Social media is everywhere, and there are so many ways that you, as a nurse, can keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the profession by tuning into social media.
Twitter is truly a force to be reckoned with. Like an online cocktail party, the streams of information on Twitter can be overwhelming, but there are many ways to navigate those streams and find what interests you the most.
“Hashtags” (keywords preceded by a “#”) are ways to search Twitter for content you want to know about. For instance, you can type #nurse or #nursing into the search bar in Twitter, and you’ll see any post that a user has posted with that particular hashtag in it.
There are also Twitter aggregators (like “Hootsuite“) that you can program to follow certain hashtags, making it easier for you to check in on the conversation.
I personally follow over 800 nurses and nursing organizations on Twitter, and the conversations and sharings can be powerful, fun and informative. (I even met my business partner on Twitter!)
Everyone and their mother uses Facebook (well, almost), and this includes individuals, businesses, and other organizations and groups. I follow many. many nurses and healthcare professionals on Facebook, and I have both a personal Facebook profile and three for my various businesses and endeavors.
Facebook is even now using a hashtag system, so you can now type a hashtag like “#nursing” into the search bar at the top and see every post that includes that hashtag. It’s a great way to tune into what people are saying on this hugely popular social network with a global reach.
Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook, and although many of us (myself included) have been slow to adopt it, it has multiple uses for both personal and business use.
On Google+, you can follow others and group certain people into “circles” that you follow and can communicate with. These “circles” can grow exponentially, and the information shared within them is enormous. I, of course, follow many nurses on Google+, and I like it more and more as I begin to enjoy what it has to offer.
Linked In is a powerful platform for career development and professional networking. Many people still don’t know how to use it well, but if you get some help and set up a powerful and robust profile for yourself, it’s a great way to network with professionals who share your interests.
Linked In is like a giant search engine for careers and professional growth and development, and I’ve used it successfully to meet many colleagues with whom I have a great deal in common.
You can also think of your Linked In profile as your online resume, although it’s more like a resume on steroids. By having colleagues write you recommendations and endorse you for your specific skills, your profile is a CV with the power of the Internet behind it. For those who want to advance, change or improve their careers, Linked in is the place.
It’s How You Use It
Many people complain that social media is superficial, but it’s what you make of it, really. Sure, some people just play around on Facebook and post cute videos and funny jokes, but if you “work” social media the right way, you can make friends, have fun, advance your career, learn a lot, and really keep your finger on the pulse of things that matter most to you.