When we talk about social media around these parts, we talk about how your agency should do it, or how your executive should do it. Unfortunately, I don’t get around to talking about something that’s equally (or more!) important than either of those things: how you use social media.
Cause you do. You are. Right now, actually.
And if thinking about you using social media isn’t scary yet, read this:
The NMC’s decision to suspend Allison Marie Hopton for comments she posted on Facebook will make sobering reading for some nurses.
It is nice to think our work and private life are separate but social media blurs the boundaries and – as the NMC rightly points out – if you identify yourself as a nurse your behaviour has to uphold the standards of the profession.
I often see anonymous comments on our own website that make me anxious about how others will view our profession – not only in terms of the language used but the attitude nurses sometimes adopt towards each other.
I get asked about this type of thing regularly when speaking at conferences. And my answer isn’t very satisfying: the courts are working it out–slowly. And in the meantime? Folks are posting things online and dealing with the aftermath.
So be careful out there. But, don’t go hiding from social media, because there are real benefits, as this blog post about how to hire great candidates:
When I researched them online, I found them engaged in repeated professional conversations
This indicated that they cared enough about what they were doing that they were engaged in it outside of their nine to five jobs. They sought out situations to discuss aspects of their chosen profession both with other professionals and with their clients.
This is why Twitter, message boards, websites, and even Facebook can both prove valuable for professionals. It provides a clear way to demonstrate professional behavior and passion for a topic while also connecting with peers and potential clients.
And now for some personal perspective. Nothing–NOTHING–has been better for my career than my social media work. Not my degrees, not my day-to-day, not how I dress or how late I stay at work. I’ve been invited to speak at conferences across the country, I’ve made friends at health departments, emergency management agencies, government agencies from coast to coast. I can reach out to public health and government heroes that I’ve read about and they not only hear me, but they answer: Laurie Garrett, Dr. Rich Besser, Jack Herrmann, Scott Becker, Wendy Harman.
The risk is real, but the benefits are life-changing. Take hold of it and see how it will change your career, and life.