Making Child Welfare More Social - OACAS


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This presentation delivered at the 2013 Annual Local Directors’ Conference for the Province of Ontario focused on how child welfare agencies in Canada can begin to use social media to improve outcomes for young people in care.

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  • Reality:Everyone’s lives are affected by social media whether they know it or not. We don’t have a handle on it either personally or professionally. Youth in care are using social media to stay connected and they want to connect with your staff on social media.Challenge:question – What do you as leaders need to do to empower your organizations and staff to use this technology? answer – Start to gather the knowledge and skills to use social media safely.Today I want you to walk away with a better understanding of social media’s relevance and importance in your work, generally understand each of the major platforms, and have some awareness of how to have boundaries on social media, and more specifically an overview of Facebook’s privacy settings.
  • Social media is any online platform or channel for publishing and disseminating user-generated content. It’s this ability for anyone to create and disseminate content that makes social media so powerful. At the individual level social media allows us to take our environment and engage with it and shape it in a way that I find empowering and exciting. As individuals social media provides us with information curated by our peers, and most importantly, the ability to connect and form communities of support.From an organizational perspective social media is significant because it gives organizations the opportunity to be transparent and be held accountable. Because individuals can now publicly state their opinion in very visible ways, organizations get the opportunity to learn and respond, and if they choose, improve. At the organizational level we can take this accountability and transparency and empower people to engage with us and make the services we provide that much more useful and impactful. We can also help to facilitate the creation of communities of support.
  • If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this training, it’s that social media isn’t so widely used just because the technology is cool. Social media is so popular because it’s about connection, and thank goodness that’s something that all of us in this room can understand and appreciate! It’s this facilitation of connection that makes social media so popular – in addition to the fact that when we use social media our brain releases the “cuddle” hormone oxytocin because these platforms facilitate a sense of trust.What research from the Pew Internet and American Life Projects shows us is that the predominant reason people use social media is to further their close offline relationships.Adult internet users that use social media say that connections with family members and friends (both new and old) are a primary consideration in their adoption of social media tools. Roughly two thirds of social media users say that staying in touch with current friends and family members is a major reason they use these sites, while half say that connecting with old friends they’ve lost touch with is a major reason behind their use of these technologies. In addition, adults generally have positive experiences online. When social networking users were asked for one word to describe their experiences using social networking sites, “good” was the most common response (as seen in this word cloud).So people join to stay connected and continue to use social media because of the positive experiences they have.
  • Now that we have an understanding of what social media is and why it’s so powerful, and why people use it, let’s look at some data about how impactful it really is. About 63 per cent of Canadian social media users surveyed said they read Facebook posts, tweets and/or LinkedIn updates every single day. Daily Facebook usage in Canada is higher than both the global and U.S. averages. 78% percent of the population is online. Americans spend about 3.5 hours online every day to Action: Take social media seriously as a tool to deliver information, engage, and empower communities – including youth in care, bio families, and foster parents. Explore social media’s ability to help you stay connected in your personal life Get your privacy settings set up in such a way that you can feel safe about who can see what you’re posting
  • Because I knew how significant social media was to me personally, I began doing some research to see if social media helped others avoid isolation and stay connected. Here’s what I found:The average user of a social networking site has more close ties and is half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American.Facebook users have more social support, and they are much more politically engaged compared with Americans of a similar age and education.65% of teens have had an experience that made them feel good about themselves. 58% have felt closer to another person.Young adults who spend more time on Facebook than their peers are also better at showing "virtual empathy" to their online friends and such online empathy predicts real-world empathy. In addition, in a study of 63 Cornell University undergraduates, researchers found that people reported higher self-esteem after spending time on their Facebook profile than after time spent looking into a mirror (Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 2011). "Unlike a mirror, which reminds us of who we really are and may have a negative effect on self-esteem if that image does not match with our ideal, Facebook can show a positive version of ourselves," says Cornell communications professor Jeffrey Hancock, PhD, one of the study's co-authors. "We're not saying that it's a deceptive version of self, but it's a positive one.” From my perspective these positive benefits are astounding.Youth who use blogs, websites and email to discuss politics and current events become more socially engaged over time.And this is just the tip of the iceberg, this list goes on and on and you can see more of these benefits in the resource. However, I’m not trying to underplay some of the negative things that can and do happen on social media sites – the APA articles that these data came from provides a well-rounded analysis of both the benefits and the risks.
  • I’ve mapped out a lot of good things about social media and really outlined why you should care about it and learn about it, however it still feels kind of scary and overwhelming to some, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, as this picture shows!I want to normalize your experience of being a bit hesitant to use social media in child welfare practice. There are a lot of barriers personally, professionally, and organizationally. In addition, there are some basic ethical issues that we all face in our use of social media. Let’s map out some of the barriers to implementing social media.
  • So these are some of the barriers that I’ve encountered, what barriers do you all face in trying to use social media in your work?POLL EVERYWHEREI’m going to take some of what you’ve shared and brainstorm with Jim and others how to help you overcome these barriers.
  • So how do youth in care use social media?
  • I want all of you here to be able to be better at what you do, stay relevant and in-demand, and more successfully support youth in care. So I want all of you here today to start thinking more about how social media can become a part of the work you do on a day-to-day basis. To support you in this, I’m going to provide a general overview of the platforms young people are using.8 of 10 teens who are online use social networking sites — and more than 93% of those users have a Facebook account, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Teens are starting to use to Instagram and Snapchat, both photo-centric applications. Data is showing that younger teens are becoming a bit more wary of Facebook because of the older users that are joining and monitoring, however, they are still very active users.
  • In reaching youth make sure that whatever you do is mobile-optimized.
  • One of the biggest and most challenging barriers to social media use in your agencies is liability and policy so let’s tackle that barrier first. What we all need to avoid is the blind leading the blind!User guidelines help people to frame their experience engaging with your organization on social media, they help to develop expectations about what your audience will be getting from your organization on social media, and they help to ensure that everyone remains respectful and kind. This is also important from a legal perspective because you’re able to build in a disclaimer and be very clear about your intentions in utilizing social media. The other important thing to establish is an organizational social media policy. This is an inward facing policy designed to support employees in using social media to support the vision and mission of the organization. Of course you’re going to have your point person who’s managing your social media presence, but it’s also important to encourage and empower all staff – those that are interested at least – to use social media to develop professional relationships, provide better customer service, and raise awareness about the important work your organization is doing. However, in order to empower your employees you need to be crystal clear about your expectations are and support them in using social media appropriately and successfully. This can be accomplished through staff trainings, and the development of a clear policy that encourages certain types of behaviors and interactions on social media sites. Once again, this is also important from a legal perspective so that you can take action if a crisis occurs, or if an employee is struggling to use social media appropriately. Some good resources for developing a policy are mapped out in the companion resource for the webinar.
  • Get rid of the myths – just like we are on today’s webinar!Make sure to see if there are people already on staff who want to help and might even be able to provide training.
  • We don’t have time to go into exactly how to set up your privacy settings today. The important thing to know is that there are privacy settings, and you should go in and customize them!
  • One of the largest obstacles in using social media is how much time it takes. As a general rule of thumb I usually say that for a really basic social media presence it takes at least one hour per platform per week, however this is true only if you have developed a clear social media strategy and workflow. In addition, tools such as Google Alerts help with the time side of things by delivering content directly to your inbox.Last but not least, platforms such as Buffer App, Tweet Deck and Hoot Suite allow you to schedule out posts so that at the beginning of your week you can map out all of your posts and they will be posted automatically. However, when it comes to Facebook I recommend scheduling out your posts within Facebook itself.You must become a content management machine and these tools will help you do that.
  • I’m already passionate about social media. You may not be, that’s fine. The place to start is by taking social media seriously. Get on it, try it, feel the oxytocin and you too will become passionate about it as a tool for engagement. And better yet, you’ll be vibrant, relevant, and will be able to ensure job security. 
  • Making Child Welfare More Social - OACAS

    1. 1. Making Child Welfare More Social Brittany Smith, Build Social, LLC
    2. 2. What is Social Media?  Any online platform or channel for publishing and disseminating user-generated content.1  Social media allows us to engage with and empower our communities.  Connection  Access to information 1.
    3. 3. It’s About Relationships  Connection with family and friends is the primary reason.  2/3 say staying in touch is a major reason they use these sites.1  Most online adults describe their experiences using social media in positive terms.2 1. 2.
    4. 4. Take it seriously!  63% cent of Canadian social media users read social media status updates every day. 1  Daily Facebook usage in Canada is higher than both the global and U.S. averages.2 1. 2. ge+monthly/8785410/story.html 3. 4.  72% of U.S. online adults are social networking site users.3  95% of all U.S. teens ages 12-17 are online and 80% of those teens use social media.4
    5. 5. Positive Benefits  The average user has more close ties and is ½ as likely to be socially isolated.1  65% of teens have had an experience that made them feel good about themselves. 58% have felt closer to another person.2  Young adults who spend more time on Facebook are better at showing ―virtual empathy.‖3  Youth who use blogs, websites and email to discuss politics and current events become more socially engaged over time.4 1. 2. 3. 4.
    6. 6. Panic is Normal! 1. “Moral panic is a common reaction to new forms of communication.”1
    7. 7. Barriers  Lack of time and staff support  Knowledge and skills  Finding content  Knowing where to start  Confidentiality issues  Policy  Liability
    8. 8. Youth in Care & Social Media  Connection  Siblings  Bio parents  Foster siblings  Friends from previous placements  Ability to tell their story  Support from peers  Health information
    9. 9. Which Platforms?  Photo- and video- centric applications  Snapchat  Facebook  Instagram  Vine  Tumblr
    10. 10. Youth & Internet Access  One in four U.S. teens are ―cell-mostly‖ internet users — far more than the 15% of adults who are cell- mostly. Among teen smartphone owners, half are cell-mostly.1  You must be mobile! 1.
    11. 11. Guidelines & Policies  Develop user guidelines/policies for youth and young adults.  In partnership with young people  Focus on empowerment  Develop an internal social media policy for staff.  Crisis plan.
    12. 12. Social Media Trainings  Train staff on why youth use social media and how they’re using it.  Train staff on the social media policy, basics of social media.  Train youth on the risks of benefits of social media – make it fun!  Ask youth what they want to know.
    13. 13. Privacy Settings
    14. 14. Social Media Team
    15. 15. Content Management Machine Buffer App Tweet Deck Hoot Suite
    16. 16. Ending Thoughts  Learn about social media by using it yourself.  Remember, the point is to connect.  Take one small step at a time – think strategically.  When in doubt, ask for help.
    17. 17. Questions? @ebkcd2 503-477-9221