Recently, I had the opportunity to take control of the @1000LivesPlus Twitter account and share my working week with followers of the account.
When I was initially asked to do this by our communications team, I have to admit I wondered ‘why me?’. Having only recently been introduced to Twitter and following some embarrassing gaffs tweeting at the International Quality Forum in April (such as sending a blank tweet and needing to send two to finish off a sentence) I thought they were asking me by mistake!
It would seem there was a method on their madness.
Initially, I was very anxious. I was out of my comfort zone, concerned I would make a mistake and to be perfectly honest, didn’t really “get” Twitter. Whilst the week I was allocated was pretty short due to a bank holiday, it was still a busy week for me and I felt undertaking this role was an additional pressure I could do without.
How wrong I was! After the first anxious day, ensuring my communications colleague was at my side as my mentor, I soon started to feel more confident tweeting, dare I say it, even started to enjoy myself. Because I was focusing on incorporating tweeting into my daily routine, I became far more confident using it.
Reflecting on the experience, I now “get” Twitter. I can see the value of social media to connect to colleagues interested and committed to improving quality in Maternity Services (and beyond) – exactly the type of people I want to be connecting with. I made connections with people through Twitter that I have since met at conferences enabling relationships to develop. This is really important for me, as having a national role means it is essential to have links with people across Wales, within the UK and even internationally. It was great to “meet/tweet” a colleague from the USA who works in quality improvement in maternity services.
I recognised the value of undertaking “my working week” on Twitter when I attended the ‘MBRRACE UK Perinatal Surveillance Report’ launch in London. On the train journey, during the day and on the way home, I was busy tweeting and re-tweeting. I felt very connected to the conversations about the report, even tweeting in response to a tweet I considered inappropriate. I know I would never have had the confidence to do that before!
For any of my colleagues thinking of doing this, my advice is go for it. You’ll be surprised at what you will get out of it and in fact how easy it is to understand once you put the time in. My biggest bit of advice however, use your colleagues that know about social and ask them for advice, I couldn’t have done it without their support.
Claire Roche is the Maternity Network Wales Manager at 1000 Lives Improvement.
Got some thoughts on Claire’s blog? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below or connecting on Twitter @1000LivesPlus and @ClaireRoche5.