Personal vs. Professional use of Social Media

Social media is a topic that brings mixed reactions. When I explained to my mother that I was taking a social media tools course with GSU, particularly within the masters of social work, she looked at me a little puzzled. To tell you just a small perspective of my mother’s digital aptitude, I think I have finally got her to master the copy and paste function for her laptop. This was a several year process. But as many 20 somethings and younger, this was a common task for young adults. Teaching their parents the use of technology, the ways that it could make our lives easier, faster, even more connected with the ones they loved oversees through services like Skype. This technology, as all of us have learned either personally or through constant growth of its use in popular culture, has definitely changed and will continue to change how we interact with people. The question that we must constantly ask, however, is if this technology is truly connecting us or actually creating distance from those around us.

But as my mother began to ask questions about the course and what I intended to learn, she realized how these seismic shifts in our culture are leading the way for the social media to be taught. Just as my mom needed to learn to copy and paste in order to effectively work a computer, professionals will need to be able to weave the use of social media into their routines, campaigns, advocacy, etc. A recent PEW study is an example of how even less people believe the idea that anonymity will exist in the age of the internet, revealing this fundamental availability of a networked identity online.  The question becomes what do we decide to share or lift up as this identity is will increasingly become a part of our expression of ourself. In a culture where social media is primarily considered to serve a personal purpose, how do we as professionals leverage social media to develop or further our professional objectives?

Most individuals use social networks for personal reasons

How do people use social networks?

As a social worker I am interested in how I can leverage social media as an advocacy tool. While this is historically far from my personal approach to social media (generally a cautious avoidance), I believe there is a lot to learn about how social media can be a tool to advocate and educate. If you are interested in following me on this journey you should follow me using the icons below.