Extending The Conversation

Extending The Conversation

How to Use Social Media to Enhance Your Practice

By Marina London

September/October 2010

Overall, therapists don't need to worry about turning into techno-geeks wearing thumb splints from compulsive overuse of hand-held Internet devices: in general, the cyber-world isn't really our thing. Still, even as late-starters with the new communication technologies, most clinicians are now comfortable enough with computers and the Internet to type up session notes on their desktops or laptops, do e-mail, read online media, consult Google, and use billing and scheduling software. Many even have their own websites, or at least think they really should. They may even know about "optimizing" their websites and are quite proud of themselves for it. How much farther can they go?

A lot farther, as it turns out. We're in the throes of yet another tech revolution, opening up a vast, new world of interactive "social media" outlets—the most dominant of which are blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. And whether you know it or not, you definitely want to be part of this.

Even though the concept of Web 2.0 (aka "social media") wasn't even coined until 2004, the growth in popularity of these platforms has been staggering. There are more than 200 million blogs. More than 30 billion YouTube videos are viewed every month. Twitter passed the 20-billion-Tweets mark on July 31, 2010. If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth largest in the world!

Social media outlets don't just passively present a message to people who may stumble upon it in the course of a…

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