To tweet or not to tweet…..

One dietitian’s story of how twitter changed her work

By Evelyn NewmanCover shot

Nutrition and Dietetics Advisor: Care Homes, NHS Highland

At the start of this year, if anyone had said to me that I’d be actively promoting tweeting at work, I’d have dismissed them out of hand. However, at the time of writing this, I now have almost 190 followers from all levels of the NHS, social care, a range of agencies, companies and colleagues.

The turning point came in January, when I was accepted, as a representative from NHS Highland, onto cohort 3 of the NES (NHS Scotland Education Services) e-NMAHP leadership programme. Aimed at improving confidence in the use of new and available technologies, one of the first tasks we had to complete was to set up a twitter account. Armed with my I-pad at home, I was forced to ask for help from an expert: one who cannot function without I- technology; who starts and ends the day on social media; whose whole life revolves around technology: one of my 16 year old twin daughters! To say she was horrified is an understatement: “You’re not going on twitter!” “You’re not following me!” “What do you mean you have to do it for work?!” Texture Tweets

However once she got over the initial shock and had finally agreed that she would not follow my twitter account, we moved forward with a common purpose and I started to learn how to “like”, re-tweet, search and follow. Within 24 hours I had the courage to re-tweet but it took many more before I felt brave enough to write my first one: overseen, of course, by a proud teenager!

A couple of months later life was transformed even further when I received my first iphone for work and the second twin daughter set it up with twitter…..so much more accessible!

During Dietitians week, with @DebbieProvanRD’s help, I even managed to write for the NHS Scotland AHP blog site and tweeted about the events of the week to all my followers, sharing good news stories about dietitians around the country and re-acquainting myself with colleagues who I hadn’t had contact with for years.AHP Scot Blog Tweet

Since then I have managed to tweet/re-tweet 1500 times and “liked” many others. I hope that some of you have benefitted from information in some of them or have felt encouraged by a “like” or a “re-tweet”. I have discovered many agencies, people and groups that I had been unaware of, which provided lots of useful information and connections that have been relevant and helpful for my work. The tweets, which prompt and remind me of events and those which share new resources or contacts are great because they open up whole new aspects of work, which I might never have normally come across and even if I’d searched for them it would have taken up huge amounts of time.

AILIP TweetI’ve written this article to encourage those of you who still don’t have a twitter account, to seriously consider setting one up and trying it for yourself. No matter how long it takes to send your first tweet I’ll guarantee it’ll be worth it. Social media at work can be a real bonus, if you use it to your advantage. Your teenagers might even help you get started too!

Feel free to follow my account as a start @evelynnewman17

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