From the President

 

Social Media: A Driving Force for the Next Generation

By Phillis J. Sloyer, RN, PhD, FAHM, FAAP

While I admit I am a baby boomer, I am not a baby when it comes to the use of technology (although I really like my colleagues to believe I am clueless). Social media was a driving force in recent elections and it is a driving force for the next generation of professionals who will work in the maternal and child health field. I recall in my doctoral program, taking a course on globalization and was struck by how easy it is to communicate with my colleagues across the world. Remember the cost of a long distance call and the reluctance to spend too many minutes on the phone (especially if you were paying the bill)? Today, I sit in meetings and watch people Twitter continuously. It happens in just about every field.  

I find the tools to be a great way for individuals to communicate and support each other on a variety of topics. It isn't the wave of the future. It is here and it is extensively used in all walks of life. Facebook is used for some of the youth development and mentoring strategies. It is used for families to communicate with other families. While there are significant advantages to the wireless airwaves and the messages we send over them, there are also some issues we have to deal with or we will create a form of social isolation. For example, we speak about health literacy, but there is also e-literacy and I frankly listened to a mother who set an example for what we don't want to do through wireless communications. Messages can and will be misinterpreted and some of those are critical to our well-being. My colleagues in the child protection field will also caution us about the use of this technology for exploitation. So, I urge you to think about all of the ways it can benefit you and at the same time proceed with some caution and remember cultural competent and literate messages.  

From my galaxy to yours!