How to use Twitter at your next School Nurse conference

By Regina Wysocki, MS, RN-BC posted 07-07-2014 10:25

  

What was #NASN2014 all about?

Social Media was front and center at the NASN 2014 Conference in San Antonio! The #NASN2014 hashtag on Twitter kept School Nurses in the know, and many were able to connect with new colleagues from all across the country.

There are numerous ways to stay connected to your colleagues via social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and SchoolNurse.net on the NASN website. Today we will talk about Twitter, and how it was used at the NASN conference in San Antonio. We’ll also give you some tips to take back to your state and local affiliates, so you can get connected and use social media at your next conference.

 


First things first, just what is Twitter?

“Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called "tweets". Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them” (via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter).

You can access Twitter via your computer, or on a mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet with an internet connection. Tip: you can access many more features of Twitter via your computer, so it’s good to go into Twitter this way periodically, to tweak your privacy settings and access more features. For day to day use of Twitter though, your mobile device will work just fine.

 
 

How do I set up my Twitter account?

Check out this great article to get started: “How Nurses can Use Social Media Professionally”.

 

Image courtesy of @WeNurses via Twitter.

 


Okay, I’m on Twitter. Now who should I follow?

Here are two Nursing related Twitter feeds to get you started:

NASN Twitter feed: @schoolNurses

American Nurses Association Twitter feed: @ANANursingWorld

You can also follow the NASN Twitter mentors. Feel free to DM (direct message via Twitter) any of us for tips/advice on using Twitter. You can also go to any of our Twitter home pages, and look under the “following” header for new people to follow.


 


What is that hashtag thingy that everyone keeps talking about?

“A hashtag is simply a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic” (via the blog Tech for Luddites).

During the conference, NASN encouraged everyone to use the hashtag #NASN2014. This way, all the tweets sent out by School Nurses could be viewed together, simply by searching for the hashtag #NASN2014 in the Twitter search bar:

Once you find a hashtag, you can “save” the search (click SAVE in the top right hand corner), so you can keep coming back to it:

 


How can I use Twitter at my state conference?

Take your Twitter skills back to your affiliate and state level organization, and encourage other School Nurses to use Twitter during your next state conference.

Check out “6 Benefits of Using Twitter at a Conference” by Mike McCready for some starting ideas.

Other ideas:

  • Publicize the hashtag on your affiliate and state websites, as well as on other Social Media outlets such as Facebook in the weeks leading up to your conference.
  • Send info out via e-mail blasts a few weeks prior to the conference as well to generate excitement!
  • Have the conference twitter feed displayed in a prominent location on a large computer or TV screen, just like at the NASN conference.
  • Mention the hashtag frequently in general sessions, and encourage Nurses to keep posting. Recognize those individuals who are already posting and using the hashtag.
  • Enlist some “Twitter mentors” to help spread the word and encourage their colleagues. Look at the hashtag feed a few days before the event, and reach out to the Nurses who are already comfortable using Twitter and posting for your conference. Direct message them via Twitter, and meet up in person at the conference to plan ways to encourage other Nurses to use Twitter.
  • Give away visible incentives, such as the blue Twitter stickers that Nurses were wearing at the NASN conference, to keep generating interest.
  • Hold a prize drawing for all the Nurses who participated- South Carolina gave away a copy of School Nursing: A Comprehensive Text to one lucky Nurse Tweeter.
  • After the conference you can post a word cloud of the Twitter feed or a Storify.com scrapbook of conference memories for your affiliate.  
  • Encourage conference attendees to keep sharing professionally on Twitter all year round.

 


But how can School Nurses tweet without compromising private student information?

It’s very important to remember that once something is posted on Social Media, it is there forever in the public domain. Keep in mind that your colleagues, supervisors, parents of your students and potential future employers will see what you post on Social Media. Click the ANA links below for more guidance. 

Twitter is a great tool for communicating positive messages about the value of School Nurses, and networking with other Nursing and Healthcare professionals, so remember to use social media apps wisely.


How to maintain your professional image on Twitter from Marie Ennis O'Connor (@JBBC): 

Ten Tips for Healthcare Tweeters


See what the American Nurses Association has to say about Social Media and Nurses:

Six Tips for Nurses Using Social Media

ANA Fact Sheet- Navigating the World of Social Media


Special thanks to Jessica Porter, for organizing the #NASN2014 Twitter feed, and contributing to this post. 

 

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Thanks for the tutorial Regina. You have described the benefits of Twitter perfectly and the links give great support for those looking to Tweet at conferences and beyond. I'm looking forward to more school nurse tweeters as we continue to share current information. Your reminder that all tweets can be viewed by anyone is well heeded. Nice job!
Great blog Regina. Just following you on Twitter and watching who you follow and how you build your tweets has helped orient me to the world of Twitter. Thank you for helping keep the Twitter energy going after #NASN2014!