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Places National Nursing Organizations Should Be More Active: Social Networking

May 17, 2009

Well nursing organizations out there, I would like to use this blogpost to provide you with some ‘food for thought’. As a blogger, twitterer, webmaster (for my local STTI chapter), gen-Xer and member of 4 different nursing organizations I feel I am qualified to provide you with a little communication/engaging the membership and future member advice. You need to be social networking more on the web!

There are scores of nurses and nursing students using Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook (to name a few of the most popular and professional so far). Where are you guys? I have yet to see a presence by the ANA, NLN, AACN, or CCNE in any of these venues. I must admit that have seen Sigma Theta Tau international attempting to facebook, and even joined the group, but have only received one direct communication from them in 6 months time. If you are going to do it, do it well. You need to be directly engaging followers or posting updates they can see at least a few times a week.

Understand Your Audience:
According to TechCruch one year ago Twitter had over one-million plus users, with greater than 200,000 new users per week and over 3 million tweets per day (Arrington, 2008). Those statistics have done nothing but increase in the last year. The majority of  Twitter users are either professionals, organizations getting a message out,  or gen-xers and younger looking to network. You cannot buy the kind of exposure a platform like this offers for targeting a specifc population. You certainly don’t gain this kind of exposure from an add agency or a mailed out flier.

Let’s talk about those fliers too; with so many more people (nurses) becoming environmentally friendly the desire for mailed fliers is decreasing. Look, we misplace them or throw them out. We want to be able to access the information you have at all times. Put it in a webpage and link to it on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter account and home page.

Facebook has more than 200 million active members world wide, with the average user having more than 120 friends. 20 million of those users update their status each day (Facebook, 2009). Are you, national and local nursing organizations, updating your status every day or directly e-mailing your followers? If people are following you or linked to you as friend they are giving you permission to market to them and keep them informed (you really need to read more Seth Godin on permission marketing).

LinkedIn is the number one place that head hunters and other professionals are going to look at resumes. How great would it be if the nursing organizations such as the ANA, AANP, NLN, etc… would create profiles and link to current members? Talk about a social networking power for nursing….

So the question remains, why aren’t you out there? It is as fast and easy as sending an e-mail. You all are struggling for membership and wonder why you aren’t engaging younger members and yet your appearance within these popular domains is limited to non-existent. It is time to get with the times. Nurses not only are constant change agents, we adapt well. Time to adapt. (Could be a good time to develop a midrange theory on communication, mentoring, and information to keep younger and student nurses engaged in the profession….?).

KUDOS to some organizations at least trying (some not so good at it yet, but maybe the learning curve will begin soon): Missouri Nurses Association (MONA) with a facebookaccount for fans only and Sigma theta tau international with Facebook group page account. Great nurses on Twitter: RNpathways, MedSurgNurses, ElderCareRN, pcRN, AmbulatoryNurse, UVASON, fpbnursing, NursingNews (gannett healthcare), WhatNursesDo, OncologyNursing, FunnyNurse (Journal of Jocularity), bayside747, AmJNurs (AJN), NursingTimes.

References
Arrington, M. (April 29th, 2008) End Of Speculation: The Real Twitter Usage Numbers. TechCrunch. http. ://www.techcrunch.com/2008/04/29/end-of-speculation-the-real-twitter-usage-numbers/
Facebook (2009). User Statistics. http.://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics

Seth Godin’s Blog (expert on permission marketing): http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/01/permission-mark.html

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