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 Twitter.
While many jokes have been made about Twitter over the years, it has proved itself to be a powerful tool for news aggregation, networking, as well as general fun and social sharing. I’ve used this platform for a number of years now, and I even met my business partner on Twitter!
Meanwhile, the cultural and political revolutions of the Arab world, Occupy Wall Street and other activist movements have embraced Twitter as a means of instant communication.
It’s Like A Party
One of the things to understand about Twitter is that it’s kind of like an enormous cocktail party where there are more people than you’ll ever have time to meet. Having said that, it’s still fun to be at the party, and there are a great many people and organizations with whom you certainly want to make contact while you’re there. Luckily, “there” is a relative term and you can go “there” any time you like!
Connection, Connection, Connection
Twitter is all about connection, and while many users seem to just be saying “buy my stuff” in as many different ways as they can, more savvy users understand the rule that 80% of your tweets should be valuable content and only 20% (at most!) should be actually peddling your wares.
And if you don’t have anything to actually sell, it’s even easier since you’re freed up to simply connect, connect, and connect some more!
“Hashtags” are the way that information is gathered and aggregated these days on social media, and you’ll now see them used on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and even Linked In. A hashtag is a search term preceded by a “#”. An example of a hashtag that might interest you would be “#nurse“, “#nurses” or “#nursing“. For instance, if you type “#nurse” into the search bar at the top of the page, you’ll see every tweet in which anyone has placed that hashtag. This allows for ongoing “conversation”, and most importantly allows you to decrease the “noise” of the cocktail party of Twitter, narrowing down what you’re looking at to simply your specific interest.
The “@” Symbol
Your “handle” or name on Twitter is preceded by the symbol “@”, and this allows you to be “tagged” in a tweet by someone else. My personal handle is “@nursekeith“, and this handle is placed in any tweet that my followers or friends want me to see and potentially respond to.
Nurses Are Rocking Twitter!
Nurses are all over Twitter, and many nursing organizations also have a powerful presence on this increasingly popular platform. I follow more than 800 nurses and nursing organizations on Twitter, and while I can’t read everything that everyone posts, this allows me to keep my finger on the pulse of the nursing community in a way that I really can’t do otherwise.
Twitter is just another way that nurses are connecting with one another and promoting the profession, and I highly recommend exploring this tool whose potential has yet to be fully tapped.