The next British Medical Journal (BMJ) Evidence-based nursing (EBN) tweet chat will take place on Wednesday 19 July 2017 between 8 pm and 9 pm (UK time, GMT+1). The focus of the tweet chat, titled ‘Health 2.0: Social media in healthcare’, is about using social media to engage and involve people and organisations in your work and research. Please join us for this tweet chat, using the hashtag #ebnjc.
Everyone is welcome to participate in the tweet chat, regardless of profession or experience. This includes patients, carers, healthcare professionals, researchers and anyone with an interest in healthcare and research. I will be hosting this tweet chat, and I am very excited to hear your thoughts and experiences.
Social media is here to stay
Like it or not, social media is here, and it is here to stay. While the very mention of the phrase ‘social media’ fills some people with dread, it’s really not that bad – especially once you become familiar and confident about using it. Essentially, social media is an interactive communication platform that enables conversations amongst individuals. Merriam-Webster describe social media as “forms of electronic communication (as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).”
The presence and use of social media has grown exponentially in the last decade, revolutionising the way in which we communicate with each other. Most importantly, it removes geographical barriers by enabling people to talk directly with each other – wherever and whenever they wish. Nowadays, the phrase social media is often used interchangeably to describe popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat.
With a generation of millennials who are more likely to seek initial medical advice from the internet rather than a doctor or nurse, it is indisputable that the professional community must get to grips with social media, in order to remain relevant to the people they meet. When you take into consideration that at least 40% of people say that information they find on social media affects the away in which they deal with their health, it remains the responsibility of professionals and patient groups to ensure that accessible, evidence-based information is freely available through social media to attenuate potentially misleading or inaccurate information out there.
Keeping the social in social media
Now, you may be thinking, “Patients won’t think that it is appropriate for health professionals to use social media”. Well, that is utter nonsense! After all, you’re still human, and in fact, your presence on social media can often help the patient- professional relationship, as you are removing yourself from the ivory towers that once existed by virtue of the traditional roles of healthcare professionals and researchers in years gone by. We are, and must be, outward facing professionals, engaging and involving the people we care for, and include as participants in our research.
Topics for discussion
With those points in mind, and many more questions and ideas about using social media, in this Twitter chat, we would like to explore:
- The benefits of using social media as a patient, parent/carer, healthcare professional or researcher to connect with others who share a common interest;
- The barriers of using social media as a patient, parent/carer, health care professional or researcher to connect with others who share a common interest;
- Ways that patients, parents/carers, health care professionals and researchers can be both professional and human on social media;
- Tools to help you to be active and noticed on social media.
Guidance for using Twitter
To participate in the tweet chat, you will need a registered Twitter account. If you do not have an account, you can create one easily at www.twitter.com. Once you have an account, it is easy to get started. You can follow the discussion on Twitter by searching for #ebnjc – this is the EBN Twitter chat hashtag and by searching for this in Twitter, you’ll only see the relevant tweets related to the Twitter chat. You should include #ebnjc in every tweet you send, to ensure that everyone participating in the Twitter chat can see your tweet. But remember, each tweet is limited to 140 characters of text, so make your tweets informative and concise!
- Merriam Webster. 2017. Social media. [online]. [Accessed 13 March 2017]. Available from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/social%20media
- Honigman, B. 2013. 24 outstanding statistics & figures on how social media has impacted the health care industry. ReferralMD. [online]. [Accessed 02 June 2017]. Available from: http://www.getreferralmd.com/2013/09/healthcare-social-media-statistics.
- Antheunis, M.L., Tates, K. & Nieboer, T.E. 2013. Patients’ and health professionals’ use of social media in health care: Motives, barriers and expectations. Patient Education and Counseling. 92(3): 426-431.