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The application of social media in social work community practice

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Advocacy is a core part of social work practice. While social media platforms have grown in popularity in online campaigns, there is little evidence of how social workers can use social media when working with community groups. In this article, we provide an exemplar of an innovative advocacy practice with social media involving community members who created participatory videos as part of a research study, and subsequently integrated the videos into a larger human rights advocacy campaign. The case highlights three forms of social media engagement: platform integration, call-to-action, and blending offline and online advocacy efforts in real time. Included in this article is also a YouTube link to one of the participatory videos. We begin by considering the benefits and concerns of social media in social work education, followed by the implications in the field, with particular attention paid to advocacy. In the second section, we present the case study to demonstrate the application of social media platforms and conclude with practical considerations for social workers adopting social media when working alongside communities in social justice initiatives.
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Keywords: Social media; advocacy; disability; participatory video; social work

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Social Work, Memorial University, St. John’s, Canada

Publication date: April 2, 2016

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