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.

PEW report has me concerned! Internet Challenges for the disabled

Internet Challenges for the Disabled

Pew Research follows trends in the US and today they reported on an are of concern, 54% of Americans with disabilities use the Internet, compared with 84 % of the able-bodied population.

Americans living with a disability are less likely than other adults to use the internet. According to a national survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in September 2010, 54% of adults living with a disability use the internet, compared with 81% of adults who report none of the disabilities listed in the survey. Two percent of American adults say they have a disability or illness that makes it harder or impossible for them to use the internet. The survey found that about one-in-four (27%) American adults live with a disability that interferes with activities of daily living. Statistically speaking, disability is associated with being older, less educated, and living in a lower-income household. By contrast, internet use is statistically associated with being younger, college-educated, and living in a higher-income household. People living with disability, once they are online, are also less likely than other internet users to have high-speed access or wireless access. The Pew Internet Project report provides context for the continuing conversation about who does — and does not — use the internet in the U.S., including a proposal to extend the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act to include websites operated by certain entities.
Click here to read the full report.