Facebook or LinkedIn

I have noticed that LinkedIn has been becoming more popular in occupational therapy circles recently, as people seemed to be inviting me to connect with them, and I could see that they were new to LinkedIn but getting involved quickly.  My contacts rose sharply in the past few months from about 20 to over 80 contacts, with little or no effort on my part.

So, what is the difference between Facebook and LinkedIn?

For me Facebook is a place to be social with friends, family and colleagues.  In Facebook I connect and share information relevant to occupational therapy but I also share information about my home and leisure life. I have my own profile and am a member of many groups that represent the many facets of my life.  I am able to “like” people, places and products, and share photos of life as it happens…


LinkedIn is different from Facebook in many ways.  Firstly, LinkedIn was set up as a business networking tool, not a social networking tool, so it is designed for users to input information about their professional self. Secondly, LinkedIn has strict rules about connecting to others.  The program asks you how you know a person before it lets you connect with them, ie: it is not designed for you to “friend a stranger”, it is designed for you to connect with people you already know, or to be introduced to people with whom you have mutual connections.  Thirdly, LinkedIn is not interested in “what you are doing right now”, its purpose is to be an online space to develop a profile, where you can upload resources you have developed, include testimonials and join professional discussion groups on topics of your choice.

LinkedIn has 100 million users and Facebook has 500 million users, so right now you have a larger body of people in Facebook who to participate in conversations with. LinkedIn is starting to develop more as an asynchronous discussion space, but not yet at the level that Facebook has achieved.

So, what do OTs use LinkedIn for?  In a poll using Facebook I asked OT contacts what they use LinkedIn for.  The picture here is a “screen shot” of the answers, with a summary on the left.

The results of my Facebook poll which had responses from 52 people (number responding to each category of question in brackets)

  1. To build my business/professional network (20)
  2. I don’t really/Don’t use LinkedIn (15)
  3. To share professional profile tools (blog, portfolio) (3)
  4. To recommend others (2)
  5. Keep up to date in my network’s role/job (1 vote)
  6. To get recommended by others (1)
  7. Still working out its usefulness/still finding out about it (1)

What do these results mean?   It appears that among my Facebook contact group LinkedIn is still a novel online tool which some are using effectively, but most are just becoming aware of.  The Technology Acceptance Model (Davis et al., 1989) suggests that technology must be both useful and easy to use in order for people to be willing to adopt it.  Perhaps LinkedIn is perceived as not as easy to use as Facebook and therefore not as useful for making quick connections in our rapidly developing online OT world. 

The questions I pose are:

  1. In what ways is LinkedIn potentially more useful than Facebook to occupational therapists?
  2. What are the benefits if we build profiles in each of these online spaces?  
  3. Can LinkedIn be used as a tool to demonstrate ongoing professional development?

Festival of Teaching UofA 2011

Since the festival of teaching began in 2008 here at the University of Alberta I have not missed out on presenting, as a way to share with my colleagues the joy of teaching motivated MScOT students. This year I wasn’t going to submit an abstract as I just had so much on, but then I thought… “I can’t miss out, that will break the link”. So I quickly submitted a proposal at the last minute and was delighted to have it accepted.

This year the format is different from the past three. The posters are BANNERS and will be taken around the University and placed in different Faculties throughout the Festival week. On March 10th there will be an opportunity for people to share their stories, in a traditional conference style sharing session at the Telus Centre here at the University, with all the banners up in one location. I imagine it will be quite a beautiful sight.

One of the new things on at this year’s festival is the the opportunity to go and visit a class, to sit in and see how others teach! What a great idea that is! I have volunteered also to have people come to my class, and I offered our online class for INTD 410, in Elluminate. It will be interesting to see if we get any interest. I will make sure that I attend at least ONE other class during the Festival week, seeing how others teach can be so motivating to do better.

Online Healthcare Gets Personal

Health 2.0 and the Healing Power of Supportive Communities

As we know, social networks are gaining widespread acceptance, and people of all ages are accessing the internet not just to get information but also to find, give and receive emotional support.

In a recent report from CarePages, they discuss that scientific studies provide evidence that such support has significant health benefits.

An excerpt from their full report:
For people facing a health crisis or a chronic, debilitating condition, Health 2.0 is not just about innovative technology – although technical advances such as the expansion of broadband have made Internet applications easier to access and use. Technology, however, is only an enabling tool to help these Health 2.0 individuals get what they really want – the opportunity to connect with others who will help them feel better physically, emotionally, mentally and/or spiritually.

This report links with three of my other posts. The first one where I talked about the incredible support my father received from an online support group, after he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, the post I made about “doing being and becoming a blogger, to belong in a virtual world” and one linked to that… about the blogging project we are planning with Edmonton Brain Injury Relearning Society… to facilitate safe blogging with people who have an acquired brain injury.