Curiously, I recently searched the web to see how many Australian social workers have a personal blog about their journey. Disappointingly, there are not a lot of us out there!
My main motivation for starting a blog was linked to my own experience upon leaving university. During my degree, there was not a great deal written about social work in Indigenous communities and the task seemed daunting. I would have really appreciated being able to hear real-life stories about ‘how to do it’. (Ah-hem – from real people, not academics!)
Thankfully, there are loads more academic texts and journal articles around these days on Indigenous social work. But my vision was to offer a space for graduating students to connect and prepare for their journey through stories. As well as a go to resource for the rest of us who continue to learn every day!
So here are my 7 reasons why you should start a blog.
1. You can make a difference
Remember when you first started studying social work because you wanted to make a real difference to people’s lives? Well, having your own blog is one way of teaching others about what works and how to avoid making the mistakes you made. You will be shaping and mentoring the next generation of social workers.
2. Experienced professionals want to hear your voice
You will be surprised at the wide range of people that will benefit from reading your stuff. Not just senior social workers, but nurses, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, youth workers and even entrepreneurs. Some of these people don’t ‘get’ what it is we do. Now you can show them.
3. New social workers need to hear your voice
Social work in Indigenous communities is bloody hard sometimes. Newcomers need to hear that! We need people who are prepared to walk the talk, take the knocks and pick themselves back up, accept they are not going to change the world and be content to take the small wins. So we have to tell it like it is. I have seen too many people come to remote Australia expecting to change the world, only to leave feeling helpless because they had no idea what to expect. Whatever field you practice in, there is a lot of work to be done and you can help prepare newbies.
4. You can inspire people with the rewards
OK, so entrenched social problems arising from a history of colonising practices in Australia make this one of the most challenging fields of work. But it also comes with a-m-a-z-i-n-g rewards and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, if workers have the patience and perseverance to stick around long enough to see it. With stories about the people you meet, the places you go and the successes you have, you can inspire them.
5. You can tell stories about the real world
Some people just want to know what ‘A Day in the Life of a Remote Social Worker’ actually looks like. You can’t get that from reading a journal article or text book. Stories of lived experience can teach others about the pitfalls, the challenges, the rewards, the tips and the strategies for surviving and thriving. Blogs are authentic and practical – real world stuff!
6. Blogs are immediately accessible
Writing a journal article takes a lot of time and is a highly scrutinised process. I just wanted to get my ideas, my opinions and my experiences out there. You can write about a current issue and hit publish today. You can start a conversation, mobilise a mob and get immediate feedback. How powerful is that!
7. You can earn PD points.
Having a blog is another alternative for reflecting on your practice with yourself initially (like when you’re staying out bush and you’ve got nothing else to do) and then with all your followers who hopefully send comments. Even the AASW recognises the value of social workers sharing their perspective and contributing to the growth of the profession. Go to Category 3 ‘Professional Identity’ to claim PD points for ‘Presenting or Promoting the Social Work Perspective’ and claim the hours you have taken to write your piece. Bonus!
So if this has convinced you that blogging is a good thing, go for it. There is lots of information out there about how to get started. Please drop us a line if you do. I, for one, would love to be the first to read it (and comment).