Can Twitter change culture ?

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Recently my attention was brought to the Government’s response to the Francis report one of my Twitter followers pointed out that #WeNurses and #OTalk are name checked in the document, of course I immediately re checked the document having missed it when I first read it … sure enough both Twitter chats are named.

12850794_sThe response cited multi-disciplinary Twitter chats as being a good example in relation to cultural change. This struck me an interesting thought and it really got me thinking about the role of social media in cultural change.  Cultural change is not my area of expertise so I have to admit to falling back on good old Google and doing a bit of reading around.  In my quest for more knowledge I came across a fascinating blog by Jon Kotter “The key to changing organizational culture” where he states that culture change can be achieved when a “large enough group from anywhere in the organization, decides the old ways are not working, figures out a change vision, starts acting differently, and enlists others to act differently.” And I started to wonder that if in this digital age if the cultural change can be ignited outside of organisations?  And can a spark be lit and that spark can be carried from our digital social spaces and into our actual organisations?

One thing I am very sure of is the effect that communities such as #WeNurses and #Otalk are having on individual healthcare professionals – some of the tweets that I have collated through my work with WeNurses demonstrates this in a very powerful way:
















One of the tweets above that states “the realisation that you are not alone” stands out for me as being so important – the online healthcare community is full of like-minded passionate, proud and knowledgeable healthcare professionals, who are proud to care for people in the very best way they can. Dare I say it’s almost as if Twitter has given passionate professionals confidence that they are not alone and it is a wonderful thing to be caring and compassionate. As one of these professionals I always new we were here, but through the boundary free world of twitter we are united and mobilised.

twugWhilst mulling this over during the past few weeks I remembered another blog that I read a few months ago by Sarah Fraser “Is WeNurses THE social movement?” where she described the WeNurses #nursecommunity as “nurses who don’t talk about what’s wrong, or complain about the reforms. They are asking questions about how they can be better at what they do, how they can get help in understanding changes” I feel that Sarah has pretty much hit the nail on the head here and this is exactly what is happening.  Healthcare professionals are bouncing off each other and sharing, questioning and problem solving with like-minded people.  Sarah went on to conclude “When I’m a patient, I’m going to be looking out for the small #WeNurses badge. If I see a #WeNurses mug on the desk then I’ll know already that this is a good place to be.”

I don’t know if by being online healthcare professionals can be instrumental in culture change but I do know that if a patient has confidence in a #WeNurses nurse then this is something I want to continue to be part of.



Kotter J (2012) The key to changing organizational culture  – Forbes

Fraser S (2013) Is WeNurses THE social movement  – Spread Good Practice

Department of Health (2013) Patients first and foremost: The initial government response to the report of the Mid-Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry

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2 thoughts on “Can Twitter change culture ?

  1. Twitter provided a for for the most up to date information and networking with those who are like minded and care about the communities they serve. I have been able to recommend it to colleagues and more importantly students who have going it valuable. #WeNurses are the driving force for this! This is the way forward and I feel is a huge influence in cultural change

  2. We have experienced & been part of one of the most radical changes the NHS has ever seen or been through & @wenures & the #nursecommunity have retained the positivity of #nursing & have engaged with other health professionals as a multidisciplinary team on twitter! The connection & engagement of professionals have motivated the community to drive quality & be proud of what they do & this is demonstrated every day on twitter & every week during the nurse chats.
    Wenurses brings all of the good practice & positive professionals together, it’s a powerful entity!

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