Should social work be more social? a simple answer yes! #12thMW

On 13th March 2012 I am contributing to the 12th Maudsley workshop at the Institute of Psychiatry which is bringing together social work academics, practitioners and social media thought leaders to discuss the benefits and pitfalls of using social media as a means of continuing professional development in social work in social work.

A helpful statement from the College of Social Work @CollegeofSW about using social media to engage practitioners in discussions about their work.

A ten minutes presentation is not very long to provide an overview about social media and as an experiment I am sharing my thoughts in advance online and welcome feedback and thoughts. You can engage with the live discussions on Twitter tomorrow through #12thMW

Social media has revolutionised the way in which people communicate and share information – at local, national and international levels. Social media can help individuals and organisations to better understand, engage with and respond to people on the social web.

The public sector is under pressure to make savings, whilst maintaining vital frontline services. Social networking is a fast moving and constantly evolving environment which presents both opportunities and challenges for social work.

I am often asked how I use social media and the value for me is about   networking with a wide range of people in different disciplines and across the world, disseminating information, discussions and debate,  learning and support.

Why social media is important for social work

The best and most cost-effective outcomes for people who use services are achieved when professionals work and learn together, develop a common language and understanding and share knowledge and wisdom. The use of social technology and social networking enables people to collaborate, build relationships and share information and resources.

Professional Issues

How to make sure your online presence is professionally appropriate, while remaining alive to the potential benefits of social media for service users. Social media is a new way to applying the communication skills which are an essential skill for all social workers.

The Scottish Social Services Council have provided guidance on using social media for social service workers and employers.

  • To friend or not to friend?
  • No comment
  • Is private really that private?
  • Google your digital footprint – we all have one!

What is social media?

The terms “social media” and “social networking” are often used interchangeably to refer to web-based tools and technologies that support online communication and information sharing. They turn communication into interactive dialogue (Wikipedia). The term social media encompasses various tools and services, including:

  • blogs
  • microblogs (e.g. Twitter)
  • wikis
  • podcasts and audioboos
  • content sharing services (e.g. flickr, Youtube, Vimeo),
  • social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning)
  • social bookmarking (e.g. Delicious)
  • location based services (e.g Foursquare)

“Young people don’t see the risk of social media but older people don’t see the power” shared by @nickkeane speaking at #cepolsmap the European Conference on Social Media and Policing Lisbon

“it is not a question now about whether you should be involved in social media but how well you do it” @equalman Erik Qualman author of Socialnomics

Social Web statistics

  • 37.4 million UK adults use Facebook regularly
  • Twitter has 100 million active users worldwide and an estimated 15.5 million in the UK
  •  There are 7.9 million UK adults on LinkedIn
  • 6.7 million UK adults use Flickr
  • YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the internet. 32.1 million UK adults use YouTube regularly

61% of online adults use social networking sites

71% of online adults now use video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo

The Pew Internet & American Life Project

Digital engagement

Twitter chats are booming for social care (and I need to update this to include #dpulo and #SWChat)

Social work and Social Care LinkedIn Groups:

  • Advanced Social Work Practice Network
  • Network for professionals working with vulnerable children and adults
  • The Personalisation Group to integrate Social Care, Health and Housing
  • BASW
  • Community Care

Good examples of how the public sector is using social media

Monmouthshire County Council @monmouthshirecc  engages with residents, community groups and partners using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn to get involved in local conversations. All staff have access to, and are encouraged, to use social media.  

@PaulMatthews67 Chief Executive and @MCCSimonBurch Director of Social Services are both on Twitter.

Rewind story: fostering communication using Yammer.

Opening up social media access for all staff @helreynolds

Why the police have embraced the digital world

 ‘The future for personalisation? service users, carers & digital engagement’ @irissorg

Interesting Research but a continuing debate about how we define “older people”

Ageing and the use of the Internet – excellent report from the Nominet Trust which explores how the internet can be used to support the challenges faced by the older population.

Older People and Digital Inclusion – A report from AgeUK which shows that internet access continues to grow, with 55% of people aged 64 to 74 and 26% of those aged 75 plus having home internet access. The main barriers for older people are a lack of understanding and confidence.

And finally some wise words from Gordon Scobbie UK Police lead for Social Media: @DCCTayside “Be a role model, leader, give permission, forgive honest mistakes, provide clear guidance and support. Your people will do the rest.”



One response to “Should social work be more social? a simple answer yes! #12thMW

  1. Pingback: 12th Maudsley Workshop: Social media and continuing professional development in social work - Martin Webber's blog

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