Welcome to The New Social Worker's Blog

The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Technology & Social Work

When wearing my researcher hat, I spend a lot of time looking at how social workers can enhance their work or further their nonprofit missions by using technology. In fact, I recently completed a study in which I examined how older adults and Baby Boomers use the Internet for health information. I'm fascinated by the possibilities that some of these technologies afford us and excited to write about them in my upcoming column, sw 2.0, for the New Social Worker Magazine.

What is all this talk about the web 2.0 or even 3.0? In a nutshell it refers to using technology to interact with one another and share information rather than just reading information passively from a web site. For even more info I would check out this helpful article.

I'd love to hear how technology has helped (or hindered!) your work as a social worker. Are there technologies or web sites that really help you? Is there a technology you wish would be developed to help you? Or have you used technologies like SocialWorkchat.org, Facebook, or Twitter to connect with other social workers? I'd also love to hear your suggestions for future columns!


  1. I think Twitter has the ability to really help connect social workers. I'd like to see an article on that, for sure.

  2. I agree with antiSWer - I have used Twitter to connect in a more personal way already with other social workers, media and also politicians with an interest in social work who are all interested in the kinds of subjects that I'm raising and am interested in.
    I don't use Facebook barely to be honest now. I might be casually associated with a few related groups but I don't see it as nearly so useful - especially for making meaningful connections.
    Blogging has been a massive benefit for me regarding work and retaining an active interest in social work, social policy and the media.
    Live chat has its place but for me, one of the things I have appreciated most about building connections through Twitter and blogging is that it doesn't have to be time limited.
    I also find some forums (particularly the UK-based CareSpace) has been incredibly helpful. I'm a member of a couple of mailing lists. One is global but it doesn't seem very active - the other is local and involves a very specific group of social workers with a particular interest in mental health in the UK - it is an AMAZING resource because the people contribute so actively and as the membership of the list is protected, people can ask much more specific questions and discuss some background (usually actually, it is about points of law) but people can be much more open without fear of 'public stalking'.
    Honestly, Twitter is great. Mailing lists are great - both open and closed have a place.
    We need to use the technology that is there rather than shy away from it. Our time will come!

  3. What an interesting topic! Speaking of technology and social work, you (and readers) might be interested to know that Alive Hospice (Nashville, TN) launched a blog earlier this year. An Alive Hospice social worker is one of the regular contributors. Her first couple of posts have been dedicated to National Social Work Month and why she (and several other Alive Hospice social workers) find their jobs so fulfilling. Interesting reading for social workers everywhere, to be sure!

    Our hope for this blog is manifold: That it will raise awareness and understanding of hospice care; pay tribute to those who have made their lives' work something special; that it will serve as a helpful resource to those who desire more information about hospice; and that it makes others more comfortable with the subject by hearing from real people who provide such sacred care.

    The hospice social worker is an important part of the team. By reading the blog, we hope readers will see that someone is not only available to provide emotional support, counseling and assistance with needs, but that there are people whose PURPOSE is to provide this very kind of assistance. Our theory is that if you know more about something, you're more comfortable with it. If you're more comfortable with it, you're more likely to ask for help in a time of need. And that's why we're here: to help in a time of great need.

  4. Blogin has tremendous potential.  I'm not too familiar with twittering. I have been a social worker for over 18 years, and I consider myself as a old school, however, I will like to know what other colleges think regarding the role of technology in the social work profession.

  5. SocialtechnoworkerMarch 8, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    Well, this is a very interersting topic.  Is here and we have to deal with it.  What is your opinion?. Where do you think technology could be more useful?