In my experience, social workers, community activists, and social work academics tend to be late adopters of new technologies. Nor do social work educators seem to be teaching social work students about this important area of practice knowledge. Last year, I surveyed my class of third year social work students about their knowledge of social media and new technologies. I expected these young people to be quite internet savvy, but they were unable to answer most of the questions. (I concluded that I am a geek among social workers.)
According to new media guru Seth Godin, online community organizer is one of the fastest growing jobs of the future (see his job board). And David Jones, the President of the International Federation of Social Workers, said:
There is no doubt that social networking websites are changing the way people relate to each. Social workers must keep up with these developments. The relationship between new technologies and social work practice will be one of the themes in the 2010 world conference in Hong Kong.
Why don’t you try taking my online survey to assess your own knowledge and use of new technologies?
I invite you to post your comments below about this issue and the survey.
© Silvia Straka and A Just Society, 2008
I agree that this is an area that social work should be far more interested in that it is. I am amazed at the lack of interest in new technology and new media of other social workers. Really, it is a group of people who could do a lot of ground work on effecting social change and creating forums for discussion and debate virtually. In some ways, perhaps the technology forums are seen as ‘the other’.
I’m also considered a geek among social work colleagues although by no means geeky by more general comparisons! I just wish the people I know and work with didn’t see technology as an enemy..