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Teaching Trainees to Use Social Media for Networking and Advocacy

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Briefly describe the activity and its purpose.

The GaLEND Program has made a commitment to teaching trainees to use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to stat connected to each other, the AUCD Network and policymakers. We have provided didactic content as well as conversations with effective social media users to help trainees understand the value of being engaged. These leaders also give trainees a sense of the advocacy impact that can be achieved through building relationships on the platforms. During the GaLEND year we also engage trainees in disability advocacy related conversations on social media. Trainees in 2015-2016 are actively iengaged in helping to coordinate a Twitter chat to help prepare Georgians for the 2016 legislative session.

What are the expected learning outcomes for trainees?

The learning outcomes are as follows:

  1. To demystify what social media is
  2. To learn both the "why" and "how" around building virtual networks
  3. To engage trainees in the "why" and "how" of advocating alongside self-advocates and families on social media

Briefly describe the positive impacts this activity has had on trainees.

The activity has helped the UCEDD and LEND to build long-term relationships with trainees that have assisted with us in being engaged as they begin their lives post-LEND. Trainees have joined the virtual network of our center and have actively joined in disability advocacy campaigns. Trainee graduates on social media have also been supportive in bringing new trainees into the virtual network. The positive impact is the way that GaLEND trainees have been able to connect with the AUCD network in this process. Both Georgia Jesien and Andy Imparato have been Skype guests in GaLEND sessions about social media. We have also connected with three AUCD Virtual Trainees who have spoken passionately about the power of social media engagement to drive change.

Briefly describe any lessons learned or challenges associated with implementing this activity.

Adoption of social media practice has not been universal across all trainees, but all of our trainees at least leave the program with an understanding about the potential impact of engagement.

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