learn more about industry business practices and regulations. But a surprising percentage of respondents also want to be entertained.

Not every blog in the Pharma Blogosphere can be entertaining. For example, I suspect that the blogs of journalists who work for large media companies (eg, Pharmalot and BrandweekNRX) and pundits that work for serious think tanks (eg, Drug Wonks) will not experiment much with entertainment. For example, you probably will never see a YouTube video let alone any anti-Iraq war rants on these blogs any time soon.

Just a few thoughts on what may motivate bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere.

Speaking of which, I am planning to interview many of these bloggers in future Pharma Talk podcasts. So keep in touch.

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