House of Delegates 2.0
Introduction to 2013 Motions by Speaker of the House Shawne E. Soper (from http://www.apta.org/HOD/2013/)
In one month, the APTA House of Delegates will convene for its 2013 session.
During last year’s session (my first), social media played a role for the very first time. The House discussed and ultimately adopted what began as RC 23-12 and is now the Standards of Conduct in the Use of Social Media. Going into my first House session, I naively thought that it wouldn’t be a big deal if I used social media. Honestly, I didn’t think anyone would really notice. I was wrong. Many House members had concerns when I (and others) participated in social media discussion before and during the house. Live-tweeting candidate interviews was particularly objectionable, I learned. Social media was new to the House, and questions were understandable. We all learned from the process. I’ve already written about all this, so I won’t was time rewriting it all here (but I encourage you to read this and especially this to get up to speed on social media during the 2012 HOD).
All of this is to say…
We’ve come a long way in one year.
This year, for the very first time, all motions that will be brought forward in the House of Delegates are available for viewing and comment by members, non-members, and the public via the 2013 House of Delegates Web Page. The page has a link to language for each motion, including information on which Chapter/Section brought the motion forward. And, for those of you who are on Twitter, @APTAtweets has established a hashtag for each motion, so you can tweet about or follow online conversations on motions that particularly interest you. I am loving this page versus the members-only House Community Group, which I find extremely clunky, unintuitive, and difficult to follow. But that’s just my opinion, and that’s the point – these new initiatives open up MULTIPLE, interactive channels for communication so that everyone can engage in the process, whatever their membership status or online/social media preferences.
So here’s the deal:
There are no more excuses for being uninformed or for not engaging in the process.
Every single physical therapist should go to the online House Community or the 2013 HOD Web Page. Read through the RC’s. Take note of who brought the RC forward (or those who are co-sponsoring) and if you have questions, contact those people. If you want to discuss a motion or have questions or comments, contact your Delegate – it is usually easy to get contact information for your Chapter’s delegate by contacting your Chapter or visiting your Chapter’s web site.
If you’re not that into social media or have something to say that can’t be said in 140 characters or less, leave a comment on the House Web Page. If you’re a Twitter user, start a conversation on Twitter using the hashtag for the motion (and, ideally, #APTAHOD as well).
I’m a Twitter user, and I am frequently struck by the passion of the physical therapists and students who engage in Twitter discussions about our profession. But I still see a disconnect between the intensity of the online discussions (which always include lots of ideas about what the APTA and the profession should be doing) and the lack of participation in the House of Delegates (where one can actually shape what the APTA and profession is doing). The House of Delegates is where policies are made, our organization’s leaders are elected, our profession is defined, and decisions are made about how to move forward. For members. By members. Whether you want to post or tweet, have lunch with your Delegate to talk about a motion, reach out to an APTA leader (incidentally, Nicole Stout is now a prolific Twitter user), or become a Delegate yourself; opportunities are there and they are real.