Pioneering the Grand Challenges on Social Media as Macro Practice: #MacroSW at #APM17

On October 20, 2017,  four of the #MacroSW partners will be in Dallas at the Council of Social Work Education’s 2017 Annual Program Meeting to present about how our online community is supporting the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Social Work Grand Challenges.   

Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017

Time: 2:00 PM

Room Assignment: Sheraton Dallas Hotel City View 2, Main Hotel, 4th floor

The presenters include:

This presentation, titled Pioneering the Grand Challenges on Social Media as Macro Practice, will inform participants about how the #MacroSW online community of individuals, organizations and social work schools uses technology to educate and promote public discourse about the Social Work Grand Challenges and macro social work practice.  Further, we will discuss how social media and professional online communities are growing in popularity for social workers.

Here are the presentation slides:

(Alternate link: 2017 CSWE Pioneering the Grand Challenges Macro Practice)

Here is our abstract with the learning objectives:

By the end of the session, participants will:

  1. Understand how social workers can support the Grand Challenges through public discourse and advocacy on social media.
  2. Identify how technology tools can help social workers organize, advocate and collaborate. (Twitter chats and blog)
  3. Describe how online communities can benefit social workers.  

#MacroSW is an online community of social workers, organizations and, social work schools working to promote macro social work practice. The #MacroSW chats began in 2013 as a way to enhance communication and connectedness among social workers and macro practice. The goals of the community include:

  1. Promoting the strengths and advancement of macro social work practice.
  2. Grounding the values and guidelines of the NASW Code of Ethics in an online community.
  3. Informing respectful conversation between social workers.  

#MacroSW uses Twitter, a microblogging social media platform, along with a blog to organize and create a virtual space for its members (#MacroSW, n.d; Twitter, n.d.).  In 2016, as part of the Grand Challenges, #MacroSW collaborated with the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare to host nine online events featuring conversations on Twitter (known as a live chat) focused on the Grand Challenges topics. This presentation will describe this partnership and how the #MacroSW community used technology to educate and promote public discourse about the Grand Challenges.

The use of social media has increased among the general public, plays an important role in advocacy and networking, and is the preferred communication tool of our new President. According to the Pew Research Center, about 23% of Americans now use Twitter, a public social media microblogging platform that allows users to post tweets limited to 140 characters and may include text, photos, video, livestreaming of events, and gifs (Greenwood, Perrin, & Duggan, 2016). While less is known about them, social workers are starting to use social media to contribute and engage in the public discourse about important social issues (Goldkind, Wolf, & Jones, 2016). One common practice for communicating on Twitter is to participate in a live chat in real time with other Twitter users by using a hashtag or placing a # symbol in front of a word or words, such as #MacroSW or #socialwork. Because tweets are public and text-based, they can be collected and archived into a transcript, effectively recording a live Twitter chat.  

Presenters will share how the #MacroSW online community started, data from the 2016 Grand Challenges chats, specifically chats about harnessing technology for social good (Shelly, 2016)  and reducing social isolation (Hitchcock, 2016). The presenters will also show how educators can utilize the #MacroSW online community chat transcripts to support digital and social technology-based assignments with students, promoting competency-based behaviors such as professionalism, policy practice and critical thinking, while also increasing digital media literacies (CSWE, 2015).


How to Cite this Blog Post:

Shelly, P., Hitchcock, L.I., Zgoda, K.  & Cummings, S.  (2017, October 21). Pioneering the Grand Challenges on Social Media as Macro Practice: #MacroSW at #APM17 [Blog Post].  Retrieved from:

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