PediaStaff recently sponsored both a Learning Lab session and the Social Medial Learning Center booth (Featuring the #SLPeeps!) At both venues, we talked about why it is imperative that SLPs understand and embrace the world of social media that is taking our profession by storm. Whether you want to interact daily or prefer to sit back and listen, social media has become an invaluable resource for communicating with colleagues and staying on top of recent research and trends.
The booth and panel were both quite popular and visitors expressed an interest in learning more that they could take home with them to digest at their leisure. We anticipated that this would be the case, so together with other SLP bloggers and Tweeters, PediaStaff, co-authored and produced a simple e-book that will help us all. We will post the entire PDF next week, but in the meantime, please hop away and support all the fantastic contributors to this fantastic resource!
“Do you search the internet or do you search people?” – @gregkulowiec
Social networks like Twitter, Pinterest, and blogs make it easier to find information written by professionals while encouraging a love to learn. Although research articles have their necessary place in our profession, the distant, formalized writing style often leaves readers with information, but no connection. Building a Professional Learning Network (PLN) provides unlimited opportunities to connect and network globally with professionals sharing similar interests. Simply check in to see the latest conversations and trends of the profession.
Although Twitter, Pinterest, and blogs may be called social networks, being social is only the beginning of what these PLNs have to offer. Twitter is more than following celebrities or telling the world what you had for breakfast. When a tweet includes a link to a research article on the latest aphasia therapy technique or to the best apps for articulation or language therapy, it becomes a gateway to information. Pinterest is more than an organized collection of pictures; it is a visual catalog of potential therapy materials, SLP websites, and connections with professionals holding similar interests. Similarly, blogs are more than simple personal journals for sharing life stories. Blogs are permanent, accessible catalogs of therapy ideas, research, app lists, and other resources. These mediums take being social to a new professional level, perfect for increasing effectiveness and scope of practice as a clinician.
Many professionals have probably heard of these tools – Twitter, Pinterest, Blogs – and cast the thought of joining them aside in lieu of personal or professional time constraints, privacy concerns, or lack of tech knowledge. Many have even used other excuses not to join these social media sites: I have a huge caseload/workload, it’s just another ‘thing’ to keep up with, I don’t know how to use that ‘stuff’, it’s information overload, and I read articles, not tweets.
Before agreeing with these excuses, imagine for a moment, how wonderful it would be to not have to wait for the next conference to share the latest news, brainstorm ideas, or get help with a difficult client. For many SLPs or Audiologists in rural areas, the weight of isolation can be unbearable. Why not explore the virtual social media conference that Twitter, Pinterest, and blogs have to offer.
Established SLPs aren’t the only ones hesitant to join social networks. Many undergraduate and graduate students are apprehensive to join Twitter as an SLP-to-be (#slp2b) due to privacy concerns, time constraints, or lack of interest in another social outlet. Obviously, applying to graduate schools is competitive and standing out can be difficult. However, tech savvy, innovative students will consider creating their own blogs and become a recognized participant in the SLP blogosphere. Perhaps one of the SLPs on an admissions panel will recognize your name online, giving you a way to stand out. Current graduate students are learning and creating new ideas from class and independent research; sharing these ideas with Twitter or in a blog helps current and other future SLPs see what is new and exciting from a different perspective. What an incredible feeling to share facts, not just with classmates but with hundreds of SLP or Audiology students at large!
Until now, legitimate excuses have kept professionals from engaging in social media. Now, with this guidebook, even the least tech savvy individual will be able to set up the accounts, follow the right people, pin the right pins, and subscribe to the right blogs. There are thousands of therapists ready and willing to share ideas and activities at no cost to anyone in order to help the entire profession grow. Information is available at the click of a button. The time spent setting up and engaging in a PLN will not increase an already busy workload. Instead, these essential social media tools will help gain new insight, streamline workload, and re-vitalize therapy ideas. The amount of professional and personal growth that comes from making new connections, sharing information, and engaging with others will make for a better, more informed therapist.
Read the rest of this E-Book!
A Letter from a Founding Member of the #SLPeeps – by Mary Huston
Part 1: Using Pinterest – by Tara Roehl
Part 2: Embracing Blogs – by Kim Lewis
Part 3: #SLPeeps on Twitter – by Megan Panatier
Part 4: Online Discussion Group – by Tanya Coyle
Part 5: Other social Media Platforms (Facebook and LinkedIn) – by Heidi Kay