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In my last blog post I explored “5 reasons nurses give for why they don’t (or won’t) use Twitter” and advocated that commonly given excuses are really just excuses … and we can get around them very easily in our quest to show others the value of the nursing community. So now here comes the fun part … why SHOULD nurses use Twitter ? To be honest with you I could probably rant on about this subject all day to anyone who is willing to listen but in the interests of keeping this blog to a manageable size (bearing in mind you are most likely reading this on your teeny tiny mobile phone screen) I will stick to just 5, however please feel free to share your own reasons via the comments section.
5 reasons why nurses should use Twitter
Its free and incredibly easy – There aren’t many things in life that are free but Twitter is one of them, all you need is an email address, a password, an internet connection and a bit of courage and you are off. As for the easy part – I do have to admit that you do need an hour or so at first to get your head around it, so I always advise people to sit down with a clear head and a coffee and have a go ….Press every button, explore every link, watch and lurk and have a good look around and rest assured you can not break Twitter.
Second by second news relevant to you – As Eric Qualman famously said “we no longer search for the news, the news finds us” Because we build communities of interest via social media our community tells us the news that is relevant to us as it happens. For example the recent Francis report – even if I had been hiding under a rock and had never heard of the terrible things that happened at Mid- Staffordshire Foundation Trust if I had logged onto Twitter the day the report came out I could not have failed to notice the second by second updates. As a nurse I knew what was in the Francis report that was relevant to my practice on the day it came out …. I did not have to wait for the newspaper articles or journals.
Support – Now initially this may not be an obvious one but it is one of the key themes that comes across again and again when I talk to people in the online nursing community. If we go back to the “Call the midwife” era when nursing (and indeed life) was simpler nurses lived, worked and socialised together however as nursing (and indeed life) became more complex and nursing developed more specialities we grew apart. Nurses no longer lived, worked and socialised together and our communities drifted apart and dissolved. With the advent of social media we are able to reconnect with each other like never before and the support that we gain and give from making those personal connections is shining through.
Tweetchats – Of course I would be very remiss indeed if I did not mention Tweetchats when blogging about reasons why nurses should use Twitter! Real time chats around a predetermined subject that is decided upon by the online nursing community where nurses exchange experience, expertise, ideas and resources and use it towards their CPD … what a brilliant idea!! Need I say more?
Connectivity that crosses hierarchies – I can find no other medium in history in which an Agency Nurse can talk to a CNO on an equal level. The non-hierarchical element of the online nursing community allows for the free flow of ideas and experiences … how can that not be a good thing ?
There is no doubt that the rise of social media coupled with mobile technology has given us limitless knowledge in the palm of our hands but up until now it has been seen as a frivolous social pastime …. This is no longer the case. Twitter can be and is professional media. The online nurse community is where nurses can share, learn, grow, support each other and be proud to be nurses.
My next blog post is the final part of the “5 Reasons” series and I will be exploring “5 things nurses should know when starting out on Twitter”