The benefits of nurses using Twitter are many and broad. This greatblog by @Gray3Gray explains her journey in discovering the value of Twitter to health professionals.
To support and encourage more nurse leaders working in commissioning to engage with each other, other nurses and the public through social media, I recently ran a webinar for Commissioning NurseLeaders’ Network on The Basics of Twitter. A recording of this webinar is available online here.
If you don’t have an hour to watch the recording of the webinar, my top 10 tips for getting started with Twitter are:
1. Sign-up and in your ‘Profile’; say who you are, what you do & what you tweet about. This helps others find you, see what you’re about & decide whether to connect with you.
2. No ‘disclaimer’ is needed in your profile, people will assume you’re tweeting your own opinion, unless you state otherwise. Adding a disclaimer is not really necessary and wastes some of the valuable character limit within which you should describe yourself (see tip 1 above).
3. When you first sign-up to Twitter, you will be represented by an image of an egg, which you can replace with any image you want. Hatch from your egg & add a picture of yourself to your profile. People want to connect with people, not eggs.
4. If you’ve newly signed-up to a Twitter account, don’t immediately follow hundreds of people without tweeting, as people may think you’re a spam-bot and could block you, especially if you’re still an egg (see tip 3 above).
5. Retweet things you find interesting, they don’t have to reflect your views, but be of interest to you & your followers. People will not assume that you always agree with everything you retweet.
6. Follow a range of people with differing views, not just those you share. The power of Twitter is the diversity of opinion. This helps avoid you limiting your view of the world to a small group of people who think exactly like you.
7. Do you know your RT from your MT or your DM from your HT? Learn the lingo, at least some the common stuff, so you know what others area talking about! Here’s a link to Twitter’sGlossary, which is a good reference point if you don’t understand any jargon or abbreviation you see. If it’s not in this glossary, it may not be Twitter jargon and thisblog-post may be of assistance:
Use the many free resources available to get the most from Twitter, such as Twitterversity from
9. Create, use & follow lists to find & connect with groups of people; here are my lists.
10. When you Tweet: THINK FIRST:
Once you've started using Twitter you may want to consider joining a Tweetchat, which is a pre-organised facilitated discussion on a set topic. Here's a Simple Guide to Tweetchats.
Finally a brief plug for an NHS Employers blog-post of mine, this time with Teresa Chinn, about the myths of Twitter, which may help to encourage the more sceptical of you to give it a try. An Infographic of the post is here on the @WeNurses Pinterest Board.