Social Media and Social Care.

I read a Guardian article today that was talking about social care and social media and it struck me how most social care settings and organisations aren’t using technology and utilising the benefits of social media or as we call it on Twitter #SoMe!

While there are many risks to using technology and social media such as breaching confidentiality, being trolled (meaning people being abusive etc.) and wrongly moaning about a bad day or an annoying client which could get you into serious trouble, there are on the flip side so many benefits to using social media, in my opinion. Twitter is if used professionally a great way to network and connect with likeminded professionals, I know this first hand. It is a great way to learn too! Facebook while more for personal life can be just as good for networking, as you can set up pages and groups.

So why aren’t social care settings and organisations using social media, when it has lots of potential? For me, it could be many reasons, lack of knowledge (not understanding use of social media), lack of confidence in the workforce (but most health and social care professionals know their responsibilities while online, right?), it could link to accessibility (which bears the question – is it too accessible in that it may cause distraction or other negative practices?) or could it be simply because they are lazy. Yes, I used the word lazy. We live in a technology driven world now and some just can’t accept that. They won’t accept change and develop with society and it’s needs.

Some social care organisations and settings do use social media (well done guys!) and many social care professionals use social media too. My opinion of this is, why not? Social media enriches networking, broadens experiences and opportunities and helps when people need support and guidance.

Being a young person I’d say it was a societal “norm” for me to use social media, though more so for personal life. I use Facebook for my personal stuff and for group discussions regarding university but Twitter is the website I use professionally. I used to have a personal Twitter account but I deactivated it simply because I was “fangirling” celebrities, hoping for a favourite or a retweet, maybe even a follow. I didn’t use the site properly, anyway I’d much rather chase politicians, organisations and high-up social and healthcare professionals! I use Twitter to not only network but to learn too. I participate in a lot of Twitter chats or as I like to call them “debates”. It’s a great way to learn new things, talk about interests, share opinions and even gain new followers! (Shhh, I didn’t say that, but everyone loves getting a new follower, right?!). It should be a norm for social care settings and organisations as a way of accessing more people and getting their services out there. I completely understand the likes of local authorities (social services) not using Twitter because of confidentiality but there are rules and regulations issued by the governing bodies of health care and social care professions describing the “do’s” and “do nots” when using social media, so they could use social media with precautions, possibly?

Lastly, blogging is a great social media tool too! Again for lots of reasons, networking, sharing experiences and creating chats…but it also helps with reflection. You can look back on a blog post in months or years to come and think. I’ve done that with a “career development” blog post. I’m going to update it before I go to university and then hopefully update it every year to see how things have changed!

So all in all, the benefits really do outweigh the risks that social media can bring. There is always a block button! I wasn’t an avid social media user till last year when I decided upon embarking on a degree in Social Work. So social care settings, organizations and professionals get Facebooking, tweeting and blogging, make a change and join us technology minded people in our quest for…well everyone has an individual reason for being on social media, yes?

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