Occupational Therapy

Social Media In The OT Profession-Bill Wong OTD, OTR/L

Hello my OT friends, professors, fellow classmates as well as those supporting me throughout my occupational therapy schooling! Today on my blog, I will be sharing with you my very first guest post. Fellow OT and friend, Bill Wong, is talented not only in the OT world but in the world of social media as well. I bring you a piece he wrote where he shares how social media can be beneficial for OT students and practitioners; he even shares some secrets on how to make the most out of your social media accounts!

In today’s digital era, social media is almost a necessity for OT students and

practitioners across the globe- whether it is for their professional development,

advocacy for the OT profession, and/or connections with friends and family. When I

meet some OT students and practitioners for the first time in person, they may

mistaken me as social media marketer instead of an occupational therapist. After all,

my social media style is atypical for an OT student or practitioner- an extremely

huge network with relatively frequent posts. As a result, I always generated mind

boggling social media analytics statistics at OT conference. This year alone, I

generated more than 10 million unique impressions on Twitter for the AOTA

conference hashtag and more than 7 million unique impressions for the CAOT

conference hashtag. Considering I at least doubled the runner up’s total for each

conference, I was often asked how I can do that. So, I am here to reveal my secrets.

  1. I network in a way that is slightly less aggressive than job recruiters. I follow

pinners who have OT boards on Pinterest. I utilize my notoriety in OT to

attempt to connect with peers on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. As

someone who is also a disability self advocate, I knew from that perspective

that a giant online network is the most efficient way to spread my message.

2.  Similar to marketing, location is very important. You want to find platforms

where the peers you want to connect are. Considering many of us have busy

lives, this is one way to economize time on social media. If you don’t know,

conduct informal needs assessment first and then select platforms based on

what you learned and how much time you can afford to spend online daily.

3. Online presence is something can’t grow overnight. It takes one day at a time,

one connection at a time, and one occasion at a time. You must find a happy

medium on your engagement level. But you also need to continue to achieve

offline so that people don’t see that you are not much beyond smoke and

mirrors.

4. When designing your professional account (or a mixed account like I do), you

must think about your accounts’ primary objectives. For my Facebook and

Twitter accounts, for example, I primarily wanted to network with OT’s

across the world because not only I believe in AOTA’s Centennial Vision in

being globally connected, but also the fact that I want to let the global OT

community know that I am a viable resource in case they encounter OT

students with autism during their careers.

5. Similar to how OT instructors are supposed to respond to emails, I adopt a

similar policy for my primary social media accounts in that I tried my best to

respond to posts within 24-48 hours. A quick response time is a good way to

generate a first impression that you are aware of social media happenings.

6. Everyone is different, but we also should find a happy medium on original

content and sharing others’ content. Having our original content is important

because we must identify our individual voices online. At the same time,

given that we are in the OT profession, we also must share to others what we

know about OT in form of sharing content relevant to OT.

7. Check your accounts relatively frequently. Sometimes your accounts might

magically unfollow someone without knowing it on certain social media

platforms.

8. Accept that not everyone will like you or your social media style. I have

numerous people saying that my Twitter account is too hyperactive at times.

However, I won’t change much from it if I have lots to post because I know

what I am posting most of the time is professional. Moreover, I feel it is

important to share what we learned (particularly at conferences) to the

greater world so that our consumers can know about what we learned while

advertise to our colleagues about possibly attending these conferences in the

future. In addition, considering I have numerous connections with colleagues

across the globe, constant networking is necessary. Finally, I purposely

comment on #futureot’s and #futureota’s posts on Twitter because I believe

words of wisdom or encouragement can sometimes make a huge difference,

as it had numerous times in my career so far.

I believe social media will play a bigger role in OT leadership as time goes on. Aside

from advocacy to the public about OT, it can be a valuable tool for OT leaders to be

closer to people they are serving in the OT profession. After all, I believe it is today’s

way to add value to OT associations’ membership base and encourage more

members to be involved in it.

Thank you Bill for not only sharing your wisdom, but letting me share this piece on my blog!

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