Online Live Chat Room Links Professionals
The site currently hosts two live chats each week.
has updated the Internet chat room for social workers that is
part of the constellation of Web sites offered by the association.
Located at www.socialworkchat.org, the chat room
provides users with live chats on a variety of topics as well
as more than 30 bulletin boards on a range of subjects.
The lead moderator of the chat site is social worker Susan Mankita.
Mankita has worked in a variety of social work settings, including
a number of health care positions, and now teaches at Florida
International University. She is also a member of the Board of
Directors of NASW's Florida Chapter.
"We get an amazing mix" of participants on the site,
Mankita said. "A chat room could have students, a couple
of real seasoned professionals and some curious folks." She
said some participants have a specific interest in the chat topic,
but many others "come to learn about something they might
not know about, or they just like to come and be with colleagues."
The site is the outgrowth of a chat room first founded by Mankita
in 1995. She said that "as soon as I found out about the
Internet, I got a computer and found a way to hook up. The first
thing I did was try to find other social workers online."
She discovered a social work chat room that eventually became
part of AOL. "It grew from seven or eight of us to a fairly
big community on AOL for about 10 years," Mankita said. When
changes AOL made to its chat room structure several years ago
hampered the moderators' ability to contact participants, Mankita
and others began looking for a new avenue to provide the chat
Working with NASW as well as promotional partner The New Social
Worker Online, Mankita and others re-launched the site at www.socialworkchat.org.
"NASW has been expanding its Web presence to try to reach
out and find new ways to engage social workers," explained
NASW Web Services Manager Brandon Maddox. "This chat site
is a perfect fit for the association and helps us expand the electronic
environment we're offering for social workers to interact."
Currently, the site offers two real-time chats each week, on
Tuesdays and Sundays, as well as the bulletin boards. The chats
are free and open to everyone. Participants need to register on
the site to establish a user name.
Recent chat topics have included complicated bereavement and
in-home and wraparound services for families. The chats often
feature guest moderators who are experts in a particular field.
Bulletin board topics include boards about the profession, such
as salaries and ethics; boards addressing different areas of practice,
such as aging and child welfare; and "Bits and Pieces,"
which offers a "Blow Off Steam" board, among others.
In addition to Mankita, other social workers who staff the site
include Mila Tecala, Jerry Satterwhite, Roger Barnes, Judy Glick,
Judith Spangenberg, Karen Zgoda and Kryss Shane.
"We expect that this site will continue to grow and that
we will be able to offer more chats as interest expands,"
Maddox said. "It's a wonderful resource for all social workers."
NASW Web sites also include NASW's main page (www.socialworkers.org),
a consumer site (www.helpstartshere.org),
a blog page (www.socialworkblogs.org)
and the Social Work Portal (www.socialworkportal.org).
From April 2008 NASW News. © 2008 National
Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. NASW News
articles may be copied for personal use, but proper notice of
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