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Social media is an important and widely used technology among youth and young adults. It gives young people the opportunity to stay connected, explore facts of themselves, and engage with the world. For these reasons it is important that child welfare agencies understand the value and importance of social media, as well as how to use it safely and effectively in their work. This session will provide an introduction to how youth and young adults use social media, how professionals can start to use social media safely in their work with youth and young adults, and how youth and young adults can use social media safely in their lives.

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  • The real question that I’m sure all of you have is, why is this person qualified to tell us about social media as it relates to child welfare? Well there are two real reasons, 1. I’m only 27, but because I get older every year the other reason I give is that I’m obsessed with social media and do a lot of advocacy work in Oregon around foster care.More than anything, the goal of today’s webinar is to get you energized about using social media in child welfare practice. Social media is confusing, complicated and high stakes but it holds a great deal of opportunity for connection and social change and is an integral part of teen life. I’m going to over what social media is, how widespread it is, why people use it, what the positive benefits of using it are, and how youth in care use it.Then I’m going to map out what some of the obstacles to using social media are and one by one we’re going to go through those obstacle and I’ll point you to some tools and strategies that can help you overcome those barriers. And if I leave anything out we’ll do our best to address it in the Q & A.Without further ado, let’s move on to defining what social media is.
  • 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 and so social. Social media is a powerful tool from on organizational perspective because it allows us to have transparency and accountability in a way we’ve never had before, in particular with large organizations and government agencies that previously have been inaccessible. Every individual can now publicly state their opinion, whether positive or negative, and because of the public nature of the space, that opinion is often listened to and taken seriously. Social media allows us as individuals to take our environment and engage with it and shape it in a way that I find empowering and exciting. 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. The other aspect of social media that I love is the access to information that we now have at our fingertips. For youth in care, some of the information that matters the most is information about health, so that they can make better decisions and get help and support when they need it. It’s this access to connection and information that makes social media so popular – in addition to the fact that when we use social media our brain releases the “cuddle” hormone oxytocin!
  • Now that we’re all oriented to the same understanding of social media I’d like to talk about the diverse audience that we have in the room today.We have four types of people in the room: young adults, adult allies, professionals and DFS staff. From my experience, each group feels very differently about social media and will therefore approach social media and sustainability with different attitudes. Personally at the age of 27 I belong in the millenials group, in other words, if you tell me that I spend too much time online or try and take away my smartphone I’ll poke your eyes out and run away with my mobile device as fast as I can, and then do a Google search to learn about the consequences of my behavior. My connection to the internet and my social network through social media means everything to me! But that’s not true of everyone here so I’m going to map out my understanding of how each of you might approach social media and then map out some ways that we can all work together during this meeting to use social media in new ways that support sustainability for our projects.If what I have up on the screen does or doesn’t resonate with you, let me know! I want this to be interactive.Do a poll of the room?Define each audience:Young AdultsAdult AlliesProfessionalsDFS Staff
  • One in four teens (ages 12-17) are “cell-mostly” internet users — far more than the 15% of adults who are cell-mostly. Among teen smartphone owners, half are cell-mostly.
  • Regardless of your personal feelings about social media, it’s reaching a significant portion of the population and is here to stay, so it’s worth learning about.My goal is to share my passion about social media and provide you with some tools that will help you to feel empowered to begin using social media in your organization so that you can better serve the youth, families, and communities you work with.The most important thing to take away from this training is to be strategic in your use of social media. The best way to ensure you give your social media presence the time it deserves is to take social media seriously, and to learn about it. As you see, Americans spend a lot of their time online and, in particular, on social networking sites. So it behooves your organization to meet your audience where they’re at.78% percent of the population is online.Americans spend about 3.5 hours online every day
  • Now I want to talk a little bit about why people use social media. There are a lot of reasons people join social networking sites, including to connect with family and friends, to meet new people, and to connect with others that have shared interests and hobbies. What research from the Pew Internet and American Life Projects show us however, is that the predominant reason people use social media is to further their close offline relationships. Adult internet users that also 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. On the next slide we’ll go over some of those positive benefits.
  • 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.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.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.
  • 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.
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    1. 1. Now Loading… 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. Who’s in the Room?  Young Adults – Millenials, Digital Natives  Adult Allies  Professionals – therapists, educators, community providers  DFS staff – caseworkers, Judges, attorneys, prosecu tors
    4. 4. Millenials  You take away my phone and I’ll kill you!  I’m using Facebook, Instagram , Tumblr, and Snapchat.  I access most of the information I care about on a mobile device.
    5. 5. Adult Allies  What are young adults doing on social media?  Snapchat is about sexting right?!  Young adults spend too much on devices.  What’s the best way to communicate with the young people in my life?
    6. 6. Professionals  I may or may not understand the value of this technology as it relates to my work.  Social media is unsafe because it’s so public, and can harm young adults.  Social media allows for cyberbullying.
    7. 7. DFS Staff  Social what?...  I don’t have time for this.  Do we have an organizational policy in place?  Are there any liability issues here?  This sounds awesome! How do we keep everyone safe?
    8. 8. Take it seriously!  For every hour online, Americans spend 16 minutes on social media.1  Half of all American adults are using social networking sites.2 1. spend-16-minutes-on-social-networks/ 2. other- social-networks 3. 4.  72% of online adults are social networking site users.3  95% of all teens ages 12-17 are online and 80% of those teens use social media.4
    9. 9. 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.
    10. 10. 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.
    11. 11. Which Platforms?  Photo- and video- centric applications  Snapchat  Facebook  Instagram  Vine
    12. 12. Youth & Internet Access  One in four 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.
    13. 13. 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.
    14. 14. Social Media Trainings  Train staff on why youth and young adults use social media and how they’re using it.  Train staff on the social media policy, basics of social media (privacy settings).  Train young people on the risks of benefits of social media – make it fun!  Ask youth what they want to know.
    15. 15. Questions? @ebkcd2 503-477-9221