How midwives use Facebook
When you look around Facebook you realise midwives are all over the place. 'Midwifery Today' has over 10,000 fans, The American College of Nurse-Midwives has 2,000 fans and the Australian College of Midwives has 400 group members. Even the Virtual International Day of the Midwife has 870 fans. And don't forget the special interest groups that have midwifery association such as I Support Every Australian Womans Right To Choose Where She Gives Birth group which has nearly 5,000 members and ICAN with 1,300 fans.
Using Facebook for good...
Clearly there is huge potential to use Facebook to disseminate information, network and organize campaigns. If Facebook is the one social media tool that midwives engage with on a regular basis, professional organizations such as the New Zealand College of Midwives and the International Confederation of Midwives cannot afford to ignore it.
At the same time, there is an unfortunate propensity for people to forget themselves on Facebook. We've all heard the stories about people being sacked because of what they have said on Facebook, and I for one are always reminding my children that future employers may check their Facebook profiles before they employ them.
According to the New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM), there is a 'mushrooming' of incidents where midwives have been talking inappropriately about women and colleagues on Facebook and similar forums. This has the unfortunate effect of negating the good work that is done on Facebook and giving it a bad name to midwives' professional bodies such as NZCOM.
Ultimately, Facebook is a communication tool just like any other online communication tool...and is only as good as the people who use it.
Tips for using Facebook
In my next post I'll pass on some tips about how to enjoy Facebook but keep out of trouble on a professional level.
What tips for using Facebook would you like to suggest?