ArticlePDF Available

Tweet, Tweet!: Using Live Twitter Chats in Social Work Education

Article

Tweet, Tweet!: Using Live Twitter Chats in Social Work Education

Abstract

This article focuses on the use of Twitter and how it can be used to help students develop professional social work skills through live chats. An overview of the literature on Twitter in education is provided along with a discussion on New Media Literacies. A description of a live Twitter chat assignment with social work students is provided along with results from a survey assessing learning outcomes from the experience. Implications for social work education and suggestions for future research are also provided.
Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=cswe20
Download by: [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] Date: 26 January 2016, At: 09:32
Social Work Education
The International Journal
ISSN: 0261-5479 (Print) 1470-1227 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cswe20
Tweet, Tweet!: Using Live Twitter Chats in Social
Work Education
Laurel Iverson Hitchcock & Jimmy A. Young
To cite this article: Laurel Iverson Hitchcock & Jimmy A. Young (2016): Tweet, Tweet!:
Using Live Twitter Chats in Social Work Education, Social Work Education, DOI:
10.1080/02615479.2015.1136273
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2015.1136273
Published online: 26 Jan 2016.
Submit your article to this journal
View related articles
View Crossmark data
SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION, 2016
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2015.1136273
© 2016 Taylor & Francis
Tweet, Tweet!: Using Live Twitter Chats in Social Work
Education
Laurel Iverson Hitchcocka and Jimmy A. Youngb
aDepartment of Social Work, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA; bDepartment of
Social Work, California State University San Marcos, San Marcos, CA, USA
Introduction
Social media include applications, digital technologies and mobile devices that utilize the
Internet to create an interactive dialog among communities and individuals (Richardson,
2006). ere is a growing awareness that social work practitioners, students, and educators
need to be adept at using social media as part of their practice and interaction with clients,
colleagues, and organizations of all sizes (Guo, & Saxton, 2014; Perron, Taylor, Glass, &
Margerum-Leys, 2010). However, technology in social work education has been integrated
sporadically with varying degrees of success, and the literature suggests social work educa-
tors need to increase their digital competencies or media literacy while carefully considering
how and why to integrate technology into courses (Parrott & Madoc-Jones, 2008; Perron
et al., 2010; Straub, 2009; Young, 2015a; Zeman & Swanke, 2008). By doing so, educators
can help students increase their own media literacy, and ultimately apply this knowledge
to future learning and subsequent practice.
e focus of this study is to evaluate the use of Twitter, a micro-blogging social media
platform, in social work education as a tool for real-time communication and networking.
By coordinating and participating in live chats on Twitter, educators can involve students
in conversations with social work practitioners, government ocials and other students in
their own communities, in other parts of the country or even internationally. A live chat
is a scheduled time when users agree to discuss a pre-dened topic and create an online
ABSTRACT
This article focuses on the use of Twitter and how it can be used to help
students develop professional social work skills through live chats. An
overview of the literature on Twitter in education is provided along
with a discussion on New Media Literacies. A description of a live
Twitter chat assignment with social work students is provided along
with results from a survey assessing learning outcomes from the
experience. Implications for social work education and suggestions
for future research are also provided.
KEYWORDS
Social Work Education;
Twitter; social media; new
media literacies
ARTICLE HISTORY
Received 15 June 2015
Accepted 21 December 2015
CONTACT Laurel Iverson Hitchcock lihitch@uab.edu
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
2 L. I. HITCHCOCK AND J. A. YOUNG
discussion via Twitter. For example, Mental Health Chat (@MHchat) oers a weekly chat
about mental health issues to promote conversations and understanding among dier-
ent disciplines while creating an open resource for practitioners, consumers, families, and
communities (MHChat, n.d.). is article demonstrates how using live Twitter chats in the
classroom can promote the development of professional competencies and media literacies
among students, explains the process of conducting a live chat, and provides suggestions
for the incorporation of Twitter into social work education.
Participatory Culture as a Pedagogical Framework
Central to understanding the use of social media in social work education are the concepts
of participatory culture and new media literacies (Jenkins, Purushotma, Weigel, Clinton,
& Robison, 2009), and how these concepts t into the discussion of social work skills and
knowledge with a focus on developing skills by using social media. We begin with media
literacy, which is essentially an umbrella term that encompasses multiple forms of literacy
such as information literacy, visual literacy, computer literacy, or digital literacy (Considine,
Horton, & Moorman, 2009). Media literacy generally refers to ‘the ability to access, analyze,
evaluate, and communicate messages in a wide variety of forms’ (Hobbs, 1998, p. 16). e
emphasis of media literacy is learning and teaching skills related to the process of critically
analyzing and creating one’s own messages in a variety of print or digital forms (Hobbs,
1998).
e rise of social media continues to aect the denition and scope of media literacy. For
instance, Jenkins et al. (2009) identify New Media Literacies as a set of cultural competen-
cies and social skills that people need to navigate the new media landscape of today. New
media literacies build upon the traditional denition of media literacy that encompasses
critical analysis skills, research and technical skills, but also includes social skills by moving
the denition of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement
(Jenkins et al., 2009). is shi in focus on new media literacies stems in part from the
idea of participatory culture.
Participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and
civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type
of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along
to novices (Jenkins et al., 2009). Participatory culture existed before the Internet, but it
has expanded dramatically with the use of social media through platforms like Twitter or
Facebook and websites such as Wikipedia. Participatory culture is a key element in media
literacy education as we are able to interact and connect with others easier and faster than
ever before (Potter, 2013). e participatory aspects of social media are precisely why new
media literacies are viewed as a set of social skills or cultural competencies. ey can gov-
ern interaction among participants within the online community where knowledge and
meaning increasingly develops collectively and collaboratively (Jenkins et al., 2009).
It is evident that we live in an age of convergent media where the production, partici-
pation, collaboration, and cognitive, social, and linguistic complexity are intertwined and
oen embedded in popular culture (Gee, 2010). For this reason, it is more important than
ever to develop knowledge and increase understanding regarding new media and digital
technologies, and how these technologies can become an asset to the educational process.
Additionally, we want social workers to become culturally competent when working with
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION 3
consumers, and by increasing their new media literacies, they will become more cultur-
ally competent in regard to the participatory aspects of social media and how it impacts
individuals and society. is is one reason why we have implemented innovative teaching
methods that utilize these participatory digital technologies, helping students increase their
knowledge of social media for educational purposes.
Rationale for Twitter as Pedagogical Tool
Twitter, a microblogging platform, represents one form of a participatory technology that
can be used to increase media literacy and help social work students to develop a professional
identity. Microblogging is one aspect of social media that has been shown to have the poten-
tial to encourage participation, reective thinking, and collaboration (Gao, Luo, & Zhang,
2012). Twitter is designed to allow users to connect through a series of short messages, or
tweets, which consist of no more than 140 characters. Twitter users can follow other users,
and gather information on news, entertainment, or any number of topics. Tweets can be
posted and read via the website, smartphones or mobile applications, and tablets. Twitter
was founded in 2006 and has dramatically increased in popularity since that time with over
230million monthly active users (Twitter, n.d.).
Marwick and Boyd (2010) explain how individuals use Twitter and the implications of a
networked audience communicating through this medium. ey contend that networked
media, such as Twitter, helps individuals to learn how to manage tension between public
and private interests in a way that helps users develop authentic interactions (Marwick &
Boyd, 2010). is builds upon the idea of social media being a medium where individuals
become active participants. It also demonstrates the utility of this platform for developing
a public professional identity within a networked environment.
Educators in a variety of disciplines are integrating Twitter into their courses. Twitter
is being used as a back-channel in large lecture classrooms to allow students to engage in
discussions and extend their learning outside of the classroom (Chamberlin & Lehmann,
2011; Elavsky, Mislan, & Elavsky, 2011; Evans, 2014; Gao, Luo, & Zhang, 2012). Social work
education is also embracing the use of Twitter in the classroom. One example involves
having students curate Twitter lists by identifying other users, organizations, or content on
Twitter that is relevant to social work practice (Hitchcock & Battista, 2013). Another exam-
ple involves students using Twitter to raise awareness about social work issues and policies
through digital advocacy (Young, 2014). Incorporating Twitter into social work education
has the eect of inspiring participation and collaboration among students, strengthening
critical thinking skills, increasing media literacy, providing opportunities for networking
and developing a professional identity (Gao, Luo, & Zhang, 2012; Greenhow & Gleason,
2012).
Similarly, the theory of connected learning provides a useful framework for social work
educators seeking to incorporate social media into their pedagogy. Connected learning
endorses the idea that learning is informed and empowered by the digital/information age
of the twenty-rst century (Ito et al., 2013). Regardless of type, technology and digital media
allow learners to connect and network with peers and mentors both in and outside of the
classroom. For example, students can follow professional social workers, governmental
agencies and non-prot social service organizations on Twitter, and by doing so, can learn
more about current professional practice, engage in virtual conversations with these groups,
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
4 L. I. HITCHCOCK AND J. A. YOUNG
and contribute to public discourse about the profession in their role as students. is is
especially true for Twitter and social media platforms that include tools for interaction and
sharing between users. is environment of connectedness supports openness, sharing and
feedback with peers and others while the educator reinforces the academic work associated
with the digital tool and models professionalism in digital environments (Ito et al., 2013).
e net eect of infusing Twitter into education is that it, and all new media, are changing
the way we learn. Research is generally mixed on the challenges and benets of technology
and education; however, we recognize the promise of infusing technology into education to
achieve multiple learning outcomes. Specically, when thinking about adult learning theory,
it is understandable that technology incorporates social elements that can be benecial. It
was Piaget (1971) who recognized that knowledge is a process and Vygotsky (1978) who
observed learning as dialectical and socially constructed. Vygotsky (1978) also highlighted
the importance of language, symbols, and signs in regard to how individuals learn and
construct meaning. Engaging in the participatory culture of social media oen means col-
laborating and learning with others in new ways that can impact individual consciousness
and help empower students to take ownership of their education. Empowerment and critical
consciousness are important themes in social work education, and relate to the ideal goals
of adult learning (Freire, 1998; Kagitcibasi, Goksen, & Gulgoz, 2005). Furthermore, Freire
(1998) contends that individuals are directly impacted by their experiences with others
and as such learning in groups is a necessity. Engaging in live Twitter chats oen requires
increased cognitive capacity and critical thinking skills to quickly process the content,
symbols, language, and interpret or create meaning.
Praxis: Implementation of Live Twitter Chat Assignment
To incorporate social media into the classroom, we developed an assignment that combined
policy content, Twitter, and self-reection. e main goal of the assignment was to use
social media to enhance student learning of course content while simultaneously improv-
ing students’ new media literacies, especially related to communication and networking
through digital technology. To start, students create a free Twitter account and learn the
basics of tweeting, re-tweeting, and using hashtags. We provided in-class and online tuto-
rials to help students learn the mechanics of Twitter. For course content, students watched
a documentary (Inequality for All) about an important social problem (income inequality
in the United States) that was also connected to a learning module in each of our courses
(Inequality for All, n.d.).
Aer watching the movie (either in-class or on their own outside of class), students wrote
a brief reaction paper to the movie. Specically, they wrote about if they agreed with the
lmmaker’s position and how the movie informed their understanding of poverty in the
U.S. While this movie supported content in our courses, almost any documentary or topic
could be used, allowing this assignment to be incorporated into many social work courses.
Aer viewing the movie, students from both courses participated in the live Twitter
chat that was scheduled in advance by the instructors and sponsored by #MacroSW Chat,
a bi-weekly Twitter chat focusing on macro social work practice issues (#MacroSW, n.d.).
e chat lasted for 60minutes and was open to other social work classes or anyone interested
in participating. We facilitated the chat, by asking questions about the lm and income
inequality that guided the ow of the conversation. Following the chat, students write a
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION 5
brief self-reection essay about the experience of participating in a public conversation on
Twitter. While the written parts of the assignment could be optional, we recommend some
type of reection so students have an opportunity to critically assess how the experience
can inform their future social work practice. To assist with grading, we developed a rubric
that connected the content and skills parts of the assignment to current educational stand-
ards. We have written in more detail about the assignment including detailed instructions,
grading rubrics, and tips on how to introduce students to Twitter (Hitchcock, 2015; Young,
2015b). ere was no cost to educators or students to participate in the chat, and we wel-
comed anyone to join the chat.
Participating in this assignment was a challenge for some students due to concerns about
privacy. A 2013 report by the Babson Survey Research Group on the use of social media in
teaching found that 40% of faculty members surveyed were using social media as a teach-
ing tool, and issues of privacy for the faculty member and the students were cited as a top
concern (Seaman & Tinti-Kine, 2013). To help mitigate any anxiety students had regarding
using Twitter, they had the option to choose to complete an alternative assignment. e
alternative assignment builds upon the idea of the main assignment but requires the stu-
dent to produce a written paper in lieu of participating in the live Twitter chat. To date, no
students have elected the alternative assignment. Furthermore, we suggest to students the
option of using an account dierent from their personal account, using a pseudonym to
maintain their privacy or using Twitter’s available privacy settings and only follow other
students in the class. is typically leads to a conversation about transparency, authentic-
ity, and developing a professional identity, which is a core objective of the assignment. In
our experience, students are generally open to trying social media in the classroom with
guidance and discussions about its role in social work practice. Issues of privacy and other
challenges of using social media are becoming important topics for social work educators
as other disciplines, educators, and institutions are beginning to leverage social media and
other Web 2.0 tools in the classroom to increase student engagement and positive learning
outcomes (Hill, 2014; Moran, Seaman, & Tinti-Kane, 2011; Seaman & Tinti-Kine, 2013).
Other challenges to this assignment included coordinating a time that is convenient for
educators and students located in dierent time zones, spending class time demonstrating
skills needed to participate in a live Twitter chat, and the fast-paced nature of a live Twitter
chat was dicult for some students to follow. Additionally, educators using Twitter in the
classroom need to have their own professional account and a good working knowledge of
the platform, including how to tweet, re-tweet, use hashtags and participate in a live Twitter
chat (Greenhow & Gleason, 2012; Hitchcock, 2015).
Assignment Evaluation Method
Sample
is study evaluated the use of a live Twitter chat as an assignment in social work courses,
specically to evaluate student perceptions about the mechanics of the assignment and stu-
dent learning resulting from the assignment. e Institutional Review Board approved the
study, which included a cross-sectional survey unique to this research. e survey was vol-
untary and completed by 35 students who participated in a live Twitter chat in March 2015.
Because a live Twitter chat is public and available to anyone, we promoted the assignment
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
6 L. I. HITCHCOCK AND J. A. YOUNG
and chat to other social work educators and students from dierent institutions, and worked
with #MacroSW Chat as a sponsor (#MacroSW, n.d.; Young, 2015b). It was not possible to
identify all the participants by their institutions or course via Twitter and these questions
were not asked on the survey to ensure anonymity. Most of the students completing the
survey were female (91%), and most of the sample participants reported being 21–29years
of age, as a categorical measure was used to collect data on the age of the participants. is
is indicative of college age young adults, which some may argue are more knowledgeable
about using various social networks. However, research suggests there are many factors
that contribute to the use of technology or level of engagement with technology such as
socioeconomic status, location, race, gender, and educational background (Broos & Roe,
2006). Specically, 37% (13) of the students in this sample were 18–20years of age, 47%
(16) were 21–29years of age, and 16% (6) were 30–59years of age. Seventy-seven percent
of the students were undergraduates and 23% were graduate students.
Data Collection & Analysis
e survey included 24 questions designed to understand students’ use of social media for
education and their perceptions of using Twitter to enhance course content. Sixteen of the
questions were closed-ended, collecting information about demographics and student use
of technology and social media before the assignment. Eight questions were open-ended
asking about students’ perceptions of the assignment, their learning, and how social media
might t into their future practice as social work professionals. e survey was administered
electronically using Survey Monkey to ensure condentiality and anonymity. Descriptive
statistics were used to categorize the distribution of types of social media and technology
used by students as well comfort with Twitter and perceptions of the live chat. Responses
from the open-end questions were analyzed thematically to identify the benets and chal-
lenges of the live Twitter chat.
Results
To understand how students were using social media, including Twitter, students were
asked about the types of social media platforms they routinely used, and how they used
the accounts, personally or professionally. About half of the students reported having a
Twitter account prior to completing the assignment (54%). Table 1 shows other types of
social media commonly used by the students for personal and professional reasons. As can
be seen, most students reported using social media for personal reasons with Facebook
(60%), Pinterest (54%), and Instagram (57%) being the top three platforms used by all the
students. LinkedIn was the only social media platform used mostly for professional reasons
Table 1.Distribution of Social Media Use among Students.
Type of social media Personal Professional Both Total
Facebook 21 (60%) 0 (0%) 8 (23%) 29 (83%)
LinkedIn 1 (3%) 9 (27%) 2 (6%) 12 (34%)
Pinterest 19 (54%) 0 (0%) 3 (9%) 22 (63%)
Instagram 20 (57%) 0 (0%) 2 (6%) 22 (63%)
SnapChat 17 (48%) 0 (0%) 1 (3%) 18 (51%)
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION 7
by all students (27%) compared to personal reasons (3%) or both personal and professional
reasons (6%). When asked about using a particular social media service for both personal
and professional reasons, Facebook was the most common service at 23% with Pinterest as
the next most frequent at 9% of all students. Over all, students reported using social media
more commonly for personal reasons or for both personal and professional reasons than
just for professional reasons. Additionally, students were also asked if they had separate
logins (i.e. separate accounts) for the dierent personal and professional social media plat-
forms. Of the 33 students who responded this question, 46% (16) reported having separate
accounts for personal and professional use, and 49% of students (17) reported they did not
have separate logins for their accounts.
To understand how prepared students were to participate in the chat, students were
asked about types of technology used to complete the overall course assignment and the
chat as well as their comfort level with Twitter. Overall, most students reported being com-
fortable using Twitter prior to the assignment, 31% reporting being somewhat comfortable
and 26% reporting being very comfortable with the microblogging platform. Less than
one-fourth of the students reported not being comfortable with using Twitter prior to the
course assignment. Students also described a variety of available technology to complete
both the written parts of the assignment and the live chat. Most students reported using
a laptop (63%) to complete the written parts of the assignment with smartphones (11%)
as the next most frequent device used. Similarly, to complete the live chat, students used
laptops (80%) most regularly, followed by smartphones (57%). One major dierence was
the use of multiple devices, such as a laptop and a smartphone, to participate in the live chat
compared to completing the written parts of the assignment. Students more frequently used
Table 2.Use of Technology & Social Media for Chat among Students.
Total (N=35)
Used Twitter prior to course 19 (54%)
Comfort level with Twitter prior to assignment
Not very comfortable 8 (23%)
Somewhat comfortable 11 (31%)
Very comfortable 9 (26%)
Tech used to complete written assignment
Desktop 1 (3%)
Laptop 22 (63%)
Tablet 1(3%)
Smartphone 4 (11%)
Two or more devices 9 (25%)
Tech used to complete Twitter chat
Desktop 5 (14%)
Laptop 28 (80%)
Tablet 10 (29%)
Smartphone 20 (57%)
Two or more devices 19 (54%)
Table 3.Responses to Twitter Assignment.
Yes No Total (N=30)
Technology problems with assignment/chat 8 (28%) 20 (71%) 28 (96%)
Enhanced learning of course content 27 (90%) 3 (10%) 30 (100%)
Changed opinion about professional social media use 28 (93%) 2 (7%) 30 (100%)
Will use Twitter as professional tool in future 20 (83%) 4 (17%) 24 (80%)
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
8 L. I. HITCHCOCK AND J. A. YOUNG
multiple devices such as a laptop and smartphone (54%) for the chat compared to 24% for
the written portion of the assignment. Table 2 shows the distribution of data on use and
comfort with technology used for the assignment, including the live chat.
e qualitative responses to the open-ended questions were analyzed and grouped into
categories. Only thirty of the students (85%) responded to the qualitative questions about
the challenges and benets of the assignment. Table 3 shows how students responded to
four identied themes from the questions. Overall, students had positive experiences with
using Twitter in the course. Most students (71%) did not have problems related to using
technology to complete the assignment. For those who did have problems, the most common
reasons were diculty with Twitter or Wi-Fi access during the chat, and confusion about
how to use Twitter in a live chat. Ninety percent of students said the assignment enhanced
their learning of the course content because they were able to connect with others outside
of the classroom, learn what others outside of the classroom were thinking about poverty,
and practice advocacy skills. Additionally, some students noted that Twitter required criti-
cal thinking skills in order to communicate one’s message clearly and eciently within the
character limit.
When asked about the benets of the assignment, students’ responses included that the
assignment was fun and engaging, allowed students to focus on their own interests within
the larger topic, and connected students with the public discourse on income inequality with
others outside of the classroom. Students also noted challenges to the assignment, which
focused primarily on the limitations of Twitter as a tool for live chats. Specically, students
found the chat to be very fast-paced, that the timing of chat did not t their schedules,
or that they were unsure how to engage in live conversations via Twitter going into the
chat. Suggestions to improve the assignment included giving students more in-class time
to practice with Twitter and changing the parameters of the chat by making it last longer,
oering multiple times for chats, or including fewer people in the chat to slow down the
number and speed of the tweets.
With respect to using social media as a tool for professional practice, most students
(93%) reported that they changed their opinion from the negative to the positive about
using social media in professional social work practice. ey noted that social media was
a useful tool to network with others both inside and outside the class, to learn more about
their own professional interests, and that they could actively participate in the larger social
work professional community as a student, via social media. ose students who did not
change their mind about using social media professionally believed that face-to-face com-
munication was the best method for networking and practicing advocacy social work skills
for themselves as individuals, but did recognize that it could be a useful tool for others.
While most students (83%) reported that they would use Twitter for professional social
work practice, a small percentage (17%) of students stated that they would not continue to
use Twitter professionally, preferring to use other social media platforms such as Facebook
or LinkedIn.
Discussion
e main purpose of this study was to evaluate an assignment that involves the use of a
documentary lm, a live Twitter chat, and written reections, as well as student perceptions
of the use of Twitter in a social work course. e results indicate that students generally
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION 9
enjoyed this assignment and that it contributed to their own development of social work
knowledge. Specically, the ndings suggest students were engaged with others. Further,
the use of Twitter and the live chat required critical thinking skills, and 93% of students
changed their opinion of Twitter. Students also indicated they view social media as useful
to connect with others, and valuable for professional development. ese ndings compli-
ment previous studies on the use of Twitter in education (Evans, 2014; Gao, Luo, & Zhang,
2012; Hitchcock & Battista, 2013; Junco, Elavsky, & Heiberger, 2013). More research is
needed to better understand how new social workers will use social media for professional
development in the future. However, it is promising to see that students were able to see
past the ephemeral nature of Twitter to uncover valuable insights and connect with others.
is is important given adult learning theory and the concept of participatory culture dis-
cussed earlier as it strengthens the idea for new media literacies and the development of a
professional identity in a connected learning environment.
Most of the students in the sample indicated they primarily use social media for per-
sonal reasons and nearly half (49%) of students surveyed did not have separate professional
accounts. e ndings indicate students were comfortable using Twitter for this assignment
and many used more than two devices to complete the assignment. is is interesting
because although students may be comfortable using social media, some research suggest
that students do not fully understand the implications of using social media and its impact
on their professional identity (Daly & Manseld, 2014). Findings also suggest the sample
of participants are relatively young in age, which may also be indicative of a population
who are adept at using social media. is may speak to the digital native digital immigrant
debate sparked by Prensky (2001). Although age may be a factor in use of social media, one
cannot assume young people are more procient social media users simply because they
have grown up with social media (Koutropoulos, 2011).
If students plan to use social media in the future to collaborate with other social workers,
or agencies, they need to have the requisite knowledge to fully comprehend their inter-
actions and be able to critically evaluate the media they consume and produce (Young,
2015a). Engaging students in a live Twitter chat assignment and requiring self-reection
writings provides the opportunity for students to build new media literacies and add to
their growing professional competence. is builds on the concept of participatory culture
whereby students can engage in an informal mentorship and gain new knowledge that can
help them in their social work practice. e assignment also helped students increase their
media literacy skills such as critical thinking to analyze and evaluate the content shared
during the live chat. ere is an expansive literature related to media literacy, but more
research is needed on how social media aects social work education and more emphasis
needs to be placed on digital literacies for the professional setting (Quinn & Fitch, 2014).
Implications
Live Twitter chats oer opportunities for engaging students in the classroom and connecting
students with the professional world outside of the classroom. Social work educators need
to assess if and how Twitter chats might promote or otherwise inuence student learning
outcomes in the classroom, and in the development of lifelong learning outcomes for social
work professionals. As already noted, we observed specic types of learning while our
students engaged in live chats, but more evidence is needed to conrm the practice is truly
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
10 L. I. HITCHCOCK AND J. A. YOUNG
benecial in social work education. A critical point on the use of social media in social work
education is developing new media literacies. ese literacies help increase critical analysis
and technical skills that will be needed as social workers begin to work with consumers
who utilize the Internet to nd, consume, and share information. Additionally, because new
media literacies are also seen as a set of social skills, students will become more culturally
aware regarding the digital lives of their clients, and be able to professionally engage with
social media in their communities and agencies. e incorporation of social media in the
classroom allows students to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be eective
social workers in a digital world.
Increasingly, the ability to access, understand, and engage with digital content and envi-
ronments is seen as an essential part of everyday life. ose who do not have access to the
Internet will be at a disadvantage in their ability to obtain information, learn new skills and
even connect with needed services. Social workers will need to play a role in ensuring that
disadvantaged and vulnerable populations not only have access to social media, but can
successfully use the Internet and social media to achieve health and well-being outcomes.
Social workers can help orient clients and act as a source of information and support,
especially for clients who live in rural communities or are home-bound. Social workers can
help clients to interpret online content and provide education about the benets and conse-
quences of sharing and seeking information on Twitter and other social media platforms.
ere are several limitations to this study including the need for a more rigorous design
as cross-sectional research obtains information at a point in time and technology advances
quickly, meaning results could soon become outdated. e sample size is not generalizable to
the greater population of social work students, and although students voluntarily completed
the survey, respondent bias may exist. Despite these limitations, this evaluation adds needed
information to the emerging literature on the use of social media in social work education.
More research is needed on the eectiveness of live, chats with client systems including who
participates and why, what topics best lend themselves to public chats, and what are the
ethical implications of using social media in practice. For example, more research is needed
to understand how social media and other digital technologies can be used to eectively
and ethically deliver services to at-risk or disadvantaged populations such as children and
adolescents, immigrant populations, and the aging. Similarly, what are the best and most
ethical practices for social workers that engage client systems online, specically Twitter,
and how does the profession provide needed training and skill development.
Conclusion
Much is unclear about the place of Twitter and other social media platforms in social work
practice and education. Important conversations are beginning to occur in the social work
literature on ethics, best practices and training (Hill, 2014; Reamer, 2013). What is clear
is that social media and other forms of technology are now an important part of living,
working and socializing in the twenty-rst century. Social work practitioners and educators
need to be both knowledgeable and skillful in using social media to engage client systems,
assess outcomes, and advocate on behalf of the profession. Utilizing live Twitter chats and
incorporating the use of creative assignments and innovative digital technologies provide
an avenue for students to develop the new media literacies and social skills that will help
them to develop a professional identity and become competent practitioners.
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION 11
Acknowledgements
Special acknowledgment to the founding & current collaborators at #MacroSW Chat for co-spon-
soring our live Twitter chats: Association for Community Organizing and Social Administration
(ACOSA), Karen Zgoda, Rachel West, University at Bualo School of Social Work, Sunya Folayan,
Kristin Battista-Frazee, Deona Hooper, University of Southern California School of Social Work, and
Network for Social Work Management (NSWM).
References
Broos, A. & Roe, K. (2006). e digital divide in the playstation generation: Self-ecacy, locus of
control and ICT adoption among adolescents. Poetics, 34, 306–317. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2006.05.002
Chamberlin, L., & Lehmann, K. (2011). Twitter in higher education. In C. Wankel (Ed.), Educating
educators with social media (Cutting-edge technologies in higher education, Volume 1) (pp. 375–391).
Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing.
Considine, D., Horton, J., & Moorman, G. (2009). Teaching and reading the millennial generation
through media literacy. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 52, 471–481.
Daly, M., & Manseld, J. (2014). A study of the relevance of social network sites and ethics involving
undergraduate students. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 19, 83–96.
Elavsky, C. M., Mislan, C., & Elavsky, S. (2011). When talking less is more: exploring outcomes of
Twitter usage in the large-lecture hall. Learning, Media and Technology, 36, 215–233. doi:10.108
0/17439884.2010.549828
Evans, C. (2014). Twitter for teaching: Can social media be used to enhance the process of learning?
British Journal of Educational Technology, 45, 902–915. doi:10.1111/bjet.12099
Freire, P. (1998). Pedagogy of freedom: Ethics, democracy, and courage. Lanham, MD: Rowman &
Littleeld Publishers.
Gao, F., Luo, T., & Zhang, K. (2012). Tweeting for learning: A critical analysis of research on
microblogging in education published in 2008–2011. British Journal of Educational Technology,
43, 783–801. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01357.x
Gee, J. P. (2010). New digital media and learning as an emerging area and “worked examples” as one
way forward. Cambridge, MA: e MIT Press.
Greenhow, C., & Gleason, B. (2012). Twitteracy: Tweeting as a new literacy practice. e Educational
Forum, 76, 464–478.
Guo, C., & Saxton, G. D. (2014). Tweeting social change: How social media are changing nonprot
advocacy. Nonprot and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43, 57–79. doi:10.1177/0899764012471585
Hill, K. (2014). Web 2.0 in social work macro practice: Ethical considerations and questions. Journal
of Social Work Values and Ethics, 11, 2–11.
Hitchcock, L. I. (2015). How to participate in a live Twitter chat – Tips for social workers. Retrieved
from http://www.laureliversonhitchcock.org/2015/01/08/how-to-participate-in-a-live-twitter-
chat-tips-for-social-workers/
Hitchcock, L. I., & Battista, A. (2013). Social media for professional practice: Integrating Twitter
with social work pedagogy. e Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 18(Special issue), 33–45.
Hobbs, R. (1998). e seven great debates in the media literacy movement. Journal of Communication,
48, 16–32.
Inequality for All. (n.d.). Homepage. Retrieved from http://inequalityforall.com/
Ito, M., Gutiérrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., Salen, K., and Watkins, S. C. (2013).
Connected learning: An agenda for research and design. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning
Research Hub. Retrieved from http://dmlhub.net/
Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Weigel, K., Clinton, K., & Robison, A. J. (2009). Confronting the challenges
of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Junco, R., Elavsky, C. M., & Heiberger, G. (2013). Putting twitter to the test: Assessing outcomes
for student collaboration, engagement and success. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44,
273–287. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01284.x
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
12 L. I. HITCHCOCK AND J. A. YOUNG
Kagitcibasi, C., Goksen, F., & Gulgoz, S. (2005). Functional adult literacy and empowerment of
women: Impact of a functional literacy program in Turkey. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy,
48, 472–489.
Koutropoulos, A. (2011). Digital natives: Ten years aer. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 4,
525–538. Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no4/koutropoulos_1211.htm
#MacroSW. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved from https://macrosw.wordpress.com/
Marwick, A. E., & Boyd, D. (2010). I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse,
and the imagined audience. New Media & Society, 20, 1–20. doi:10.1177/1461444810365313
MHChat. (n.d.). Home page. Retrieved from http://mhchat.com/
Moran, M., Seaman, J., & Tinti-Kane, H. (2011). Teaching, learning, and sharing: How today’s higher
education faculty use social media. Babson Park, MA: Babson Survey Research Group.
Parrott, L., & Madoc-Jones, I. (2008). Reclaiming information and communication technologies for
empowering social work practice. Journal of Social Work, 8, 181–197. doi:10.1177/1468017307084739
Perron, B. E., Taylor, H. O., Glass, J. E., & Margerum-Leys, J. (2010). Information and communication
technologies in social work. Advances in Social Work, 11, 67–81.
Piaget, J. (1971). Psychology and epistemology—Towards a theory of knowledge. Kingsport, TN:
Kingsport Press.
Potter, W. J. (2013). e expanding role for media literacy in the age of participatory cultures. In A.
Delwiche & J. J. Henderson (Eds.), e participatory cultures handbook (pp. 232–243). New York,
NY: Routledge.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 5, 1–6. Retrieved from
http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20
Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf
Quinn, A., & Fitch, D. (2014). A conceptual framework for contextualizing information technology
competencies. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 32, 133–148. doi:10.1080/15228835.20
13.860367
Reamer, F. G. (2013). e digital and electronic revolution in social work: Rethinking the meaning
of ethical practice. Ethics and Social Welfare, 7, 2–19. doi:10.1080/17496535.2012.738694
Richardson, W. H. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. ousand
Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Seaman, J., & Tinti-Kane, H. (2013). Social media for teaching and learning. Babson Park, MA: Babson
Survey Research Group. Retrieved from http://www.meducationalliance.org/sites/default/les/
social_media_for_teaching_and_learning.pdf
Straub, E. T. (2009). Understanding technology adoption: eory and future directions for informal
learning. Review of Educational Research, 79, 625–649. doi:10.3102/0034654308325896
Twi tter. (n.d.). About Twitter Inc. Retrieved February 4, 2014 from https://about.twitter.com/company
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society—e development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University.
Young, J. A. (2015a). Assessing new media literacies in social work education: e development and
validation of a comprehensive assessment instrument. Journal of Technology in Human Services,
33, 72–86. doi:10.1080/15228835.2014.998577
Young, J. A. (2015b). #MacroSW chat March 12th 8pm CST #Inequality for All. Retrieved from https://
jimmysw.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/macrosw-chat-march-12th-8pm-cst-inequality-for-all/
Young, J. (2014). iPolicy: Exploring and evaluating the use of iPads in a social welfare policy course.
Journal of Technology in Human Services, 32, 39–53. doi:10.1080/15228835.2013.860366
Zeman, L. D., & Swanke, J. (2008). Integrating social work practice and technology competencies: A
case example. Social Work Education, 27, 601–612. doi:10.1080/02615470802201630
Downloaded by [California State University San Marcos ], [Jimmy Young] at 09:32 26 January 2016
... Social media has allowed social work educators to expand the curriculum in creative ways (Brady, Sawyer, & Crawford Herrera, 2016;McInroy, 2021). For example, Twitter has been used in teaching macro social work to engage students throughout the nation in live discussions or chats (Hitchcock & Young, 2016;Teixeira & Hash, 2017). Social work educators have created assignments utilizing social media to connect students internationally (Knowles & Cooner, 2016) and social media has helped to improve social work education in remote areas (Kilpeläinen, Päykkönen, & Sankala, 2011). ...
... Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. skills related to New Media Literacies (Hitchcock & Young, 2016;Young et al., 2018). New Media Literacies and Participatory Culture (Jenkins et al., 2006) are central tenets to understanding, engaging in, and reshaping the future of digital competencies. ...
... After viewing the film and participating in the chat, students completed a short reflection paper about the film and their experience participating in the Chat. The Twitter Chat documentary film assignment mirrored the model from Hitchcock and Young (2016). The learning objectives of these assignments included increasing students understanding of using social media for advocacy, research, networking, demonstrating ethical and professional behavior, lifelong learning, and using technology ethically and appropriately. ...
Article
Social workers must have the requisite new media literacies to engage in social work practice in the modern digital age and increase their digital competence. This article demonstrates how students can obtain the necessary digital competencies for their future social work practice through an enhanced participatory learning environment based on 12 specific new media literacies situated in a master’s level macro social work practice course. A description of the learning assignments and participatory activities is provided along with results from a mixed-methods evaluation of the student’s experiences. Findings indicate statistically significant results in increasing new media literacies among students and that participatory learning activities enhanced student knowledge and skills. Discussion and implications related to new media literacies and the future of social work education are also provided.
... Twitter has been offering a variety of opportunities for different kind of professional learning and development for educators by creating efficient communication and increased sense of community and shared learning (Gao & Li, 2019;Hitchcock & Young, 2016). Theoretically, Twitter offers professional development opportunities by using moderated chat sessions that differ from traditional approaches (Xing & Gao, 2018;Delello & Consalvo, 2019) and have a positive influence on participant's professional learning and development (Nochumson, 2020) because of its immediacy, personalization, and support of networks that are less temporally or spatially limited. ...
... #Edchat) to group the posts together by a certain context. Using Twitter as a tool for VPLNs, specifically using a specific hashtag for educators, can offer professional learning and development opportunities by creating efficient communication, increased sense of community and shared learning because of its immediacy, personalization, and support of networks that are less temporally or spatially limited (Carpenter & Krutka, 2014;Gao & Li, 2019;Greenhalgh et al., 2020;Hitchcock & Young, 2016;Hsieh, 2017). Using hashtags for moderated chat sessions is one of the most beneficial features and plays an important role in engaging VPLN members in informal, just-in-time professional learning (Xing & Gao, 2018;Britt & Paulus, 2016;Donelan, 2016;Greenhalgh et al., 2020;Greenhalgh & Koehler, 2017), and thus let educators enrich their knowledge and professional development by participating in VPLNs (Holmes et al., 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
Background There has been increasing interest in online professional learning networks in a variety of social media platforms, especially in Twitter. Twitter offers immediacy, personalization, and support of networks to increase professional knowledge and the sense of membership. Knowing the topics discussed in Twitter and the factors that affect the duration of a topic would help to sustain and reconstruct Twitter-based professional learning activities. Objectives The purpose of this study is to analyse the topics discussed and what factors affect the duration of a specific topic in 6 years within a virtual professional learning network (VPLN) using #Edchat in Twitter, based on media richness features. Methods Internet-mediated research and digital methods are used for data collection and analysis. Various text, natural language processing, and machine learning algorithms were used along with the quantitative multilevel models. This study examined 504,998 tweets posted by 72,342 unique users by using #Edchat. Results There were 150 topics discussed over the 6 years and multilevel random intercept regression model revealed that a specific topic discussed in the #Edchat VPLN is discussed longer when it has more tweets, rather than retweets, posted by a high number of different users along with moderate text, high or moderate mentions with more hashtags. Takeaways The study developed an automated social media richness feature extraction framework that can be adapted for other theoretical applications in educational context. Emergent topics discussed in Twitter among #Edchat VPLN members for professional development were identified. It extends the social media richness theory for educational context and explore factors that affect an online professional learning activity in Twitter. Lay Description What is already known about this topic • Professional Learning Communities have started to use both synchronous and asynchronous Web 2.0 and social media platforms where they may exchange information and develop a sense of belonging with others who share common interests. • Synchronous online activity in social networking sites, such as Twitter, can be an effective, informal and a free way to convey information and create and develop personalized networks. • Twitter offers immediacy, personalization, and support of networks to increase professional knowledge and the sense of membership. • There have been a great number of hashtags in Twitter for educational context and those hashtags are used by teachers to find information and resources and gain new perspectives and ideas from their colleagues or experts. • The richness of a social media post varies according to how it is structured and constructed. What this paper adds • By using #edchat in Twitter, educators discussed 150 topics in 6 years. • The most discussed topics are Creating, changing school culture; Classroom management, teaching methods; Classroom settings, Educational technologies; Support – Needs; Students' subject skills and interest; and School environment. • A specific topic stays longer when it has more tweets, rather than retweets, posted by a high number of different users. • Topics that have moderate text, high or moderate mentions with more hashtags are discussed longer on Twitter. • The duration of a topic can be changed according to the educators' behaviours in a synchronous online chat. Implications for practice and/or policy • Importance of social media for professional learning and how to sustain a topic for better learning and understanding. • Developing and applying an automated computational discourse analysis social media learning. • Applying media richness theory to understand the affordances of social media learning. • Quantifying the influence of various factors on the discourse in social media learning.
... Re-Imagining Digital & New Media Literacies 16 Social work education can prepare future professionals with digital competencies by infusing DNML throughout the curriculum. This can include using social media to instruct on human behavior and the social environment (Baker & Hitchcock, 2017), using Twitter in macro practice and policy classes (Hitchcock & Young, 2016;Teixeira & Hash, 2017), examining the benefits and challenges of big data, data visualization, and data science in research (Cariceo, Nair, & Lytton, 2018;Perron et al., 2020), and using a variety of technologies for students to develop their digital competence (Young & Ronquillo, 2021;Young et al., 2018;Gilster et al., 2020;McInroy, 2021). By infusing digital literacies within social work education, we equip students with the necessary critical theoretical perspective to unpack the sources of information, the credentials and motivations of knowledge creators or influencers, and who benefits from information as well as who may be harmed as a result of the narrative being promoted. ...
Article
Full-text available
Social unrest and division within the United States has become more visible and magnified since the 2016 election of former President Trump. This unrest has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and white supremist attacks across the country. Throughout this era, information has been perpetuated through systemic and cultural networks promoting pseudoscience, #fakenews, misinformation, and explicit marginalization of racial, gender, ethnic, and cultural minorities. During this time, social work practitioners and educators have struggled to counter misinformation in classrooms and practice contexts. This paper proposes a newly re-imagined framework for addressing misinformation and civil discourse in social work education through the adoption and infusion of digital and new media literacies from within a critical theory driven epistemological framework. Recommendations are provided for incorporating tools, skills, and competencies throughout the curriculum in a more meaningful way that will help the profession combat misinformation, promote civil discourse, and utilize best practices in a digitally augmented society. Only then will the social work profession be able to meet the current and future challenges and opportunities that will undoubtedly accompany the expansion of digital technologies throughout our society.
... a range of advanced course management systems (Hitchcock & Young, 2016). Online delivery modalities encompass hybrid, blended synchronous and asynchronous, and entirely asynchronous approaches. ...
The use of social media such as Twitter has gained popularity in education during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study included 22 high-quality peer-reviewed journal articles for the meta-analysis. The authors reveal that there are no significant differences in teaching effectiveness between the Twitter and non-Twitter-assisted learning approaches. Twitter-assisted learning outcomes are significantly higher than the non-Twitter-assisted whether Twitter is used as a supplementary or an integrated tool. Twitter-assisted learning can lead to significantly higher learning outcomes than non-Twitter-assisted learning in the USA, Greece, and Sweden, but no significant difference is revealed in Spain. Swedish users hold significantly positive attitudes towards the use of Twitter in education, but no significant difference is found in the USA. Twitter-assisted learning can cause significantly more engagement than non-Twitter-assisted in the USA, and male learners have significantly higher learning outcomes than females in both the USA and Spain.
Chapter
The recent decade has been witnessing an increasing number of studies committed to the use of Twitter in education. It is necessary to determine the effect of Twitter use on education through a meta-analytical review since related meta-analyses are scanty and previous findings are inconsistent. By searching a number of databases, the authors selected 23 publications to examine the effect of the use of Twitter in education. It is concluded that the use of Twitter exerts a significant and positive effect on general education, that the use of Twitter exerts a significant and positive effect on academic achievements in education, and that there are no significant gender differences in the effect of Twitter use in education. Other social media could also be considered in terms of their use in education.
Article
Full-text available
Kargo Firması Müşterilerinin Twitter Gönderilerinin Duygu Analizi
Article
The recent decade has been witnessing an increasing number of studies committed to the use of Twitter in education. It is necessary to determine the effect of Twitter use on education through a meta-analytical review since related meta-analyses are scanty and previous findings are inconsistent. By searching a number of databases, we selected 23 publications to examine the effect of the use of Twitter in education. It is concluded that the use of Twitter exerts a significant and positive effect on general education (d = 0.40), that the use of Twitter exerts a significant and positive effect on academic achievements in education (d = 0.63), and that there are no significant gender differences in the effect of Twitter use in education (d = 0.54). Other social media could also be included in future research into the effect of their use on education.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The microblogging platform Twitter is the largest global network for the exchange of brief information from all areas of social life. The platform has been in existence for fourteen years, but has only stabilized its financial results in recent years. Contrary to the inclining growth and stabilization of financial results, the number of beneficiaries has declining growth, which points to the conclusion of saturation of income and number of beneficiaries. The largest number of users of the platform is in the USA, and they generate the largest number of tweets. During the pandemic, presidential elections took place in the USA, which brought the platform to the attention of the world public due to the tweets the politicians posted. All this affected the recovery and growth of the number of users on the platform. The aim of this paper is to investigate the financial operations of the platform at the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic, as well as the movement of the number of users at that time. The results of the research can serve as a basis for other research in the field of social sciences, related to the phenomenon of the Twitter platform.
Book
Full-text available
This report is a synthesis of ongoing research, design, and implementation of an approach to education called “connected learning.” It advocates for broadened access to learning that is socially embedded, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity. Connected learning is realized when a young person is able to pursue a personal interest or passion with the support of friends and caring adults, and is in turn able to link this learning and interest to academic achievement, career success or civic engagement. This model is based on evidence that the most resilient, adaptive, and effective learning involves individual interest as well as social support to overcome adversity and provide recognition. This report investigates how we can use new media to foster the growth and sustenance of environments that support connected learning in a broad-based and equitable way. This report also offers a design and reform agenda, grounded in a rich understanding of child development and learning, to promote and test connected learning theories.
Article
Full-text available
The focus of this article is to replicate the validity and reliability of a newly developed assessment tool for self-reported media literacy levels by assessing the new media literacy levels of social work students and educators. The study is grounded in the New Media Literacies (NML) framework and the concept of participatory culture. Findings indicate a significant difference between the levels of new media literacy of students and educators. Students were also found to be more engaged with new media. The study demonstrates the need to incorporate new media literacies into the social work curriculum to increase the digital competencies of both educators and students. Implications for social work education and future research are suggested.
Article
Full-text available
Social work education has been transformed with the advent of modern digital technologies such as social media. A focus on using new technology to create engaging and creative educational opportunities for modern students comes with benefits and challenges. The following provides an exploration and evaluation of how iPads were used in a Social Welfare Policy course. Students report positive results using the iPad to engage in the course content and assignments. Results also demonstrate that mobile devices can be both distracting and helpful in completing coursework. A description of a Policy Advocacy assignment using the iPad is also provided.
Article
The use of social networking sites (SNSs) has evolved rapidly this past decade with little concern for privacy. This study examines undergraduate students’ use of SNSs and online privacy preferences. Eighty-five students in social work classes were surveyed to determine the frequency of SNS access and privacy control usage. Student participants accessed SNSs (97.6%) more than the general population (72%) surveyed by the Pew Research Internet Project (Brenner & Smith, 2013). Most students restricted access to their profiles through friends-only privacy settings and took steps to eliminate unwanted posts. However, regrets over personal posts were still commonplace. The 2005 National Association of Social Workers and Association of Social Work Boards ethical standards suggest establishing professional boundaries and safeguarding personal information as part of technologically proficient practice. Social work educational programs should provide training on privacy risk management to protect students from unwanted and potentially career damaging disclosures on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and other Internet sites.
Article
How are nonprofit organizations utilizing social media to engage in advocacy work? We address this question by investigating the social media use of 188 501(c)(3) advocacy organizations. After briefly examining the types of social media technologies employed, we turn to an in-depth examination of the organizations’ use of Twitter. This in-depth message-level analysis is twofold: A content analysis that examines the prevalence of previously identified communicative and advocacy constructs in nonprofits’ social media messages; and an inductive analysis that explores the unique features and dynamics of social media-based advocacy and identifies new organizational practices and forms of communication heretofore unseen in the literature.
Article
The use of Web 2.0 technologies in macro practice social work is increasingly common. This paper provides an overview of the strengths and limitations of using these new technologies in macro practice settings and a discussion of ethical considerations. It also and identifies areas for future investigation and discussion.
Article
This study examines field agency expectations for technology literacy skills in new employees using a conceptual framework that organizes these desired skills of employees by categories including: ability to record data, generate information, produce knowledge, and communicate. Findings indicate that MSW graduates are expected to have the highest level of skills related to information and communication, and employers hold fewer expectations related to data and production of knowledge. These findings are concerning because data is the building block for information, knowledge, and communication skills, and social work education has a large knowledge component. Implications for social work education are suggested.
Article
The recent and dramatic emergence of digital and other electronic technology in social work—such as online counseling, video counseling, avatar therapy, and e-mail therapy—has tested and challenged the profession's longstanding and widely accepted perspectives on the nature of both clinical relationships and core ethics concepts. These developments have transformed key elements of social work practice and require critical examination of the meaning and application of relevant ethical concepts in diverse cultures. This article explores pertinent ethical implications related to social workers' commitment to clients; privacy/confidentiality; client self-determination and professional paternalism; informed consent; and professional–client boundaries and dual relationships. The author discusses the need for social workers to re-examine time-honored ethics concepts and explore their implications for the profession's ethical standards pertaining to the practitioner–client relationship.