5 Reasons to Use Social Media

5 Reasons to Use Social Media

Today’s post is a guest post by Clarissa (@clissa89), a third year BSc Occupational Therapy student and self confessed OT Geek. I ‘met’ Clarissa on Twitter and have since met her in real life at the Occupational Science conference in Plymouth. She kindly agreed to write this post on what she, as a student, has gained from the use of social media. Today I am running an optional social media surgery at work for interested students, aiming to show them how social media can be used to support Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Only a select handful have signed up but I hope that this post will help encourage more to investigate social media for themselves. Over to Clarissa.

Although I have grown up using the internet to connect with people, it wasn’t until I attended Sarah Stewart’s presentation on Personal Learning Networks at last year’s World Occupational Therapy Day Virtual Exchange that I began to intentionally use social media for learning. Since then I have mainly using Twitter (but also popping in to Facebook groups), and have frequently been asked why I invest the time. Here are my top five reasons:

5. It’s Interesting
A quick look at my Twitter timeline this morning reveals “tweets” about health and social care, mental health, world events, politics… and recipes. I discover what people are doing and thinking about around the world, and read first-hand accounts of how people are affected by various events and issues. Social media also helps me to find out about upcoming learning opportunities, whether on- or offline.

4. Sharing Resources
I recently asked Twitter if anyone could recommend resources on Activity Analysis. I came back from placement to several very useful responses – and resources which I wasn’t aware of. Likewise, I respond to requests for resources. This makes me aware of how much I do know, and confirms that I have something to offer – I’m not “just” a student.

3. Engaging in Discussions
Discussions are constantly taking place on Twitter and Facebook. Often these discussions include other people’s networks, and I am exposed to different perspectives. Sometimes I just read them with interest. But joining in the conversation allows me to test my ideas out, challenge my thinking and learn from other people’s experiences.

2. Getting Connected
Through social media, my network has become broader. I’ve developed relationships with people who I would otherwise not have met. These people have challenged, supported and encouraged me, which has been invaluable.

1. Developing a Professional Identity
Engaging in discussions with Occupational Therapists (and students) around the world has strengthened my professional identity. I feel like I am part of the Occupational Therapy community. For me, this has been the most significant benefit of using social media.

So What Now?
To find out what’s happening with Occupational Therapy in the Twitter world, I would recommend searching the following hashtags:
– #occupationaltherapy
– #OTuesday
– #OTalk and #Occhat (live discussions Tuesdays 8-9pm UK time)
And following @BAOTCOT and other Occupational Therapy-related accounts.
There are also various Facebook groups you could join, including:
– Occupational Therapy Students: Get Connected
– OS4OT (Occupational Science)
– OT4OT (Online Technology)
– MH4OT (Mental Health)

Huge thanks go to Clarissa for taking the time to write this post, not only has it saved me from a job, it is more authentic coming from a student than me as a lecturer. Hopefully you can use it as evidence in your CPD folder now. I have been very impressed with your dedication and commitment to exploring the scope of the profession you will shortly be joining in a professional capacity (or as full member of the Order of the Phoenix as I like to refer to it ;0)).

There is a growing network of OTs using social media to connect both socially and professionally including many more 4OT groups on Facebook than mentioned above. This post comes hot on the heels of a hugely successful 24 hour virtual exchange last week. A quick search for the hashtag #ot24vx on Twitter will give you a long list of OTs to follow.

If you are a student/ recent graduate please feel free to comment below on your experiences using social media.

Posted on October 31, 2011, in Lecturing, Occupational Therapy, Social Media and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I totally agree! Twitter has allowed me to connect to other OTs and OT students, making me more excited about being OT. I definitely feel I have more of a professional identity thanks to Twitter and “meeting” people like Clarissa.

  2. Oh, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that I’ve used a lot of what I’ve learned from OT blogs whilst on placement as well!

  3. I agree Munchkn – such a benefit on placements!

    Kirsty, I’m not sure why more students don’t connect using social media. Perhaps some of reason is to do with time commitment? Also it can seem pretty daunting, not knowing where to start.

  1. Pingback: 5 Reasons to Use Social Media | hOT News | Scoop.it

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