Technology and Today’s Social Worker

Technology has changed the way social workers do their jobs. It now enables them to more easily store and retrieve data, conduct research, and to develop client treatment plans. These advances have truly changed the way the profession functions. There are now databases that help with case planning, assessments, and treatment plans – all done electronically.
Technology has also made it possible for social workers to attend online webinars and training programs. And what’s even more remarkable, social workers, thanks to the Internet, can offer treatment to rural clients who may not have access to a provider. E-counseling, or e-therapy, allows people to seek the help they need from the privacy of their own homes.

The list goes on, as the benefits are endless. Traditional services made it difficult for social workers to schedule appointments and provide services, often delaying intake appointments for weeks or longer. Now, scheduling is much less complicated and more streamlined.

Social Media and the Social Worker

Social media, in all its forms, has taken the Web by storm. It’s become a ubiquitous part of our culture. And whether you like or dislike Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and everything in between, social media I not going anywhere. For social workers, social media presents some interesting opportunities. Depending on the outlet, providers can share practice tips, cultivate a personal network, and find additional training opportunities. Used appropriately, social media can be a positive. It’s a very low pressure way to encourage your peers and potential clients to join the discussion, whatever the subject. Check out these resources for more information on how social media can be integrated into your work.

  • Social Media and the Social Worker – This guide offers some useful resources to help you navigate the world of social media.
  • Here’s a video with lots of great advice on how to use, and not use, social media:

Ethnical Issues and the Use of Technology

With all the perks comes a downside. While technology has certainly enhanced many aspects of the social work profession, it has also created some ethnical and privacy issues for both provider and client. Providers, as well as clients, are often tempted to Google each other’s names, sometimes resulting in a Facebook friend request or a new follower on Instagram. Tempting as it may be, appropriate professional boundaries must be maintained to protect confidential information. As a provider, you don’t want to post photos and status updates that might jeopardize your career as well as your personal life. If a client were to find your profile, any non-work-related material may interfere with your level effectiveness as a practitioner.