Over the last few weeks, we’ve been delving into the world of social media and how it can be useful to nurses, whether they’re entrepreneurs or bedside caregivers. My first post was about social media in general, and last week’s post focused on Linked In. This week we’ll be examining Facebook.
Of course, we’ve all heard about Facebook for years–the good, the bad and the ugly. Granted, it’s been maligned for faulty privacy practices and various forms of baiting and switching of its users, but you can’t really argue with success. Millions of people around the world use Facebook, and it’s a force to be reckoned with when it comes to social media.
Facebook For Nurses
In terms of nurses, Facebook is useful in many ways. While the majority of users are on Facebook for personal reasons (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!), it’s also a great platform for interacting with your colleagues and nursing peers.
Just like on Twitter and Google+, hashtags (those search terms preceded by the “#” sign) make it easy to find pages of potential interest to you. For instance, by typing “#nurse” into the search bar at the top of your Facebook profile and then selecting “see more results for #nurse“, you’ll find Facebook pages for nurse coaches (like myself), nursing organizations, nurse Facebook groups, and other sites.
Groups and Communities
Unlike Twitter, you won’t necessarily immediately find conversations that you would like to participate in by using a search term on Facebook. However, your search will indeed lead you to nursing groups and communities where many nurses–sometimes hundreds–chime in on subjects that are important to them and the profession.
And just note: once you have a personal Facebook account, you are free to create your own group or community, and you can also create a Facebook page for your business, something that many nurse entrepreneurs (like myself!) are doing in order to connect with an ever-expanding audience of potential clients, business partners or allies.
Again, It’s All About Connection
The common thread among all forms of social media is connection. We can make friends on Facebook with people around the world, and while it can be difficult to “keep up” with everyone (basically an impossible task, you’ll soon realize), that’s not really the point. The point is making connections and expanding your network in a way that works for you.
Personally, I find that I experience a great deal of support from my friends on Facebook, some of whom are nurses, but many of whom are not. My friends on Facebook are local people in Santa Fe where I live; family members; people in distant places whom I have never actually met in person; friends of friends; business colleagues; nurse colleagues; and a plethora of other individuals with whom I connect regularly or not so regularly.
When I need support or advice, I find that my Facebook community responds very readily. It’s nice to know that people are there, and we can even chat in real time or use the new Facebook video phone feature.
In terms of business, I have several Facebook pages for my various entrepreneurial ventures, including my coaching practice and my Internet radio show for nurses. These are wonderful communities and I thoroughly enjoy the connections I make there as well!
Use It As You Like
As with all forms of social media, it’s up to you how you use it–if you choose use it at all!
Facebook has many detractors and has fallen out of favor with some people as it’s consistently challenged by Google+, a newer platform that we’ll discuss next week. However, Facebook’s hold on the public imagination–and the business sector, as well–is pretty strong, so it will be a while before it’s supplanted in popularity.
Enjoy Facebook if you use it, make sure your password is strong (and completely different from any of your other passwords!), and have fun!