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Hearing Journal:
doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000414389.68138.57
Student Blog

Student Blog: If You're Under 80, It's Time to Join Twitter!

Weatherford, Samantha

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Ms. Weatherford is a second-year, speech-language pathology graduate student at Missouri State University in Springfield. She will be graduating in May.

“Last call for Sunday dinner. If I don't hear from you via Facebook or phone by 11 a.m. tomorrow, I'll take that as a no.” That's a direct quote from my Grandma. On Facebook.

Figure. Thinkstock.c...
Figure. Thinkstock.c...
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My Grandma, Dee, is 76. She unplugs the computer when it freezes up. (Dee, seriously, stop that.) She always thinks someone is hacking her account. She doesn't want a phone with a camera. And she is one of my most favorite humans on Earth.

Figure. Samantha Wea...
Figure. Samantha Wea...
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She Facebooks. She “likes,” comments, posts, tags, shares, LOLs, calls my mom her BFF (best friend forever). She is a Facebook machine. A champion of Facebook, if you will.

She is 76. She uses Facebook. Did I mention she's 76?

When I attended the American Speech-Language Hearing Association's convention in November 2011, ASHA-goers (all of whom are younger than my grandmother) who noticed my “I Tweet” sticker had various reactions:

* Camaraderie: “You tweet? Me, too! What's your handle?”

* Judgment: “Oh. You tweet.” (Accompanied by “the face.”)

* Awe: “You tweet? Coooool!”

* Confusion: “You tweet? What's a tweet? Have I been twitting and didn't know it?”

But they, and you, can tweet! It is not so hard! I promise.

When I got on Facebook in 2006, it was about collecting friends, like Pogs or Pokemon (gotta catch 'em all!). Who has the most friends? Who has the most tags? Who likes the best bands? Who has the funniest quotes? I think it has a stigma so people have generalized this time-suck to all social media. But this is an outdated view, and it pigeon-holes you as out of touch when you say you've never heard of “the Twitter.” While social media can still be used for silly, superficial functions, it and other sites can be used for so much more.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Hipster sites, blogs, ASHAcommunity are all used to facilitate sharing, educating, learning, and (you communication sciences and disorders [CSD] professionals should like this one) communicating.

Maggie McGary, ASHA's social media guru, helped get all the #SLpeeps and #Audpeeps (people who use social media to share CSD information) in one area of the convention center for the annual Tweetup. We didn't do anything earth-shattering, but it just goes to show that social media is slowly but surely proving that it can bring people together. We as a profession support communication and interaction! We are all “coo coo for cocoa puffs” over apps and AAC. So why are we so scared of other technological avenues for communicating?

The advent of smartphones, iPads, netbooks, WiFi, and goodness knows what else has made using social media as easy as a simple touch. With one finger. The tip of one finger.

I want to challenge all of you to use social media in some way this year. Advocate. Connect with your state or national associations. Advertise. Find a common ground with a client. Get to know a #SLpeep. Share an interesting link. Then maybe next year we'll see you at the Tweetup!

Sam's Student Lounge blog will go live on thehearingjournal.com on May 1.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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