Tweeting, blogging, podcasts…these may all seem rather novel and perhaps quite intimidating for clinicians and researchers. And to be honest I was not convinced by these new age phenomena a few years ago. My husband (before he was my husband) used to download lots of podcasts, predominantly about football. My friends who work in media have been on twitter and Instagram since the beginning of time. If I am honest I felt that as a serious health care professional I would never be using these platforms for anything serious.
Yet in 2015 I found myself opening a twitter account for professional purposes, shortly followed by this blog to document my journey through my PhD. I am now even considering re-visiting my dormant Linked-In profile. It has been a bit of an epiphany for me. I really enjoy all this social media networking. Even more importantly social media has enabled me to reach further than I had ever anticipated. I have been able to spread a survey I designed across the UK. I have been overwhelmed by the responses ranging from the far reaches of Scotland, the Republic of Ireland as well as London and the South.
I have even taken to listening to a podcast recently called MDTea. The podcast targets all health professionals who work with older adults. Episode 4 is about “communication in cognitive impairment”. It is just over 30 minutes of pleasant discussion on communication approaches used in dementia to support people with cognitive and communication difficulties. It is rather nice to hear two medics being so positive and engaged about communication management. They provide some lovely examples of how person centered care, memory books and validation approaches as well as a number of other approaches support communication on the wards or in nursing homes. It would be interesting to hear a little more on speech and language therapy – but I am sure that is yet to come. It is really rather enjoyable to engage in this type of bite-size interdisciplinary information sharing and if anyone would like to have a listen you can access the MDTea podcasts here: http://thehearingaidpodcasts.org.uk/mdtea-2/
Having said all that I don’t really know why I am so surprised by all this. I was recently sent an article all about the use of social media in research. Schnitzler, Davies, Ross et al (2016) stated that “the use of social media micro-blogging platforms is a contemporary, fast, easy and cost effective way to augment existing ways of disseminating research which drives impact.” As a communication “expert” I do understand that communication evolves, that we inevitably choose faster more efficient methods of communicating our messages effectively. It is natural, exciting and useful too. I champion these innovative methods and advocate we all catch up and evolve, especially as communication “experts”.