Karen Zgoda, Rachel L. West, & Patricia Shelly

Promoting Macro Social Work Through Social Media/Twitter Chats

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“It is always good to know that there are other macro social workers out there, and [Rachel] has often said that it speaks to social media’s effectiveness as an organizing and educational tool. . . It is one thing to say that, and it is another to experience that for an hour. I feel like students, practitioners, educators, and others in social work are just hungry for this conversation and this connection around macro social work practice. We help provide the space, time, and experts for this conversation, connections, and learning to grow.”

Karen Zgoda, Rachel L. West, & Patricia Shelly


In this episode, our guests Karen Zgoda, Rachel L. West, and Patricia Shelly describe how they are using macro social work Twitter chats to promote support for and education about all forms of macro practice activities. They discuss what Twitter chats are, why they matter, and why social workers are producing and participating in them.

Karen Zgoda, LCSW, is an instructor in the School of Social Work at Bridgewater State University. She starting hosting online social work chats in 2000 and is currently a collaborator and chat host for the #MacroSW Twitter chats, focused on macro social work practice. Karen previously wrote the SW 2.0 technology column for The New Social Worker Magazine and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member and project coordinator at CTCNet working on digital divide issues. Her research and pedagogical interests include technology in social work and education, macro social work, social policy, and research methods. You can find Ms. Zgoda on Twitter as @karenzgoda.


Rachel West, LMSW, is social media manager for the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA), where she became one of the founders of the #MacroSW Twitter chats. In 2012, she founded The Political Social Worker, a blog dedicated to community practice social work and politics. Providing consultation to nonprofits and private practices since 2013, Ms. West’s consultation focuses on a number of issues related to advocacy and community outreach, including the use of social media as a community organizing tool. Ms. West also works privately as a career coach, coaching and training macro social workers. Additionally, she is an instructor at Stony Brook University, School of Social Welfare, teaching advanced macro social work practice. You can find Ms. West on Twitter as @poliSW.


Patricia Shelly, MSW, is director of community engagement and expansion at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. She has served as a member of the LGBT Domestic Violence Committee of Western New York for 12 years and the Women in Black Buffalo movement for 15 years. Previously, Ms. Shelly was the associate director for the Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender at the University at Buffalo. She is the editor of SocialWorkSynergy, the blog of the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. She is a chat partner for the #MacroSW Twitter chats and often serves as a chat host. You can find Ms. Shelly on Twitter as @PatShellySSW.

Interviewer: Annahita Ball, PhD

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