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Using Social Media(Twitter) as a Professsional

May 26, 2014

I was motivated to write this blog, due to recent excellent advisory by Anne Cooper @anniecoops on Twitter regarding the new NMC rules.

 

I was introduced to Twitter at a training workshop  with regard to Leadership back in Feb 2013. It scared me, fascinated me, frustrated me and opened a door to a completely new world.

My friends and other colleagues had been using Facebook for ages to keep in touch and share photos etc. Sharing their lives, as it happened, a technological revolution!  I did not join in this revolution as I was frightened about my details, my life, being available to the world. As soon as you “friend” someone, their friends are available to see.  But what if you did not want their friends to see, but did not want to hurt someone’s feelings by not making them a “friend”. Mmm a great dilemma, so I declined.

It soon became clear that employers were looking at people’s Facebook pages to see what kind of person they might be employing – so the drunken photo sent in haste was there for all to see.  The broken relationship shared at length, again there for all to see. Glad I had not joined in.

Then, as I have said, I was introduced to Twitter by Annie Cooper during a session on Leadership and the light bulb went on. If you are the kind of person who likes to share their opinion, their experience, their knowledge and skills – Twitter offers a real opportunity to do just that and reach a very wide audience.

I am in my early fifties and am at the point in my career where I want to share and influence and help. I need a medium to express my ideas and work with other professionals and mothers, to explore and potential affect the modern world of maternity care. I did not want to go into the sphere of clinical teaching or the university, but I needed an outlet for my maternity brain.

I have been Tweeting now for fifteen months and have written around 250 tweets at the time of publishing this blog. I am still a learner and find Tweetchat’s a bit confusing at times.  But I love joining in on an interesting topic.  @wenurses and @wemidwives  have lovely chats.  Have just got the idea of hashtagging things( #),  if you want others to find what you have said, if they search.  Finding linking tweets to other things still a little bit crazy, but I am on my way.

It is fascinating and humbling, that I have the President of the RCM and the RCM itself following me. I am honoured, but this is what Twitter does. It flattens the world hierarchy giving you access to people and organisations in a click. I also have direct contact to my inspiration @inamaygaskin and have also discovered many empowering midwives I did not know existed: for example  @SagefemmeSB (Alias Sheena Byrom.  Marvelous.  It has also been enlightening to read the tweets of student midwives, mothers and fathers.  A whole world of maternity care wisdom that I had not been able to access before..

I Tweet as a Midwife professional , not as me the private person.  My tweets are restricted to the discussion of maternity care/health issues.  I want people to read what I say. I want people to read my blogs, when I have more than 140 characters to say something.  I want my current and future colleagues and managers to read what I write.  I just see it as an extension of me as a professional.

This is the difference from where I was fifteen months ago. I feel I am using Twitter – not Twitter using me. It is a tool of communication that can be exploited for its best intentions.

Best advice:

  1. Remember that what you write is available to the world. I repeat THE WORLD.  Make sure that that is what you want before you press send.
  2. Try not to react to a tweet. Think about what you want to say. It is very hard to take a tweet back. Be kind
  3. 140 characters, appears restrictive but really allows you to write what you mean succinctly.

 

To all fellow Maternity Care Tweeters -thank you for your insights,  information and support.  I love Twitterville.

 

 

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