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| 3 minutes read

Getting started on Twitter

I’m currently working on a programme to Transform the Perceptions of Nursing and Midwifery. This programme aims to promote these diverse professions as attractive career options for young people; to reignite the passion and pride amongst existing nurses and midwives and to influence system leaders to champion these important careers. 

From December 2017 to the end of February 2018, more than 200 ideas were submitted to our ideas platform around transforming the perceptions of nursing and midwifery, and these ideas were mapped into themes, (or Building Blocks). On 7 March 2018, we worked with 165 Nursing and Midwifery Ambassadors in a parallel meeting to the Chief Nursing Officers' Summit in Liverpool, to turn these ideas into actions. Each team worked on a different Building Block and came up with some brilliant ideas for campaigns. The campaigns were pitched to our panel of judges, and the best ones will be taken forward for action.

The event was a great success, and the room practically buzzed with energy and enthusiasm. Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England even popped in to lend a hand! I was delighted to help the teams to share their fabulous work via Twitter, using #FutureNursing and #FutureMidwifery.

Here are some of the tweets…

It was really encouraging to see how many nurses and midwives already had Twitter accounts, and it was great to be able to help others to start using their account with confidence. It was a little daunting for some people to send their first tweets, but once they had sent a few, they soon got the hang of it, and were up and running in no time at all.

Some of the most common questions I was asked were:

How do I set up a Twitter account?

Setting up an account is very easy. All you need to do is visit and follow the on-screen instructions to ‘Join Twitter Today’.

Who should I follow?

Follow anyone you are interested in. This could be colleagues, famous people, other NHS organisations – the world is your oyster. You can search on Twitter for people, subjects and key words too.

What’s a hashtag?

A #hashtag helps you to sort content on Twitter… it’s a busy place. For example, if you are at an event or watching a TV programme, and there’s a hashtag, you can follow this to only see tweets in your Twitter feed containing that hashtag. This allows you to follow conversations in real time on a specific topic.

What makes a good tweet?

You have a limit of 280 characters for your tweet. A tweet can contain information, links to websites or videos, pictures, hashtags and @names of people you might want to mention. Tweets with pictures tend to get more retweets than those without. The general rule of thumb is to be engaging, post useful content, embark on conversations and be kind – don’t say anything on Twitter that you wouldn’t say face to face.

With these questions in mind, I’ve created a presentation that will hopefully nudge anyone who’s a little cautious to try Twitter for themselves… it’s really not that scary once you get going!

There’s also some useful advice about joining Twitter in our School for Change Agents Welcome Pack.

In addition, Twitter has a really user-friendly Help Centre, and WeCommunities have a whole Twitterversity on their website too!

Twitter is a really powerful communications tool and a great place for people to connect and engage with others. For example, on the day of this event, our hashtags #FutureNursing and #FutureMidwifery appeared in over 4.1 million Twitter feeds. I hope that this post gives people the courage and confidence to start tweeting themselves!

This fantastic sketch note created by my colleague Leigh Kendall illustrates '10 Tips for Social Media Success' beautifully: 


twitter, futurenursing, futuremidwifery, cnosummit, simon stevens, nhs england