So, yes, another cross post from my personal blog. Don’t worry, I’ll run out of them soon and write original thoughts here. But this is a good one. At least if you heart technology like I do.
Every once in a while I’ll run into someone who eschews technology. Recently I heard someone ask “What are you missing by not being on Facebook?” Perhaps all social media’s not equal, but if we asked that question of Twitter, I’d have to say, a lot.
Profesionally, Twitter has been a game changer for me. Leading up to the ASHA (American Speech Language Hearing Association) conference last year, I started following some Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs). Through Twitter, a few of us got together for dinner one night, and hung out most of the rest of the conference together. This was night and day from the previous year when I mostly did the conference on my own, hanging out in my hotel room after the day was through.
Not only was hanging out at the conference great, but I realized there is a huge SLP presence on Twitter (using the #slpeep) hashtag. It’s really a large professional learning community, and has been so important to me as a beginning SLP. In order to not annoy the crap out of my personal contacts, I created a professional Twitter account, and I can’t count the ways it’s been useful to me.
First and foremost, it’s been support and encouragement in a profession that can be a bit isolating. When I was subbing with a caseload of 80 basically on my own, the #slpeeps made it bearable. They answered questions (What would you do in a situation like this..) and resources (Check out So and So’s book on X), and just general “You got this girl!” kind of encouragement.
When I started getting ready for school this year, I barraged them again with questions. I asked them how they organize their rooms, what are their must have supplies, how did they stay on top of paperwork, and on and on. As I got into the school year, and had a really tough kid, I asked one of the #slpeeps, an expert (though she may not call herself that) in the area for advice and help with details of how to carry out a particular treatment. And it’s working. I honestly don’t think I would have had that kind of success on my own. And though it’s a professional activity for me, I’ve also met some dear friends, people I’ve met up with face-to-face and care about in real life and even apart from SLP. It’s been a blessing.
The one thing I struggle with a little bit with my professional Twitter life is that I may not have a lot to give. Opinions, sure. I never run out of those. But as far as advice or support, being a newbie I’m a little green to start doing that. But, I know that, like in other areas of life, and especially I think in the SLP community, you remember those who helped you out and return the favor as you can. I’d love to be able to reassure and resource a new SLP someday as she enters the field.
So when I think about the question “What would I be missing without Twitter,” my answer is really whole worlds. Truly. It’s not sitting down with someone for a cup of coffee, but in my experience, it can turn into that. And even if it doesn’t, it might be exactly what you need right now.