My Developing Love for SoMe, connectivism, change and tribalism

This weeks blog is from Lecturer Jayne Hardicre (@createyourself9) who curated the twitter account last week.

So March 3rd 2014 marked my first attempt at curating the @nursingSUni twitter account. To be honest I have been a developing tweeter over only a few short months. I didn’t really ‘get’ twitter and thought it was just another vehicle to learn about what breakfasts people  were eating, how they were feeling and how well (or not) they were sleeping. So as part of my tweevelopment I decided to throw myself in at the deep and act as curator for a week. This blog is a brief account of my experiences and thoughts of my week where the focus of SoMe is Twitter.

It was a busy week to curate. It was the run up to @NHSchange day and the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2014 being held in Manchester. There were many tweet chats this week to watch, contribute to and lurk:

Tuesday 25th February @wenurses “Health Protection – every nurses role” with @PHE_uk,  @WeMidwives ‘Outcomes of remifentanil use in labour’ and also @WePharmacists ‘reusing unwanted waste medicines: opportunity or distraction?’

Wednesday 26th February @WeCommissioners ‘Commissioning support organisations: supporting excellence & improved health outcomes’

Thursday 27th February @wenurses ‘Standardised Languages’ with @DigitalGerry

The learning available throughout the week was diverse and meaningful with speciality leaders engaging in these discussions.

The final treat was Friday 28th February #bedpansandbandges day, the ITV series following nursing students from Salford and Birmingham! Yet again I was overwhelmed by our great students demonstrating compassion, application and hard work. Twitter activity and feedback was very positive and there was great feeling of support for our students. The weekend involved following tweets and communicating areas of relevance and interest to the wide variety of students we have whilst trying to ensure that all branches and specialities were catered to.

So what did I make of my week of curation?  

I was immediately struck by the power of SoMe and its impact on learning and driving change. Even with the few chats mentioned, the ability to learn from others through engaging in on-line discussions is enormous. Many people post links to journal articles or reports and so I found myself turning into ‘Johnny 5’ from the Short Circuit film “more input – more input”. The use of social media has been added to the traditional learning theories with the addition of CONNECTIVISM. So here the digital age has now transported learning content to the learner but of course ‘buyer beware’. You must still have the ability to appraise the reliability, validly and credibility of the information flowing your way.

Hierarchy: What Hierarchy – SoMe as Barrier Breaker

Another observation of the use of SoMe is its ability to break down barriers and hierarchies. Its ability to reach out is of great importance, not only between healthcare professionals but also to patients and community groups for example. It is unlikely that you will pick up the phone or open an email from Jane Cummings our Chief Nursing Officer for England yet this is possible with Twitter – everyone is welcome. By the careful use of hashtags and @ it is indeed possible to communicate with those usually way beyond your reach whether that be our great leaders or patients who are engaging in SoMe.

Social Media is a Tribe Enabling Technology

We like to join ‘tribes’. As humans we like to feel that we belong to something ‘bigger’ than ourselves and SoMe can create a perfect platform for this. Social Media creates tribes and these tribes need leaders and many leaders are now using SoMe to connect, communicate, consult and drive change. From observation it can also be seen that SoMe can create ‘accidental’ leaders where a person communicates something resulting in followers needing more. This is a great example where the power of the followers can drive the leader and their ‘cause’ to develop on a grander scale than first anticipated as the leader soon becomes legitimised as the expert leader and does in fact ‘become, the expert leader through the power of ‘we’. Social media has the power to quickly develop these tribes and change movements from a lone driven ‘activist’ to a community of like minded people creating a movement. This is a powerful use of SoMe and its value cannot be underestimated. The video below is a perfect demonstration of this but imagine the dancing boy to be the initial tweeter.

Many of the SoMe communities I have observed are drivers of change and innovation. The power of this is almost palpable and it is exciting to be a part of this. So my final thoughts? I have completely transformed my view of SoMe. Welcome me ‘tweeps’ to the twittersphere – I have been converted!

I would recommed SoMe and also curating the @nursingSUni account to anyone to truly immerse themselves into this enabling platform.

Siemens, G. (2004, December). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Internet. Available from: Date Accessed  6th March 2014.


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