Working Social Media
After education and experience, networking is the single most powerful tool in your career toolbox. Are you milking it for all it’s worth? Most people use social networking in a casual manner, posting fascinating information about what they had for lunch and awesomely funny cat pictures.
Social networking, however, is a powerful way to connect with other professionals in the field, and build a professional support network that can lead to better jobs and more money. But how do you engage other professionals?
There are a number of pages and groups dedicated to SLPs on Facebook. Find a few that appeal to you, and start contributing. It’s not enough to join, you want to engage. Keep it professional, join discussions on subjects that interest you, and offer your own experience and ideas. Check out these pages to get started:
- SLPeeps – an active social group of about 1,400 SLPs full of interesting discussion.
- The Practical (and Fun!) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools - an informative page about emerging technologies and how to use them. Visit this page to learn new stuff.
- Speech-Language Pathologists – Active discussions about SLP topics; a great place to connect.
- Future SLPs – join the discussion to offer advice for students considering an SLP career.
- Autism Speaks – all things autism. Learn and contribute to this difficult and confusing issue.
- Speech and Language Therapy – another group with nearly 1,700 SLP members.
Look for hashtag discussions like #slpeeps and #autism, but skip #SLP. As obvious as that may seem, the results are pretty random and totally unrelated.
I’ve heard LinkedIn described as Facebook for people with real jobs, and there’s some merit to that description. LinkedIn is used by professional people to hold sober discussions. You rarely see dancing baby videos. Groups include ASHA, Speech Language Pathologists of America, and Pediatric and School-Based Therapy Discussion Group -sponsored by PediaStaff.
Of course, you should also join ASHA’s community. The secret to success in social media is pretty simple. Post. A lot. Talk to people, be interesting and provocative, but not aggressive. Discuss, don’t argue. Share information and interesting news. Show other professionals what you want them to see; intelligence, compassion, knowledge, and authority. It’s a great way to build your network – and your reputation.