Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Workplace Wednesday | Facebook groups

A few weeks ago I told a parent that her homework for the week was to quit Facebook. She was falling into the comparison trap, and while I half-joking, I was definitely half-serious. I think Facebook distorts reality and causes all of us to compare our everyday life to all of the best moments that everyone else chooses to share. For parents of children with special needs, these comparisons are only magnified.

So what was the mom's response? "I've seriously thought about it, but the groups are so good."

Which got me to thinking. Facebook groups can be a wealth of information, as well as a way to connect to others in a similar situation. I imagine this is especially helpful for parents who have children with rare conditions, and who might not meet anyone locally who is in the same boat as them. That's one way Facebook (and social media in general) can be awesome.

Are you a member of any Facebook groups? Lately, I seem to only check Facebook to see what's going on in the groups I'm in. In my non-OT life, I've joined Facebook groups for a local running club and a group for my family (where we can share photos and stories without sharing with every person we've ever met).

In the therapy world, these are the Facebook groups that I belong to:

Therapy Bloggers: This is a closed group for physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists who have blogs. While I already followed many of these bloggers blogs, it's been a great way to connect.
Early Intervention Occupational Therapists: This is a closed group for occupational therapists practicing in early intervention. The field of early intervention can feel a bit isolated at times, so this is a great way to connect with others.
Pediatric Occupational Therapists: This is a closed group open to all pediatric occupational therapists. This is a very large group and while I don't actively participate in this one as much, I do check it for information and resources periodically.

A word of caution when using Facebook groups: even though these are "closed groups" there is no way to really make sure that only therapists are members of the groups, so always be careful with the kind of questions you are putting out there. For more sensitive or controversial topics, I recommend using the members-only forums on AOTA's OT Connections.

Are you a member of any Facebook groups? What are your thoughts on Facebook? Do you think these social media groups are good for connecting with others? Or do they just make you feel overwhelmed?

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