Every year I ask a group of students working on the BCPPA project to challenge themselves to write some blog for me. Social media is such a useful way of sharing clinical practice and finding evidence. We know that twitter is more accessible than peer reviewed journal articles, and many SLTs report using twitter for CPD activities. But getting started can be intimidating and challenging. One of the current student speech and language therapists, Chloe Rush, wrote a really insightful discussion on how this can feel. I think many people lurking on twitter, and even those using twitter will empathise. Sharing this I think is a great way of opening up a discussion on how to feel comfortable putting yourself out there:
When Anna challenged us to write a blog, the part of my brain that feels a general aversion to social media lit up. ‘The Blog’ would pop into my head at the strangest of times – in the shower, during lectures, whilst squashed into a London tube on a morning commute – and I would feel a nervous twinge.
I began to wonder why I felt like this, after all, working as a speech and language therapist is about connecting with people…
…Last year I did some (vital) research into the latest Disney films so I could successfully engage a group of primary school children in language therapy.
…I’ve shared placement videos and experiences with peers to get a glimpse into the huge range of speech and language therapy work going on across London.
…And as part of the BCPPA project, I’ve visited couples who have received the Better Conversations therapy. It’s been a privilege to share my experiences with them, and everyone has been so open to welcoming us into their homes and offering personal stories in return.
So why should connecting via a social media platform be any different?
It’s so important as a clinician or researcher to share what you’ve been working on with clients, other clinicians, other researchers, students, and anyone else who might be interested. We all have unique experiences to share, and thoughts which other people haven’t been thinking. I loved hearing about the poetry group from Connie in her blog, as it gave me a little insight into a world I knew nothing about.
Chatting with Anna recently, she spoke about a conference she’d attended. She met therapists from the US who are also researching PPA and was so excited to hear about similar questions they had been asking all the way over on the other side of the world. Now returned home, the group can use social media to keep sharing their thoughts and hearing about each other’s work.
This has really encouraged me to see the benefits of using social media professionally to connect, learn, engage, ask questions, and ponder ideas. Since starting to work on the project, I have written my first blog post and am the proud creator of a few tweets! I hope that as I develop as a therapist, I continue to actively engage in these platforms, joining a community of clinicians and researchers who are keeping ideas in the profession alive and current.