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?

Facebook fatigue

This week my facebook status reads “Anita is a bit tired of thinking like a FB status update… I want to think properly again”. I decided to call this Facebook Fatigue.

I love the fact that I can constantly stay up to date with the day to day “doings” of friends and family around the globe, and even feel like I was actually there with my sisters when their kids said the funniest things… but who am I kidding? I am living vicariously and virtually, in their lives… soon a question started to gnaw inside me… am I living my own life?

After almost 2 years of using Facebook it became part of my daily routine, and a way to feel connected with others. However, it gradually started to change the way I behaved. I would check Facebook before email, and even before I ate breakfast, I would use facebook as a place to connect with a wide range of people, but not at any meaningful level, and it became a place where I could easily lose an hour at a time through my day! Many evenings it became my main activity. On weekends I would be on FB talking to people in another country, me having a glass of wine on my computer, them also at a computer… it replaced real socializing!

I don’t want to say I was addicted, but maybe I was!

The thing that started to really irritate me was the feeling that having a “conversation” on facebook had become one big public forum and it wasn’t simply with people I wanted to converse with… but people who were friends of friends (ie: strangers). It started to feel like a public conversation, like traveling on a train and speaking with your friend and the people traveling on the train who were around you continually adding to the conversation without invitation.

I am an outgoing person, an extrovert! So having conversations with complete strangers does not bother me at all (hey… I blog!) but what started to happen was people from very different walks of life started to become part of my daily conversations inside facebook, through my friends or family’s pages… now this shouldn’t bother me as opening myself up to having conversations with people with different viewpoints is wonderful! However, these weren’t conversations, these were somtimes personal attacks disguised as conversation. People critiquing my choices and comparing them with theirs.

I started to wonder what was happening and realized that maybe it is the anonymity of the online world that creates a sense of safety and loosens people’s “manners”. Maybe they wouldn’t comment on your choices if you were meeting in person, but in the online forum there really are no consequences, so they just voice their true opinion.

The other aspect is there is no voice intonation or body language when you communicate online (yes, all the netiquette rules say CAPITAL LETTERS = SHOUTING!) but between speaking normally and SHOUTING and emoticons 😉 there is little way of knowing how a person is actually speaking. Text simply lacks nuance.

So, none of this is new really, it just simply came to a head for me recently, and my breaking point was… I was thinking in updates! I would do something, for example: bake a loaf of bread, and then I would think about how to word that as an update! There is a positive angle to this, I am noticing the small things in my life and “amplifying them” and celebrating them… and the other way of looking at this is I am wasting my life navel gazing, telling people about the mundane and forgetting to get on with the bigger goals in my life!

As this is a blog about Technology and OT a little voice is telling me that I need to make this relevant to OT practice… EASY! If I was helping someone to connect with friends and family online (such as we did in the ABI & Blogging program) then I would be particularly careful to address the issue of what to post and what not to post, and how to avoid offending people online!

So, I am having a breather from FB and focusing more on my Blog, my work and my PhD… oh and my kids! How’s your online world treating you?

‘Tweeting’ medics expose patients

This link was sent to me by Susan Burwash… interesting article from the BBC about medical students using Twitter and Blogs to inappropriately share information about patients or institutions.

Medics posting messages on networking websites like Facebook and Twitter are breaching patient confidentiality, a leading journal reveals.

Research in the Journal of the American Medical Association found examples of web gossip by trainee doctors sharing private patient stories and details.

Over half of 78 US medical schools studied had reported cases of students posting unprofessional content online.

One in 10 of these contained frank violations of patient confidentiality.

Most were blogs, including one on Facebook, containing enough clinical detail that patients could potentially be identified.

Click on this link for the full article.


SAN DIEGO – College students who use Facebook spend less time studying and have lower grade point averages than students who have not signed up for the social networking website, according to a pilot study at one university.

However, more than three-quarters of Facebook users claimed that their use of the social networking site didn’t interfere with their studies.

“We can’t say that use of Facebook leads to lower grades and less studying – but we did find a relationship there,” said Aryn Karpinski, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in education at Ohio State University.

Click on this link to read the whole article

Making Facebook accessible

Thanks to Twitter I caught this link from Will Wade, thanks Will!

Carl Augusto is the President and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. One of AFB’s priorities is broadening access to technology, and AFB is working together with Facebook to make the site more accessible and user-friendly for people who are blind or visually impaired.

See this link for the full story

Occupational therapy groups on facebook

There is a rapidly growing number of OT groups on Facebook, that are both serious and social. Over the next few days I’m going to find them and list them here.

This is a snapshot of what’s happening in this corner of the Web 2.0 world for our profession.

I’ll list if it is an open or closed group, I’ll also highlight student groups too. The bottom list is those groups that I believe are unprofessional.

Professional Networking Groups

American Occupational Therapy Association: open group
Collaborating and sharing ideas with other occupational therapists: open group
Darwin OT: open to Australian networks
Bored Of Fluffy Occupational Therapy: open group
Facebook Occupational Therapy Association: open group
Health, Physical Educators, Exercise Science, PT, OT, and Nurses: open interdisciplinary student networking group
Hong Kong Occupational Therapy: closed group
I’m an occupational therapist/OT student and I have something to say!: open group
I’m tired of having to explain what occupational therapy is: open group
Is OT Worthwhile?: open group
I’ve worked at St Thomas’/Guys as an OT!!!: open group
Los Angeles OT Leadership Forum: open group
Occupational Therapists (OTs) for Refugees: open group
Occupational Therapists Having External Reproductive Systems: open group
Occupational Therapy at the University of Salford: open group
Occupational Therapy: What’s in it for you?: open group
OTs are hot: open group
OT AUSTRALIA National: open group
OT AUSTRALIA QLD: open group
OT from ACTT: open group
OT Hand Party – An Occupational Perspective: open group
OT Jobs Help: open group
OT Malaysia: closed group
OT meeting space: closed group
Princess Margaret Hospital OT: open group
St.Theresa’s hospital OT: closed group
The OT Principles: open group
Top 10 Reasons to Stay Up Late with an Occupational Therapist: open group
Union Hospital OT: open group
What YOU need to know about occupational therapy: open group
Yes, I am a Occupational Therapist and no we don’t wipe bums!!: open group

Student groups:
AUT OT ’08: open group
Christ Church OT class of 2008: open group
Cumbo students OT graduating 2011: open group
Curtin OT Students: open group
Curtin students ’09: open group
Dalhousie MSc(OT) 2010: closed group
Dalhousie BSc Alumni: open group
Deakin OT Alumni: closed group
Deakin OT graduates 2007: closed
Deakin OT Grads of ’09 open group
Derby OT Students – Class of 2008: open group
Derby Uni OT students-Class of 2009: open group
Downstate OT 2010: open group
ECU OT UE Rehab Club open group
Entering Physiotherapy or OT at McMaster University in Sep. 2008? open group
First year O.T ’08: open group
1st year Wits OT 2008: open group
Future Physical/Occupational Therapist: open group
GCU OT Society: open group
LLTC ‘B’ 2008 OT!: open group
LOOKING FOR A MAJOR? NOT SURE WHAT TO DO? O.T. is the way to go!!: open group
MCG OT 2010: closed group
McGill 2008-2012 PT-OT: closed group
McGill PT & OT 2007-2011: closed group
McMaster MSc. OT Grad Class of 2009: open group
Monash OT: open group
My OT professor wants me to do what?: open group
Occupational Performance HELP!!!: open group
Occupational Therapy-OT
OT at Stockton: open group
OT CSU class of 2008: closed group
OT Class of 97: open group
OT class of 2009: open group
OT Class of 2010: open group
OT Group: open to Australian networks
OT@ECU It Started With Us!: open to Australian networks
OT@TUKS: open group
OT at LaTrobe: open
OT Students: open group
OT students in Bethlehem university closed group
OT students 2nd Year 2008: open group
O.T sTuDeNts r SpEcIaL tOO!!!!! 🙂: open group
OT Vs PT 3 – The Last Stand: open group
OT Masters Class of 2009 open group
Philly OT Event: open group
PT/OT Frosh 2008: closed group
Poly U OT: open group
Queens University OT class of ’09: open group
Sargent College OT Alumni Group: closed group
Touro OT: closed group
UCT-OT: open group
Uni of Derby OT Student and proud to be: open group
UQ graduates of 2008: open group
UEA Occupational Therapy: open group
University of Utah OT class of 2010 open group
UWO OT class of 2005: open group

Other groups related to or created by OTs
Six Degrees Of Healthcare/Medical Separation: open group
Web 2.0 for healthcare: closed group

Negative side of facebook groups that have OT in their title
OT Blokes Who Love Hitting The Piss and Not Working Much: open group
OT Booze Cruise ’08: closed group
Yeah Bitch, I’m OT: open group