Monday, June 17, 2013

Professional Issues Class Post 8: Social Media

The assignment:  Discuss the role of social media in your education.  Then talk about how (if?) you anticipate using it professionally.  Are there more disadvantages or advantages? What are the cautions for you, your clients, and the professions?

Facebook.  What is that?  Oh, yes.  It's that social media site that represents the downfall of society.  The scapegoat of the everything that is wrong with America and beyond.   Facebook is why children can't multiply, why we are obese, why men throw clothes on the floor next to the hamper and no one writes Thank You letters anymore.  I also have it on pretty good authority that Mark Zuckerburg secretly runs the TSA.  

Ok, so I may be exaggerating a wee bit.   Zuckerburg only runs the IRS.   But really, a google search of "facebook is bad" returns over 3.8 million hits from sites as varied as Cosmopolitan to US News & World Report to WebMD and a myriad of techie and parenting sites.  

If the sarcasm wasn't patently obvious, I love Facebook.   It allows me to reconnect with old friends, stay connected with new friends, learn what kid-friendly events are happening in my town, read funny blog posts written by fellow frazzled special needs parents and has allowed me to form a bond with my fellow distance learning classmates, despite us being flung to all corners of the US.  I feel so much closer to my classmates in this current online program than I did to most of the people I sat next to in a traditional setting the first time through college in the early 90's.   

Of course, I am a little nervous about entering a job in a public school setting and worrying about whether I can still drunk-post from the karaoke bar without fearing a loss of my job.  On one hand, I have been told to just avoid accepting coworkers as FB friends and yet on the other hand, I have been told that there are no privacy settings that can keep someone away from your info if they really want to see it.   

Sharing some of the gritty details of my life is what allows me to connect with others.   Sometimes being a stay at home mom, a special needs mom, a student in a distance education...can be lonely.   As an extrovert, I crave contact with others and social media allows that.  I share about a bad day with the kids, other moms commiserate, we laugh, we cry and we keep on trucking and sharing funny pictures like this:

So I have not yet decided how I will handle my potential for over-share on Facebook once I am gainfully employed.  I predict references to vodka will reduce by 79%.

I suppose I could switch to LinkedIn and be all professional-like.  But LinkedIn is kinda boring.    It seems to be all resumes and recruiters.    Which is great if you're job hunting, but not what I am looking for in day to day online camaraderie.

I suppose I could finally learn how to Twit, er rather Tweet or whatever they do on Twitter that includes all those ###'s.     Those SLPeeps looked like a really fun group at the 2012 ASHA Conference.  They even did a Flashmob!

I do know that I will not give up on Pinterest.  Pinterest single handedly got me through my first two internships with great therapy ideas that kept me laminating stuff late into the evening.     I appreciate all of the SLP's who are out there blogging and sharing ideas, and putting documents up on Teachers Pay Teachers for download.     Maybe one day, this blog will serve as a place for me to share ideas and tools, so that I can pay it forward a bit.  

Hopefully the Facebook group that my classmates and I have been posting on together for 2 years now will stay active and we can support each other as we enter the "real world".   I am sure not having deadlines and group projects to keep up with on a regular basis will slow the activity down a bit.    But in the end, I am thankful for all of the amazing ways that social media makes this world a little friendlier, a little smaller and a lot more colorful. 

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