My experience of curating the Salford University Twitter account (30th June – 6th July 2014)
By Amanda Butler, Second Year Student Mental Health Nurse
I first heard about the student role of curating the university Twitter account during a session entitled Improving your CV at the start of my 2nd year. As the session title suggests, the lesson was designed to provide ideas about ways to improve our CVs, to make them stand out positively, and to ultimately help us to secure our first nursing post. When hearing the word ‘twitter’ at the time, I immediately discounted the curating opportunity, as I did not possess a Twitter account, and moreover felt that Twitter was not for me. Social media, such as Facebook, had never attracted me, as I have always preferred to devote any spare time to book reading. Curating the university Twitter account therefore, was definitely not for me, or so I thought!
Writing a nursing blog however, did excite me, as I simply love writing. I managed to publish a blog using the wordpress.com site, and with the kind help of a fellow student nurse friend, I set up a Twitter account, initially, to promote my blog. This was 4 months ago now, and I have since been writing my mental health blog on a weekly basis; but I have also been using Twitter to discuss and learn about nursing issues, with many interesting nurse-related followers.
When it was first suggested that I might, after all, curate the nursing Twitter account, as a new user of Twitter, I was a little apprehensive. I thought about it overnight, and spoke to my same student nurse friend, and with a little reassurance and some renewed confidence, I therefore agreed.
I began my week as curator last Monday, 30th June. Although a little nervous when I first logged on, I checked through the notifications and started to engage with followers. I discovered that I actually enjoyed it, and was naturally drawn to topics that personally interest me, such as the elderly, dementia and mental health in general. Indeed, I have found some excellent new contacts from these areas, which I will now follow from my personal Twitter account. Moreover, I have learnt new things from them, and I am sure will continue to do so.
The main challenge of the week was on the Thursday evening #WeNurses session. The topic of End of Life Care was perfect for my interests, but I was slightly alarmed by the speed in which questions and answers were formulated. I was alternating between notifications and #WeNurses, trying hard to keep informed, but thoroughly enjoying contributing to the discussion. The former is a skill which I will need to practise further, but I did enjoy the hour enormously and the time went so quick!
The only negative to curating the account was my personal concern about not logging on enough! Attending to my home life and study often took more time than planned, and so I would sometimes go on to the Twitter account worrying about my neglect of it!
To any nursing students who are reading this, I would say get involved and give curating the account a go. There is a very supportive team of lecturers to help you, as little or as much as you need. The experience is a valuable one, and moreover, you will enjoy it.