There are lots of resources for individuals who are concerned about the fears and ethical use of social media in practice. However, there does not seem to be an equal amount of resources teaching social work and social media, and how they both can be combined for effective networking and online advocacy.
Technology has given us the ability to remove geographically boundaries and connect with others in way that is still very new to us. However, this same technology has been exploited by the criminal element which has created many fears in using technology for its full capabilities.
Technology has the ability to create new ways of communication that has been previously denied to those without privilege or wealth such as the ability to self-publish, communication with someone abroad in real-time, and gather/organize resources quickly. How can our profession begin to adopt the technological tools utilized in the business world and adapt them to increase our ability to be more effective on the macro, mezzo, and micro practice levels?
There are instances where social work and social media, depending on your job descriptions and direct practice with clients, must adhere to a stricter standard due to safety concerns for the social worker and client confidentiality.
For those who are working on a policy and community practice level, social work and social media is essential in carving yourself as an expert in your field as well giving you the ability to mobilize resources quickly. NASW-NC gives five reasons why social work and social media is an essential combination to aid social workers in their networking potential which are listed below:
- Opportunity: Anytime you are around others (virtually or in person), you have the opportunity to meet people and uncover what they make have to offer to your life!
- Exposure: Have you written new research? Starting a new practice? Found a new technique to share? Networking provides the opportunity to expose others to the wealth of professional knowledge you have, and to be exposed to theirs!
- Contacts and Relationships: Whether finding a new job, a resource for your clients, or simply someone who simplifies your life; contacts are an essential part of the social work profession. Most business is done through referrals!
- Finding Common Ground: Everyone enjoys the company of others who are like-minded. Our common interests help ignite our passion for the profession and encourage personal growth.
- Learning: In the line for breakfast at a NASW-NC Conference, or answering a post on LinkedIn; social workers who participate in networking gather information and ideas at a fast pace! knowledge is power!
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