So one of the first things I learnt about writing for the web is that people do not read long blog posts.They need to be short and sweet because studies have shown that we scan rather than read when in front of a screen. I have however been a bit self-indulgent with this post and broken this rule so if you want to read on-screen, please go right ahead. Or you can download the PDF version here Keeping up with the times (123KB PDF)
Whenever I am asked what I would do if I won tattslotto, I know my answer straight away- Go back to university and study dietetics. Strange answer I know, but that’s because it was only a few years ago that I finally worked out ‘what I want to be when I grow up’. Problem is, I am already grown up, with a mortgage and all those other responsibilities that come with being an adult, so quitting my day job to become a poor uni student for four years is out of the question.
It is not all doom and gloom however, as I have been able to complete a post-graduate qualification in human nutrition, part-time, whilst still working the nine-to-five in a totally un-related job. I thought this piece of paper was going to be the answer to all of my career dilemmas but alas, any job related to food and health that I have come across since, still prefers someone who is an Accredited Practising Dietitian. So here I am trying to make sure I keep all of that nutrition knowledge I accumulated at uni up to date to remain relevant and more importantly credible. But how is a gal to do that when she hasn’t been able to break out of that nine-to-five job that has nothing to do with food, nutrition or health? There are great seminars, conferences, books, professional organisations and the like out there but it has been really hard justifying the (significant) cost of these when nutrition is technically only an out of office hour’s hobby.
So here are some of the pseudo professional development resources that I have found on the cheap over the past couple of years.
After setting up What’s for eats? I created a Twitter account and started following a whole range of dietitians, nutritionists, and foodies. So many individuals, organisations, companies, corporations in the health industry now have Twitter accounts and it makes the world a much smaller place knowing that making contact is now just a tweet away. I have found so many great resources and articles from the tweets I have read – in fact the last ‘nutrition’ job that I applied for was one that I saw on Twitter.
The one thing I have had to be mindful of using Twitter as a ‘professional development’ tool is knowing to pick and choose between those tweets I pay attention to and those that I should take with a grain of salt. I have found @EmmaStirling, @NicoleMSenior and @Foodwatch’s tweets and links to always be thoughtful and well balanced and their approach to social media is what I always keep in the back of my mind before I hit the Publish button on any of my tweets or blog posts.
Out of Twitter has come #EatKit which is a live, monthly Twitter chat on interesting or timely nutrition topics or new studies. The chats are moderated by Emma Stirling and Catherine Saxelby, two Accredited Practising Dietitians, but they welcome anyone to join in.
The Recipe ReDux
I was constantly seeing the hashtag #RecipeReDux on my Twitter feed and my curiosity got the better of me, so I had to investigate. I found out that it was a monthly recipe challenge led by the lovely ladies @ReganJonesRD, @tspbasil and @tspcurry in the US. I was accepted as a ‘ReDuxer’ in February this year and have been loving doing something practical and stretching my imagination to come up with a recipe for each month’s theme.
Cost: will vary depending on the ingredients needed for your creation each month. But remember, you also get to enjoy what you have prepared, so the cost kind of cancels itself out!
Nutrition Society of Australia
This is the one professional organisation that I have joined. Not only have they recognised and registered my qualifications but their membership fees give you bang for your buck. Unlike other professional organisations that require an annual membership fee and then charge additional fees for professional development activities, Nutrition Society of Australia badged webinars and seminars are free to members.
Cost: $173 per year for ordinary members, $69 per year for students
Newsletters and blog subscriptions
Sometimes you can’t go past the humble newsletter. I don’t have a lot of time in my day to dedicate to visiting all of my favourite food and nutrition websites. Subscribing to newsletters or blogs that are delivered directly to my inbox means I can read at my leisure.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand, Foodwatch, Ellyn Satter and Glycemic Index are just some of the great newsletters I subscribe to.
If you want a great no-nonsense, no-guilt read about building healthy relationships between food, eating and body image, you can’t go past The Fat Nutritionist.
NHS Choices: Behind the Headlines is a new addition to my blog feed. The NHS takes health research that has hit the headlines and breaks them down to debunk any hype the media may have attached and presents the facts of the research paper in plain English.
Nina Badzin’s Blog is a great spot to spend some time reading about writing and social media (clogging Twitter feeds with Follow Fridays and Pinterest posts are a no-no people!) and she always shares links to other great social media resources. Plus we share the same first name, so I always knew she was going to be cool!
And so, having said all of this, I am hitting the books again in a couple of weeks to start my Masters of Human Nutrition. I am hoping that this time around I can leverage all of the power of social media that I have found since the last time I was studying to enhance my learning.
What are some of your favourite uses of social media to keep up to date with your hobbies, interests or work?