Engage in a Scheduled Twitter Discussion
There are planned Twitter discussions, that is discussions with a designated time and topic, that are known as "Twitter Chats". The chats are a fast-faced, fun way to learn and contribute to the contest of ideas in subjects of interest. Check out this list of healthcare Tweet Chats to see what's coming up in the next few days. Visit the page a few time over the next couple of weeks, the list gets updated daily.
Twitter is a microblogging platform that restricts each Tweet to 140 characters or less. This means that scanning through each Tweet is like scanning through dot points. This makes it a quick and lively way to gather and share information. Perfect for the time-poor (that's pretty-much all of us, isn't it?). Can you get across meaningful information in short, sharp tweets? Yes, and to prove it the remainder of this article is presented in Tweet-sized chunks!
Make a choice: will you have an official, personal or professional Twitter account? Don't mix it up. Nurses know about boundaries, right?
On your professional twitter account you're not representing an organisation, but are primarily talking about work-related stuff.
Choose a short name (aka "handle") e.g.: instead of @BartholomewBonython maybe @BartB
Bad news for people without exotic names: @JohnSmith @JSmith + @SmithJ are all taken :-(
Nurses to follow:
Short names and concise tweets are good. Twitter = Brevity Central
Struggling to decide on a name? Get creative, e.g. a nerdy mental health nurse might be @MHnerse
Or... a graduating student nurse might be @SN2RN
Don't use your workplace name/initials unless you're 100% sure you're representing your employer rather than your professional self.
That's why I'm @meta4RN rather than @QueenslandHealthRN – there's a BIG difference in implications/expectations.
Think about how you'll describe yourself in your Twitter bio. Do you need to name your employer? It might be easier if you don't.
Twitter bios accommodate a bit of personality along with a description of you/your interests.
Re bio: maybe better not to say "lost virginity to a rockstar", but "enthusiastically supporting musicians" would be OK :-).
Nurses to follow:
Professional doesn't have to be boring.
Still nervous re the name/bio thing? You'll get away with being anonymous, but why? On the run? Witness protection program?
And a pic. You'll need a pic. Eggs repel followers. #truefact
Your pic doesn't have to be a photo. There are avatars available online PRN. e.g.: http://www.twittergallery.com/?p=1985
JUST DON'T BE AN EGG!
Also, don't use lock caps when tweeting. It is like YOU ARE SHOUTING. It's rude. Nurses and midwives are professional, right?
Now. When you're ready, announce your arrival to the Twitterverse. No pressure: channel Neil Armstrong.
Next up you'll want to start following some people, otherwise your Twitter feed will be bare, and you will get sad, lonely and bored :-(
Who to follow? It depends on your interests. Use the Twitter search function to search for your areas of interest.
Nurses to follow:
Other ideas on who to follow: your nursing college/journal, your union, your local health services, your colleagues, your heroes.
Twitter is not like Facebook. It is perfectly acceptable, not at all stalker-ish, to follow a complete stranger.
Twitter is not like Facebook. It is perfectly acceptable, not at all rude to unfollow somebody (eg: if their tweets don't interest you)