On Saturday I left Manchester at the crack of dawn and spent a busy & inspiring day in London at #Blogfest, organised by the powerhouse that is Mumsnet. As this was an event about blogging I thought I should probably make the most of the inspiration I came away with and…well…blog, as the day was about far more than parenting and gin cocktails – here’s some highlights:
- A brilliantly organised national event with an informative programme & expert speakers- journalists, writers, commentators, comedians, campaigners & digital experts.
- Thought provoking (and refreshingly sweary) opening session on how technology is shaping what we do, how we do it, and how we think.
- Listening to physio @gussiegrips speaking alongside Arabella Wier, Rececca Front and Bryony Gordon about ‘finding your funny’, and the power of humour as a coping strategy. There are lots of blogs about the day and Elaine gets a mention in a number of them: “anyone who can make stress incontinence funny is worth a click, so do visit her blog”
- Women who are blogging & campaigning on child health and inclusion, including the brilliant Hayley Goleniowska @downsideup (did you see her response to Richard Dawkins in August?)
- A fantastic session on advanced social media by Paul Armstrong from Here/Forth & learned lots of new tools to use – so much so it’s a whole blog post in itself (have a look at slides from the presentation)
- Thinkbomb (5 minute session) from the very funny Francesca Martinez – who talked about the social constructs of normal
Does technology change the way we think?
It was the first session ‘how does technology change the way we think‘ that really got me thinking over the past few days. One key message I took away that although there might be controversy over how technology is shaping the way we think, the distinction between life online/offline is no longer a clear one. With smart phones and 3G/4G it’s become a continuum. There’s a very good blog about the session here so I’m not going to go into any more detail about what the panel talked about just some thoughts since:
- Facebook was 10 years old earlier this year, this means in less than 8 years time there will be physiotherapy students who do not know a world without social media.
- Even sooner than that there will be children and young people accessing services for whom touchscreens and mobile apps are intuitive- given the ease with which my 3 year old uses an iPhone I suspect this is already happening.
Are physiotherapy and health services ready for this? Does technology change the way we think about healthcare services? The Facebook generation isn’t 10, 20 years away it’s here now: it’s me, my friends, family and colleagues. It’s now 10am and so far I’ve caught up on emails, exchanged tweets with a few physios and students about influencing changes in practice, read today’s headlines, ordered groceries for the week, and booked a couple of work meetings. I did all of this on my phone. I have also spent over half an hour rummaging around for a paper NHS appointment letter I miss-filed 3 months ago.
Technology isn’t just changing the way we think it’s changing our expectations about immediacy of information and response, and the challenge for physiotherapy and healthcare is to keep up with this. How can we use technology to improve services? Can we use gamification more in rehabilitation? What gets in the way of us using technology more? Lots of questions! Hopefully you’ll have lots of ideas on twitter & by commenting below.
Power of social networks
Lastly, Blogfest really reinforced for me the enormous power of social networks like Mumsnet in connecting, forming & mobilising virtual & real life communities to provide peer support, inspire creativity and to influence and achieve change.
So, my question to you is: how do we do the same as a profession- locally, nationally and internationally? How do we harness social media in 2015 to mobilise people who are passionate about physiotherapy, and also those who are disenfranchised or disengaged? How do we make the most of physiotherapy disruptors, heretics, radicals and mavericks and help stop the profession “sleepwalking into obscurity“? This is something we’re hoping to discuss more during our last #physiotalk of the year on the 22nd December.
So, there we go, opportunities to learn, network & be inspired are all around us and often don’t say physio or healthcare on the tin.
I’ll end with a confession…the day did finish with a gin cocktail or two…