Thursday, July 3, 2014

'In it to win it?'

Healthcare professionals as a group have polarised attitudes towards social media. Quite a lot of the time the scare stories that emerge are genuinely terrifying. Then there is a cadre of people who are working from within to leverage the benefits. For example, #wenurses - a weekly twitter-based chat around professional issues. I have tried to encourage students to consider their role in this through an online workbook (see
The newly announced study by group gives another reason why we should be encouraging students at all levels to engage purposefully in social media.
I was struck by the following quote by Dr Pete Burnap Computer Science and Informatics who said:
"Social media has often been associated with the spread of malicious and antagonistic content that could pose a potential risk to community relations.  We frequently hear about trolling and social media being used to harass members of the public or certain groups in society. However, this research provides some evidence that suggests it is actually the more positive and supportive messages that spread to a significant extent following events of this nature."
As we consider a new social media policy for the new School of Healthcare sciences, we will be trying to counter the usual list of 'donts' and 'dread' with the view that Healthcare professionals have a role here, to add their electronic voices to make a positive contribution towards shaping emergent social media activity.
There are plenty of benefits for professional use of social media afterall... see Cooper and Craig 2013 for example. I've adapted their 'figure 2' for our use. They used the term 'digital native', which is generally thought to be a flawed concept by now. Also, I prefer the term 'digital fluency' as it is more reflective of the how people come and go, gain and lose 'working knowledge' (ie. as per Goodyear et al. 2001) of things digital. Also, given that we are dealing with students who will see themselves as quite a way off from 'senior professional', I've dropped the 'senior' to help them relate to the idea of aiming to be a professional.