The True History of Social Workers Online

Early Adopters Reflections on the Journey and Future. In present times, social workers use technology and the Internet to gain support and information from colleagues with ease. Social work blogs, social networking communities on Linked and Facebook, podcasts, and discussion boards are now readily available. This was not always the case. Social workers who are 'digital natives" may have little knowledge about the early history of social work and “early adopter” social workers on the Internet. Offered by two online social work pioneers, this presentation will re-trace the evolution of social work networking online, offering a historical backdrop against which to evaluate current practices and future opportunities.

1981-05-24 16:16:14

CUSSN begins

According to Dick Schoech, CUSSN (Computer Use in Social Services Network) began around 1981. Not online - but what a precursor

1986-05-01 00:00:00

First human services BBS created

Social workers communicated through a BBS system. It was developed by Gerald Vest and Mike Connealy in New Mexico.

1986-12-10 00:00:00

Darlene Lynch figures out email

Directed by her boss, she is asked to create and send an email - quite a first experience

1986-12-10 00:00:00

Marshall Smith wrote first email to students at RIT

Marshall Smith wrote a mass email to all social work students at Rochester Institute of Technology regarding using email for official school communications.

1987-12-08 02:52:29

Linda Grobman buys a computer

I was working as Interim Ex. Dir. of NASW GA. It was my task to buy a computer and printer for the office. I went to several stores, bought magazines to research features and what they meant. I could not look up online like we can now. I got a desktop computer and dot matrix printer, and learned quite a bit about computers in the process.

1988-01-01 17:24:17

SOCWORK was created

Simon Mielniczuk started SOCWORK (sock-work) in 1988 as a way for students in Don Bellamy's social planning class at U. of Toronto to communicate and learn about computers. It was open and social workers all over joined. It grew to 1600 members with Ogden Rogers as "list-owner." It still exists but is inactive at 85 members.

1988-03-28 23:40:45

Ogden Rogers on SOCWORK

SOCWORK continues at 85 members, but has posted very little traffic in the last 5 years. I think it posted one message in the last year. I think its zenith was probably about 2002-2003, when it had over 1,600 members. It’s difficult to put a truly accurate figure as so many people would subscribe…and then unsubscribe a short time later. The list’s demise was due to its relatively unmoderated structure and largely due to the incredibly high traffic, sometimes up to well over a hundred messages a day that people found annoying. There was always the recurrent problem with “flame wars,” which were difficult to put out without severe moderation.

1989-04-12 00:00:00

Ram Cnaan writes: SW Practice and Information Technology - an unestablished link published in CHS

Cnaan, R.A. (1989). Introduction: Social work practice and information technology - an unestablished link. Computers in Human Services. 5(1/2). 1-15.

1991-03-24 16:26:10

BPD Tech Committee formed

BPD Tech Committee formed sometime in 1991. Included: Dennis Cogswell, Steve Marson, Chet Dilday, Bob Vernon. Later added Marshall Smith, Steve Anderson, Diane Falk, Lynn Adkins, Darlene Lynch, Deb Gohagen, Carol Williams.

1992-01-24 11:09:51

Linda Grobman first signed up with a major online service

Linda had been involved in social work BBS in late 1980s. Signed up with various services in the early 1990s--Prodigy, Delphi, Compuserve, AOL--using dialup.

The True History of Social Workers Online

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