Yesterday, I was sent an email by someone associated with Age UK to draw attention to the information on their website for carers. I get a number of requests from various sources every week but having checked out the information, it is definitely worth sharing and I will be adding the site to my ‘resource list’ both on this site and at work – and on that note, I’ll be trying to update the links on the ‘more links’ tab so am happy to take suggestions of sites that people have found useful.
Next week is the Community Care Live event at the Business Design Centre in Islington. It’s a conference over two days every Spring that us aimed quite specifically at people who are involved and work in social care and social work. I’ve been attending this event most years since I started studying social work and am a great fan.
As a free event, it is pretty much unparalleled in terms of access to useful and interesting debates, workshops and networking opportunities for social workers and social work students.
I’m only able to attend on one day but I hope to feedback some of the information gathered about the sessions I attend and will be following closely those sessions that I’m not able to attend. I expect there to be great coverage over at Community Care.
Finally, because I haven’t done it for a while – one of my favourite things about writing a blog is seeing some of the terms people use to find my site – some intentional (I think I’ve seen every possible spelling of Munro possible) , some with familiar difficulties and some just.. well, who knows!
Here are a few from the last couple of weeks (spelling retained as original)
‘is it possible to feel good about my being a social worker and imbarassed at the same time’
‘explain why i cant login to my nhs computer via a council network’ (oh, I feel your pain)
‘hairy arm pitted women’ (?!?)
‘who benfited from the nhs 1990 community care act’ (Southern Cross)
‘wonder drug for alzhimers’ (would be nice)
‘are hampster dagerus’ (no, they are wonderful!)
‘sex monsters’ (I usually get at least one of these per week – I love the internet, some things are so predictable!)
My most popular search terms after the usual ones of the blog name and people searching for ‘social work blog’ or ‘british social worker blog’ or other ‘expected’ ones are ‘no roads in the city of London’ or ‘which city has no roads’ or variations on ‘gifts for social workers’.
Just to end, I noticed as I was looking through the search terms that yesterday I passed 200,000 unique ‘hits’ on my blog.
Wow. Thank you to everyone who pops by and visits. I really do appreciate the support!
I’ve had a ‘technology’ type post brewing inside me for a while and although I can’t promise this is the best researched and planned post, I thought it might be useful to share some of my practical uses and experiences with different social networks and sites and how I have used them. I realised though as I started writing my ‘definitive’ post on how I use and have learnt from ‘social media’ that the post was turning into a dissertation so I thought it best to break it down into more ‘manageable’ chunks.
So as a result of my overrunning initial post, I’ll be writing a series of blog posts which will explore my use of different social media with a particular regard of the implications for my practice as a social worker.
Part 1 – Long Form ‘traditional’ Blogs (WordPress.com/Blogger/Wordpress self-hosted)
Part 2 – Social Bookmarking and Tumble/Quick Blogging(Delicious/Pinboard/Posterous/Tumblr)
Part 3 – Twitter and Microblogging
I’m intending to publish on a weekly basis on Mondays with the first part tomorrow – although as always and because I operate this site individually, I reserve the right to change schedules if something comes up!
I hope people will add and develop my ideas as I present them. I am very specifically writing about my personal experiences rather than definitive guides with the hope that it will encourage more people to take up some of the tools we have between us to ‘make a difference’ and make our collective voices heard in the government and media circles so that the fight for social justice and an understanding and appreciation of social workers and the work we do takes place on our own terms.
We are lucky to live in times when we have the means for taking up these fights on our own terms rather than being reliant on others to provide the tools and the ‘media window’ for us
I’ll add the links here as they ‘show up’.
Community Care reports this week on a comment made by Julie Jones, the Chief Executive of SCIE (Social Care Institute of Excellence) compelling social workers to ‘speak up and speak out’ in order to put across their positive messages to counter some of the negativity that the mainstream media and general public seem to hold in regard to the profession.
My general argument (and not just mine) has been that our employers would not welcome direct contact with the press – indeed – we have been instructed to push any media contact request via our press office. This was instilled in us during our initial inductions in the authority and it is hard to shake free from that mindset.
SCIE is positioning itself to be the ‘first point of call for the media’ seeking news stories and sources relating to social work and social care and as such, they are establishing an online TV station particularly devoted to Social Work and Social Care stories. It’s an interesting and potentially useful initiative to use different sources of media to promote positive news as well as training initiatives for the sector.
Conversely though, I can’t help but be marginally concerned by the ‘outing’ of Night Jack – an esteemed anonymous police blogger – whose anonymity was blasted by The Times after a court ruling that the injunction the blogger had taken against the Times revealing his identity could not stand as the judge said
“I do not accept that it is part of the court’s function to protect police officers who are, or think they may be, acting in breach of police disciplinary regulations from coming to the attention of their superiors,” Eady added.
The implications for anonymous bloggers is obvious – there is no protection in the law. It has served as a short, sharp shock for me anyway.
Nightjack closed his blog, deleted it and has, indeed, been disciplined by his employers.
I try to vary my content between the general and the specific but have no doubt that were someone who works directly with me to come across this site, they would, quite quickly be able to ascertain my identity. I am not as careful as I could be.
For me though, it has provided a wonderful way to bypass the ‘press office’ of the local authority and to speak about the work I do and how I do it in a more direct manner. I hope to provide some insight into social workers who do not necessarily meet the media stereotype. I would argue that writing has improved my practice, knowledge base and effectiveness as certainly, the scope for reflection, thought and comment has increased.
I am torn between being more careful, being less careful and just packing in altogether. I doubt the ‘packing in altogether’ option would be viable. I am now accustomed to writing, indeed, I missed it when I was on holiday – but to use a tired old cliche, it is food for thought.
I think there is a place for anonymous blogging – and although I have to say, I never expected there to be much protection as anonymity is and can be very fragile, the Nightjack lesson shown to prove how much more careful it is necessary to be.
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Tags: anonymous blog, blog, british social work, Chief executive officer, eady, julie jones, local government, losing anonymity, nightjack, risk of blogging anonymously, scie, scie tv, social care institute of excellence, social work, the times, uk, work-related blogging
David Clark, the Chief Executive of SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers) has made a splash by dipping his toe into the world of blogging by tackling the challenges of social work in the face of a lack of political support.
To put it more plainly, he explains that some of the problems of recruitment to social work and in particular social work in children’s services may have been exacerbated by the thoughtless and attention-grabbing words of the government and her representatives saying
Anybody who witnessed the disgusting spectacle of politicians pillorying the social work profession after the death of Baby P cannot help but be revolted. Pandering to certain sections of the media, politicians of varying political hues were happy to put the boot in to social workers at every level. This preparedness to opine, wholly unencumbered by facts, shows politicians at their worst, and statements like “we must ensure that it never happens again” display politicians at their most stupid.
From my infinitely more lowly position, I’d applaud him for saying so. The government, and Ed Balls in particular, have been overly keen to dismiss any of the real issues that have led to difficulties and lack of confidence in the systems that exist and instead lay the blame for failures in the child protection systems at the door of individual social workers and social work managers – when in fact, some of the policy-driven changes must account for the over-administrative nature of the role.
Of course, while agreeing wholeheartedly with him, it is good to see the support come from a source more likely to garner attention.