Twitter is a microblogging service where users can ‘tweet’ short messages of 140 characters. Historically it was seen as a platform for personal communication; however, more recently it has been adopted by a growing body of health professionals and academics to communicate, access, share and disseminate professional information. Tweets can include links to blogs, web pages, images, videos, journal articles or provide real-time feedback from a live event such as a conference, thereby disseminating information to a potentially global audience. In the UK it has been suggested that its widespread acceptance by health professionals in a professional context is slow, with ‘workforce knowledge deficits or the fear of reprimand and retribution’ being cited as barriers to its adoption (Ferguson, 2013: 746). Could these barriers be responsible for midwives’ hesitancy to engage with Twitter? Twitter can be used effectively and productively for professional discourse and networking if used judiciously with appropriate privacy settings in accordance with The Code (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2008). This ‘how to’ guide will take you through the registration process, introduce you to Twitter jargon and provide you with suggestions of key accounts to follow. Finally it will provide you with an opportunity to ‘meet’ experienced and novice tweeters to demonstrate the potential for Twitter to support and inform midwifery practice.
- professional networking
- social media
- continuing professional development
- online communication