This week I interview John Walsh, manager of York Street Health Practice, Leeds, England, on how he uses social media in his work.
When did you start using social media. What prompted you to get started?
JW: That’s a great question. Several good people suggested I go on twitter. It was meeting Anne Cooper (@anniecoops ) about a year and a half ago that was the catalyst. It took Anne about 10 minutes to lead me over the line. Two days later I went onto twitter – so Anne its all your fault!
How do you use social media in your everyday work?
JW: I use social media for a number of reasons. There is the promotion of the needs of homeless people. I have worked in homeless services over the last twenty years. Then there is broader campaigns across the health service around values, care and culture. These cross terrains from patient care to health inclusion to OD. There is also the writing of blogs about human potential and what we can all achieve together. It is a real joy to work with patients, families, carers and staff to try to articulate messages of hope and kindness. There are wider campaigns such as the amazing work of Binti working for sanitary dignity for women. The there are those great services such as Basis ( working with women involved in sex work ) and Leeds GATE ( working with gypsy and traveller people ) whose work and voice I try to share and spread. Twitter and blogging tend to be my mediums and I suppose I use them to build networks of care and connection to support others.
Which platform(s) do you enjoy using the most?
JW: Twitter and blogs are my platforms. I use no others although I have met many twitter friends personally and talk to others on the phone and DM’s regularly.
Which topics interest you – eg do you take part in any particular twitter chats?
JW: I don’t follow any twitter chats usually although I do dip into some. The topics that interest me are about health, culture, psychology, spirituality, human development, values and making a difference for the better.
What advice would you give someone just starting out on social media?
JW: I would say – find your message and your song. Be authentic. Find your own style. Be careful but also be open. Social media is a wonderful thing – we often feel lost when we start but I have met some of the most amazing and wonderful human beings through it. If I gave a list it would be very long. These incredible people – families, carers. nurses, midwives, students, doctors, academics, leaders, OD leads, etc – have taught me so much. Perhaps more than anything else – they have accepted me and maybe that’s the greatest power and gift of social media. It can be an arena where we find acceptance and support.
Finally, would you like to share a favourite quote with us?
JW: I have many. One that resonates a lot with me at the moment is from Carl Rogers the psychologist. It is “The degree to which I can create relationships, which facilitate the growth of others as separate persons, is a measure of the growth I have achieved in myself.” Perhaps that sums up the deep promise of social media – it can be a place where we can support others to grow but only as we grow ourselves.
What a wonderful note to end this interview on John. I look forward to growing alongside you as we venture together on social media.
Follow John on Twitter @JohnWalsh88