Reflections on the Future – Building a Connected Community

From – Ontario Opticians Association Focus Newsletter July 2014

A few years back, I would have scoffed at the notion that I would be able to connect to others and share professionally just by spending a few minutes a day with a smart phone, tablet or computer. Now, I wake up in morning and check my Facebook and Twitter newsfeed and browse through a collection of optically related news items from my Google Alerts. I am inspired on my journey to become a connected optician by others and I feel a sense of community as we build a professional network that grows everyday.

We live in a connected world. The isolated mode of practice is no longer relevant for opticians. There are new ways to communicate and share information. We’ve seen the printed newspaper go from the go to source for information to now becoming a dinosaur. Radio and television still command an audience but the clear vehicle that is pulling away fast is the Internet. Moving information securely and efficiently makes the Internet an invaluable tool. The use of social media via the Internet gives those wishing to share information and experiences an amazing tool.

Click on the links below to see for yourself that being connected is a trend for professional practice in the future and how others are using this 21st century tool that will transform our professional practice going in the future.

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Opticians can be connected locally and globally, virtually and in real time. My fellow opticians who are using social media to promote local and global social causes inspire me. I feel good about the future when I see opticians believe in and promote their professional association. The connected optician utilizes the tools and avenues available in the 21st century to reach out and connect to the business world, the profession and to the community. I see both independent opticians, independently owned chains and national chains all striving to be more connected. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, web sites… Opportunities to be “connected” are everywhere we turn. Utilizing social media to communicate with your extended community puts your business and personal brand out there and hopefully attracts the attention you’re looking for.

Moving towards “being connected” isn’t just for those trying to promote their brand, be it professional or personal. Being connected keeps you in touch with the advancements in research and technology to help you on your journey of professional learning to the benefit of your clients. Whether you’re taking your professional learning and practice to the next level by taking the NAIT refraction course, offered by the Opticians Association of Canada, or researching a topic for your COO portfolio, being connected allows you to share and contribute to the curating already provided by your Internet community.  Remember everyone wants value. The more value an optician can demonstrate to their clients, employers and the other allied health care players, the more we entrench ourselves into the continuum of eye care. The bottom line is that we can’t expect to flourish in the 21st century with 20th century tools.

As an optician, store owner and executive director of the Ontario Opticians Association I speak with my fellow opticians, our industry partners and my clients on a daily basis. I’m impressed by the fresh ideas and excitement opticians’ show in their approach to their practice and as members of the optician community. It’s shown in many ways. In todays media savvy optician world I see opticians putting forth positive messages both to our colleagues, and the public at large, who are obviously exposed to our posts.

This first issue of Focus On-Line is your invitation to get more connected with your association. What do you want to see in your Focus E-newsletter? What do you want to see on our new web site we are constructing? Use the convenient Contact Us button to let us know.

Get connected. Let’s grow a connected community of eye care professionals.

“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.” (Jonathan Swift)

Lorne Kashin, RO

OOA Executive Director