Social Media: as an Advocate how do you use it?
By Al Condeluci, Ph.D.
To Silence or Not to Silence Cell Phones? That’s the Question!!
Often when I am invited to do a presentation, the person introducing me will ask the audience to turn off, or silence their cell phones. I appreciate the courtesy, but will often reverse this request and ask people to keep their cell phones on. This then allows anyone who is inspired during the course of my presentation to take a photo of a slide I am using, or to post/tweet on social media information they are hearing.
Now most of us these days use some form of social media, and we use these sites to share, or compare, or rant, or recommend. And, for most of us, there are three major platforms that often serve this purpose – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Of course, there are Instagram, Snapchat, and others, but the three mentioned above seem to be the most common in my spheres.
Social Media as a Platform for Advocacy
For advocates who are looking to promote a cause or situation, it is important to understand how posting something impactful that you are hearing at a conference, or experiencing within the community, is useful and powerful. In the work I do, I try to use all three, but there are some key differences between the platforms that we should understand as Social Media Advocates.
Facebook, which seems to be the most dominant platform, is primarily a social outlet. This is where we mostly see what people are eating, birthday photos of a relative, or travel photos from exotic trips, etc.. Certainly an advocate can post something informative or instructive on this platform, but the issue is often lost in the social clutter.
LinkedIn is considered to be a vocational site where one looks to find a job or sales leads. People are posting things that promote the business, or information about the company or products. As an advocate for your social cause this platform can be used, but again, the message might get caught up in the vocational clutter.
Twitter is unlike Facebook or LinkedIn because it doesn’t ask you to “friend” or “connect” with anyone. Certainly any of us reading this Blog post know that the President of the United States is a “Twitter addict,” using this media frequently to advocate for one thing or another. Most of his Tweets appear to be attacks and/or put-downs, but they are still effective in identifying what he is advocating, even if they seem to be bully-isms or biases. For me, what I really like about Twitter is that it allows you to follow anyone in whom you are interested. This feature, a primary difference, makes Twitter, I believe, a more powerful advocacy platform.
Two vital points in using Social Media . . .
- Get onto a Social Media Platform – like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.
- Advocate for those issues about which you are passionate.
As a disability advocate, I post about . . .
- movements that are progressive and champion the inclusion of all people
- people that inspire, educate, or share aspects that are instructive to my advocacy role.
I have some more thoughts about this topic which you can read by going to my website where I have posted other blogs. http://www.alcondeluci.com/new-blog/.
In the meantime, get active on Social Media and share your passions with the world!
About the Author
Al Condeluci, Ph.D., has been an advocate and catalyst for building community since 1970. He emerged as a national leader in understanding social culture and a consultant on human services and community issues. He speaks annually to national and international audiences reaching some 15,000 people each year. His books have won accolades and awards for their content and are used in classroom settings at many colleges, universities and in-service settings. Dr. Condeluci is associated with the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work and School of Health and Rehabilitation Science and Robert Morris University Graduate School of Business. In these academic roles, Dr. Condeluci teaches, supervises students, and serves as advisor and consultant.
Dr. Condeluci organized the Interdependence Network (I.N.) in 2008 – a collaborative network organization that focuses on relationships and coordinated effort between disability-based human service organizations in the United States and Canada. It explores the concept of social capital and community engagement and their roles in the field of rehabilitation in the lives of people with disabilities. Interdependence Network’s purpose is to provide the rehabilitation community with a central repository of information in order to research, develop, evaluate and disseminate successful ways that the Interdependent paradigm of social capital can be embraced.
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, who still lives there, Dr. Condeluci earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Youngstown State University, a Master’s Degree in Social Work and his Ph.D. in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. He has been with Community Living and Support Services (CLASS) since 1973, currently serving as the CEO. This agency, through multiple corporations, works towards a building community where everyone belongs (inclusion).