Friday, July 11, 2014

Glad to say I am a "Human"...

 I have been living in Canberra for nearly two years and couldn't be happier.

Canberra has a charm that isn't necessarily visible on the surface which is why so many people say it is boring and soul-less. But to those of us who live here, it has hidden treasures that we're very proud of.

We have amazing little cafes and restaurants, a stunning orchestra, two theaters, out-door cinema in the summer, beautiful walks and outdoors festivals. We're ten minutes drive from local wineries that are growing in reputation and three hours drive from ski fields in the winter. The Farmers' market on Saturday morning is a great way to start the weekend. And if you like the really big shows, it takes only three hours to drive to Sydney.

As one of Canberra's biggest fans, I am delighted to have been accepted to be one of the 101 Local Humans, which is campaign organised by Visit Canberra. The idea is that when ever I am out and about over the next few months, I contribute to a living tourist brochure, giving my views on what's on in Canberra. Here is where you can see my contribution to the Human Brochure
The Human Brochure campaign will climax at the beginning of November when we have a weekend with out-of-state guests and spend the time being tourists. I am in the Arts and Culture group and am really looking forward to exploring spaces in Canberra like the Australian War Memorial and National Museum. You can follow what I am up to, as well as the other 100 "Humans" with the #humanbrochure tag. 

I had a couple of reasons for joining this initiative. Firstly, I am such a fan of Canberra and get quite offended when I hear people talk us down (even though I have only lived here five minutes and am not even an Australian citizen!). I'm really keen to share the pleasure I feel about living here. Secondly, I want to learn more about Canberra and take the time to explore the areas that I haven't got around to visiting yet.

Another reason is to explore the use of social media in a different context to what I am used to ie using social media for marketing and advertising, as opposed to education and dissemination of professional information. 
I have already had to think about how I integrate my use of social media with my smart phone, and have had to update my phone so I can start to use Instagram (that was a real shame...NOT!).

I have also been challenged about my attitude to photography. Years ago I had a SLR and was very interested in photography. But as the kids came along, and I moved to a smartphone, I became lazy and now I take more of a "point-and-shoot" approach to photography.  However, there are some amazing photographers amongst the "Humans" and I have been inspired to start thinking again about the quality of the photos I take. I don't know if I can be bothered to move back to a SLR, but I am keen to explore what I can do with the camera and editing apps on my new cell phone.

Do you have any hints, tips or advice about how to take cool photos with a smart phone?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Still trying to get my head around social media and testamonials for midwives in Australia

A couple of months ago, the regulatory body for midwives (and health professionals) in Australia, AHPRA, brought out guidance about the use of social media and testimonials which caused a kerfuffle to say the least. Now that guidance has been clarified and the dust has settled, I have gone back to finalizing the Australian College of Midwives' guidelines for social media so that we can get on and publish them. But having re-read the latest AHPRA advertising and social media guidelines I find myself still in a bit of a dither about exactly what the ACM should be advising its members.

I understand that a testimonial is a "statement that says something positive about, or recommends a midwife’s qualification, care/service/business, character or conduct". This may be solicited or unsolicited. What I cannot get my head around is what AHPRA sees as the difference between a testimonial and a favorable comment posted on a midwife's social media site. I am also struggling to see how birth stories that midwives publish fit into the picture - are they commentary, or could they be perceived as testimonials?

Here is the draft of what I have written so far.

1      Advertising and testimonials

The National Law states that midwives must not use testimonials to advertise their services. A testimonial is a statement that says something positive about, or recommends a midwife’s qualification, care/service/business, character or conduct.  Midwives are not allowed to use testimonials to advertise their services because the testimonial may unduly influence the public,

mis-represent the service, business or midwife, or prevent consumers from making informed choices about their care. In the ‘Guidelines for Advertising Regulated Health Services’ (2014), AHPRA states that midwives “cannot use or quote testimonials on a site or in social media that is advertising a regulated health service, including patients posting comments about a practitioner on the practitioner’s business website.”
Best practice points:

  • If social media is used to advertise midwifery practice/business, the midwife should always publish full name and contact details, as well as professional qualifications.
  • Do not publish solicited or unsolicited endorsements, testimonials or materials that could be perceived as recommendations in any online space.
  • If a woman would like to provide a favourable comment or review of a midwifery service, request that she do this in her own online space. 
  • Do not publish a woman’s birth story if it describes or comments on quality of the midwifery care provided.

  • For further direction visit ‘Health of the Net (HON) Code of Conduct’ (; an internationally recognised standard for health professionals on how to provide online health information to women and families.
Best practice example

A new mother wrote a long comment on her midwife’s blog thanking her for the excellent care she received from the midwife. The midwife thanked the mother very much for her lovely compliment, but explained that she had to remove the comment because it could be perceived as an testimonial. Before the midwife deleted the comment, she took a screen shot and saved it as evidence of her practice for the next time she had her Midwifery Practice Review. 

What do you think? Too conservative, or about right? What would you change and why?

Image: 'Free Social Media Networking Icons - 154 Orange Grunge Stickers'