‘New Media’ and Social Work


One of the main reasons I starting writing this is because I wanted to be reading a blog by a social worker in the UK who was currently practising as a social worker. Doing the kind of things that I was doing.

I’m pretty sure I’d have been more than happy to chime in and comment. But I couldn’t find any. So I started writing the kind of things I’d want to read about. It’s very selfish really – but very good for reflecting on some of the work as it happens. I think it’s actually something that helps me manage some of the frustrations as well as I have an outlet.

There are a few US based sites though which, the more I read and discover, make me realise that actually, though some of the details, issues and practices change, the underlying structures and reasons why, don’t really.

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The first one I found was Blue Jean Social Work written by a US social worker who reflects on issues and work she (mm.. I’m assuming she is a she.. I’m not sure it is explicitly stated!) manages to draw very eloquently on the difficulties, challenges and sometimes, the joys that the work throws up.

Then, of course, Prin’s Links for Social Work Students which is well-established compendium of resources! I honestly don’t know how she has the time! But it’s much more than a list of sites – it is a personal journey and log where the character very much comes shining through – and intermingled with the social work links are links to music and my personal favourites which are the Mississippi facts and figures – for me, anyway, it’s a door into a different world – some familiar due to the work-based link but some completely different!

Amy’s Life in Brief relates Amy’s tales of a return to Social Work after a career break – it’s a log of some of the issues and dilemmas she faces in the work that she is undertaking. There is a more personal ring to her writing – certainly than mine anyway, and for that there is a lot of heart there.

Diary of a Burned Out Social Worker is a blog I found more recently. I have been enjoying reading and getting an insight into the life and times of the author. She (again, are we noting a pattern here!) brings a lot of her family into it and some of the work-based scenarios are intermingled. It’s funny sometimes to see how similar a lot of the work is, at the core, regardless of legal and cultural differences.

I only discovered Trench Warfare from Reas Kriocowl, the other day, or rather, I should say, she discovered me! But her observations have made me chuckle – no, actually laugh – more than a few times already. I recognise a lot of the conversations and interactions in the work I do possibly because of the setting she works in.

I’ve also come across Awake and Dreaming which has an interesting perspective from a newly qualified social worker who has just started the path towards..er.. enlightenment! Well, however it comes across she strikes me as having a good handle on reflection and thoughtfulness in any case which serve her extremely well in her career (I hope that doesn’t sound patronising – it isn’t meant to!).

And LA Lady, writing Real Life in Alabama who is a social work student, currently studying for her MA. Who reminds me that possibly my life revolves too much around work – some of those pictures can make me feel insanely jealous (beach, cake… )

edit (sorry.. I mixed up genders. I hope no offence was caused because it was most definitely not intended – not that being male is offensive.. I’d better stop before I get myself into more trouble)

Everyone needs Therapy. Initially I wasn’t sure if the name was ironic or not! But the quality of writing is very high. I have found the content too – dealing with both the personal and the professional.

Those are just a few of the blogs I’ve found written and compiled by social workers that I have enjoyed reading.

Then there are the blogs at Community Care.

This is a slightly different perspective as the are about social work related issues more than personal experiences.

The Social Work Blog does what it says on the tin really! Usually an issue is picked which relates to social work (in the UK!) and considered – and it can trawl up some of the more interesting or unusual pieces that might be more easily missed in the print edition.

Mad World has a similar role, but specifically concentrating on Mental Health policy and news and usually picks up on a few snippets to highlight.

Actually, my inspiration for this post came as I was listening to the Community Care Podcast which I’ve found to be useful and would definitely recommend. I know I have the The Social Work Podcast listed on the sidebar but it’s a bit drier to be honest, and having a focus that is so far removed from my own experiences, doesn’t seem to ‘speak to me’ personally. There is a more academic, therapy-based outlook.

Whereas with the blogs, I find reading about different systems interesting and thought-provoking – with podcasts in some way, I prefer to be able to relate me. Possibly the influence of having radio as a background pretty much throughout my life.

Personally I’ve found the process of writing and reading what others have written to be immensely valuable in terms of personal as well as, possibly, professional development (that waits to be seen really as sometimes I wonder if it makes me more likely to rant.. um.. I mean express my views forcefully).

Possibly because I’ve tended to be one of the younger members of the teams I’ve worked in – although that becomes more likely to change with each passing year (!) I haven’t seen much willingness to embrace technology in general in my workplace, let alone ‘new’ media.

Anyway, I just wanted to give a snapsnot of some of the links (and blogs I hadn’t got round to linking but had intended to) that relate specifically to social work and social workers – and if anyone becomes aware of any others, I’d be glad to know!

12 thoughts on “‘New Media’ and Social Work

  1. I used to have two blogs, one of which I anonymised and used solely to talk (irreveraently) about work. I often find we social workers can be a bit po faced and precious and basically, I wanted to let off steam. It was very therapeutic and a bit mean spirited, funny, too, judging by some of the comments and e mails I got and very, very cathartic. Then someone alerted one of my colleagues to it, luckily, not one of the ones I had savaged, and I killed it, stone dead.

    I tried to write a tamer version of the same thing but it didn’t really work for me. My main blog is going strong though and I often include work or social policy related stuff on it, although not very often.

  2. I can imagine how a less censored version might be more cathartic, Pete! I have purposely tried not to go into too much detail of people at and around work and I’m sure it makes the content less interesting than it would otherwise be but I guess I wanted to balance with the work I’m doing at the moment. I would guess most of my colleagues wouldn’t dream of touching a computer outside the work-setting judging by the difficulties some have operating Outlook, but you just never know 🙂
    And thanks again, Simeon!

  3. Thanks for adding me in your post! I do say, you’ve found a few more than I have. Shame on me. I think I’m going to shuffle things a bit on my end and just add feeds to mine so I can have all of these at my fingertips. And it’s all thanks your work! Bravo! You must have googled differently than I, because when I first started poking around, Prin’s was the only personal one I could find (by that I mean, written by a person and not by a person on behalf of an agency or organization. Those, methinks, are just plain mundane.)

  4. Don’t worry about the level of interest, cb, this blog has quickly become required reading for me. Look, I’m even visiting outside of working hours!

  5. Thanks for the shout out. I never realized how many other blogs were out there! You have become required reading for both me and LA Lady (who by the way also appreciates that shout out, but right now she has her nose in a text book or so I have been told.)

  6. Thanks for reading my blog. I like yours, too and I’ll come visit. and link over here. But I have to tell you the truth. I’m a she, not a he. It’s okay, right?

  7. Oops.. I’m so sorry 😦 I don’t know why I would have got that in my brain! I think sometimes when you have a perception of someone and then even though you wrote yesterday about being a bride.. well, I am sorry again. I’ll edit! (and thanks for putting me right!).

  8. Thanks, a bit belatedly, for the kind mention. I started blogging mostly as a personal outlet, without really thinking about the community aspect of reflecting on social work. I have loved finding others who do similar work and write about it (or, more accurately, having them find me). Thanks for your regular visits to my blog and your great comments! Gradually, I’m starting to get more connected to the rest of the bloggers out there 🙂

  9. Thanks bj – without getting too far into a flatter-fest as I mentioned above, yours was the first social worker blog I found and it definitely inspired me and has provided me with a lot of thought – not least the realisation that although the systems are different as are the contexts of the work – some of the realities and issues faced at work on an internal level anyway, are not that different!

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