Social Networking in general was not something that I took seriously in the realm of professionalism until very recently. I always just assumed that Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. were places to connect with friends and family (and sometimes strangers) on a very basic level; sharing thoughts or pictures about every day life. However, as my first assignment in this instructional technology course, I was asked to create a Twitter account for professional use. Until about a month ago, I was the one person in my group of friends who never used Twitter. It just never really appealed to me! However, now I use it more than I ever have before because I am using it as a professional resource. You never know what’s out there until you look, and Twitter has opened my eyes to everything I have been missing out on! Sure, I have decided to bypass tweets from celebrities, athletes, and many of my friends, but I am gaining so much knowledge through following a group of fellow CMSD/SLP/”Speechies” on Twitter.
As an added bonus, Twitter is an especially great resource to find new ideas to try for yourself. For example, craft ideas, therapy ideas, and study techniques are just a few of the things I’ve come across. Probably the best thing for me on Twitter as a CMSD student has been finding certified SLP’s because everything I am experiencing as a student, they have already experienced… and then some! I find it so helpful to be able to reach out to those who have already been in my shoes. Not to mention the endless possibilities of exploring hashtags!
If you’re unfamiliar, hashtags look like this (#) and can be used to track one topic through a variety of Twitter users. For example, when I am searching for Twitter feeds that are related to speech, I often type “#slpeeps” in the search bar. Anyone who is using the hashtag #slpeeps will appear in the results, and from there I can pick and choose which users I want to follow. Hashtags can be as simple as one word or can be many words crammed together into one tag. Regardless of what you’re looking for, it’s a little piece of Twitter that can be incredibly helpful to you.
I view my awakening to Twitter as somewhat of a blessing. I was reluctant to join, but now that I am connecting with so many other professionals in the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders, I am realizing how important it is to create an online presence for yourself. So, if you’re not already on Twitter, I strongly encourage you to jump on that bandwagon and get started by following some people pertaining to the field. If you’re already on Twitter, great! I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite Twitter users, but I’m constantly finding new people to follow!
@SpeechnLanguage is the official Twitter of the Pearson Speech and Language team. They have reached out to me a few times and are very friendly and encouraging! I retweeted a great SLP craft idea from them as well!
@usedgov is the official Twitter of the US Department of Education. Since many CMSD majors involve themselves in the field of education as well, I decided to follow this feed so that I can stay updated on what’s going on in the Education Department. I have also followed my state’s education feed, and I would recommend that others do this as well! Not in the US? I’m sure there are Twitter feeds regarding education just about anywhere, so don’t fret!
@pediastaff is a great resource for those seeking employment in the CMSD field! They are constantly posting job listings!
@avocadotech, according to their bio is a “Personal Learning Network, PLN for language, speech therapy, technology, AAC, education, science news from the web.” I love following them because they are always posting interesting articles pertaining to the field.
@ASHAweb is also a great resource to keep in mind. Almost everyone in the field is aware that ASHA has a website, but I hadn’t even thought to check for them on Twitter until someone asked me to. ASHA posts not only about the organization and things going on within it, but they also retweet articles and news regarding our profession!
@USSAAC is the Twitter of the US Society for Augmentative/Alternative Communication. Like some of the Twitter users listed above, USSAAC posts really great articles, especially regarding the field of Special Education and assistive technologies that are often used by students.
There’s also a plethora of users on Twitter who create apps for speech, therapy, etc. and many of them will post special offers regarding their apps. If you’re a parent, therapist, or student, it could be beneficial to reach out to these app creators for more information about the app than is listed online. Also, if you’re looking for a discount on therapy apps, this could be the jackpot for you since, as I stated above, sometimes they do post special offers!
So, if you weren’t on Twitter before reading this post, I hope that you’re at least considering the advantages to creating one for yourself. The possibilities are near endless with this resource. It really is a great bit of technology to include within a learning community because there are people posting information about CMSD and Speech Therapy from all over the world. Whether it be information about therapy apps, a newspaper article pertaining to AAC devices, job listings, or crafty therapy ideas, Twitter can be used to find just about anything you’re looking for!