Social Media, my 8 year twitter journey….

If you’re reading this thinking I know nothing about social media, can I signpost you to these great resources on using social media from the ‘We Communities’ thanks to @agencynurse its useful for novices and experts!

I began my social media journey back in December 2011 (massive thanks to @helensadler4 @tallgirlwgc) when I was working at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. The programme I was seconded to, from my post as Lead Nurse for Children in East and North Hertfordshire was focusing on testing interventions to shift care closer to home, when safe and appropriate to do so. One of the work-streams connected us to education, and meant we worked with children and young people to increase their knowledge of the range of services available including self care, pharmacies, urgent care, GPs, as well as Accident and Emergency Departments. I knew I needed to spread the word about the programme and the evolving co-produced lesson plans so that we could strengthen connections been health and education and aid dissemination and spread. Twitter seemed to provide a free tool without the hassles of formal publication, it was convenient and accessible, and it worked a treat. The secondary school resources (since updated ) and ‘Monkey Wellbeing’ primary school packs spread across the country as part of the improving children and young people’s emergency care programme, shared in these documents–Urgent-Care-Pathways—March-2010.pdf &

It was also @HelenBevan Chief of Transformation at the NHS Institute who was running a staff gathering at the NHS Institute who gave me a real nudge when she said how great to was to see me tweeting and how much she enjoyed my tweets in front of over 100 members of staff. It was just the sprinkle of fairy dust positivity I needed to encourage me on my online journey.

Another important element was doing some work with @SaveChildrenUK. As a charity they had a public engagement strategy that I’d never encountered in the NHS, back in 2012 they were way ahead of us and they encouraged me to tweet about my trip to Liberia which I did with them, and they also encouraged me to guest blog

The thing that stood out from my early social media experience was having a purpose, I had a reason to tweet, this connection was important.

Another element that’s been important is having a community of like minded people to tweet with. Communities that I’m part of include #EarlyRisersClub the #WeActiveChallenge (did I mention the #NursesActive won in 2019), #NHS1000miles established for #NHS70 and more recently #CYPBartsHealth. These hashtags are a bit like ‘filing cabinets’ says @spencer_sian capturing tweets around a specific subject. All these communities have supported connections around the subjects, or issues, that matter most to me.

Yet I do have a health warning ⚠️ once you ‘find your tribe’ don’t forget to reach out and burst your bubble to find diverse opposing views to challenge and grow thinking, follow freely, stay curious, be aware of ‘broadcasters’ (typically CCG accounts that pump out information and don’t engage), social media isn’t called ‘social’ for nothing … you get what you give …

I’d also say life is too short for trolls and pathological negativity, we all have tough days and last thing we need is a dose of doom and gloom from social media, reality and constructive challenge of course, but not nastiness, there’s a ‘block’ and an off button don’t be afraid to use them 😉

So what are some top tweeting tips?

Here are some suggestions from @hepworth_becky 

  • ‘Be engaging  talk to people, talk to different people, make it a rule that you’ll talk to new people each week and ask questions
  • Be reflective – write a blog, comment on someone else’s blog, write a guest blog for someone else
  • Be twitter savvy – use pictures, share links, join in a twitter chat, don’t just retweet
  • Be human – be you, share stuff that interests you
  • Be consistent – whatever you do, do it regularly
  • Be a ‘10 minutes a day’ advocate – 10 quality minutes spent on social media is 10 mins well spent.’

There’s some more insight on twittering here in a blog a number of us collaborated on

Using social media has led me to establishing my own blog and also to using UK Audible, which has increased the volume of my reading significantly

Social media has certainly helped me to

1. Challenge myself to think differently

2. Seek out and gather wisdom

3. Receive encouragement

4. Have encouragement to keep going

5. See joy and fun in an issue

6. Seek out inspiration to be and do better

7. See role models in action, and see them survive and flourish when things are tough.

But perhaps the most useful reflection comes from a tweet earlier this week @paularich1977, Paula reinforced that ultimately social media is all about positive human connections, more social, less media, and that’s something we should never forget ….

Author: @kathevans2

I’m a Children’s Nurse who is passionate about improving healthcare and life with people who use services. I love getting out in the countryside or to the seaside to promote my mental health and well-being. On a journey to doing 100 marathons (slowly!) & part of team #NHS1000miles (new members always welcome!) I also love charity shopping, cooking and healthy eating too 😉 Sharing thoughts on a range of things that interest me. Comments, challenge, links to further thinking and research are most welcome. Learning and thinking together is always more fun!

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