I happen to love Facebook. In fact, I’m growing quite fond of Twitter and honestly enjoy perusing LinkedIn. When I stop to consider the impact of this amazing virtual presence in both my personal and professional life, I am in awe. I really never saw it coming.
My first experience with the internet was via a game console connecting with Dr. Andrew Weil a dozen years ago. There was interesting information on his page, and a community forum that attracted a wide array of participants. It was fun to visit once in awhile.
But faster than a garden full of 8 legged baby spider’s scurry through a new landscape…this virtual web entangled my soul and spun me out into a worldwide exploration and epic adventure that still seems limitless.
The restraints of time and place are being lifted. I can see a picture of my granddaughter feeding a giraffe at the zoo almost instantly…even though she lives many miles away. While it is nice to send a hand written letter or note that may take several days to arrive, I can send a text or email in seconds and get a response in less time than it would take me to lick a stamp.
As a hospice and palliative care educator, I am thrilled for the opportunity to be able to connect with learners in so many different ways. Delving into the social media arena opens up amazing connections which support education and training even when learning to provide hospice care.
While classroom education and mentoring is a vital part of any new hospice employee’s learning experience, it is not the only option.
We are no longer tethered to a classroom on a particular day and time. The beauty of this new social footprint is that as educators, we can break down barriers and carry the classroom virtually anywhere. Learning can take place at the individual’s convenience. From interactive online training, Facebook discussions, forums, Skype, YouTube to countless other possibilities, we share our collective energy with colleagues, new employees and curious learners.
Change can be difficult. There is a certain degree of comfort in doing things the way we’ve always done them. But we can’t stay cocooned in that comfort zone for too long, or we risk being left behind as others frolic and participate in a grand adventure!
The culture of education is different. A metamorphosis is afoot and it is up to each of us to decide how wide to stretch our wings. We are limited only by ourselves. It’s exciting to ponder how to use the great tools social media offers as ways to present and anchor learning. Like any worthwhile venture, the path is not always smooth, yet with a fair amount of optimism and a little imagination…it is bound to be fruitful.
Let’s start a conversation. I would love to read your comments.
How do you use social media in your organization?
What do you consider to be the greatest benefits or challenges in embracing a social media presence?