By Sarah W., BADP doula and blogger
In anticipation of this Thursday's Salon on doulas using media technology, I thought I'd share a bit about how we at the BADP use social media. Maybe it will help you think about how you use it for your own doula work.
When I joined the BADP nearly a year ago we had this website and a very quiet Facebook page. I volunteered to get the blog rolling because I already had some experience blogging and it seemed like a great way to spread the word about the work of full-spectrum doulas. After all, it was through a blog that I first learned about the movement.
Renee joined us last spring and brought a ton of fresh energy to our social media efforts. She breathed life into our Facebook page and started a Twitter account which is now one of the most active places where we spread our messages online. When I asked her why she volunteers to do this for the BADP, Renee told me:
I joined the Bay Area Doula Project social media team to help spread the word about the great work doulas in the Bay Area and across the country are doing. I noticed that there was this great resource out there for women who are alone in abortion clinics and I want to make sure that they know there is support for them during their procedure. I also wanted to help create awareness around the doula movement and let folks know that there are alternatives to mainstream pregnancies and that you can have an advocate on your side, no matter how your pregnancy ends, whether it's birth, miscarriage, abortion, or adoption. I found social media to be an excellent avenue for people to share information with friends, families, and their communities quickly.
Kelly came to us with her experience blogging at The Provider Project and kicked the blog up from a once in a while thing to a place where we're posting something new every week. Kelly appreciates how the internet can connect people to information they might not otherwise have access to. She told me:
I grew up in a small, rural town in New Hampshire where there were not a lot of educational and supportive reproductive health resources such as the Bay Area Doula Project. As a budding reproductive health activist I felt extremely isolated throughout my teenage years, lacking a community of others with similar passions. In college I first learned about full-spectrum doulas from the internet presence of two organizations in the Northeast, The Doula Project in NYC and the Prison Birth Project in western Massachusetts, whose work compelled me to become a birth doula. Social media is an amazing avenue for people from all across the world to connect with, inspire, and consult with each other, whether they live in an urban area or a town of 1,000 people. It's my hope that as a member of the BADP social media team I can help someone feel like they have the support and resources to become a full-spectrum doula in their community and understand that they are not alone.
Even though each of the three of us has our own official tasks, the team really works collaboratively. We discuss whether we want to share certain links. We edit each other's writing. We brainstorm together. And when one of us is busy with something else, we pick up the slack for each other. How do we coordinate all that? Mostly by email.
Personally, I've found the work to be very rewarding. I've increased my social media skills, met new allies, and been thrilled every time an individual has told me that something I wrote or posted touched them.
Sound like fun? Our team has room for more volunteers who've been through the BADP training (next one is coming up in October).
Now your turn: how do you use social media to support your doula work?