A survey of social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand about their professional use of social media
Keywords:Social work, social media, internet, communications technology
INTRODUCTION: The aim of this article is to report findings from a survey which provides an overall beginning picture of how Aotearoa New Zealand social workers operate in their social media landscape, and an account of their opinions and attitudes about the professional social work use of social media.
METHODS: A self-administered internet survey which sits within the context of a mixed methods research design, gathered broad, shallow, mainly quantitative data (QUAN-qual) from 342 Aotearoa New Zealand social workers about their professional participation in social media. Using Likert-type scales and multiple-choice questions, information was sought about the social work experience (behaviour, opinions/attitudes) of using social media for professional reasons, including motivations, limitations and challenges.
FINDINGS: Fewer than half of the respondents reported using social media for professional reasons, and there was reticence amongst participants about the professional value of social media. Concerns about privacy, security and ethical issues were presented as primary limitations to the use of social media by both users and non-users—however, non-users were more likely to be prevented by their employers from using social media and, on average, maintained a more neutral stance regarding their interest in using it.
CONCLUSION: The analysis of findings from this survey offer insight into areas of potential development, leadership and research regarding social worker use of social media in this country.
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