In this day and age it seems like everyone and their grandma has some sort of profile on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. Theses tools are a great way for everyone to stay connected to one another, whether near or far. Travel nurses on assignment may find these sites particularly useful with the ability to share pictures, thoughts or simply chat it up with those near and dear. The emergence of these social networking sites has changed the world as we know it and it’s commonplace to find your best friends on these sites as well as their parents. Yes, everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and that’s a good thing, up to a point.
Each of these social networking sites has a niche. For instance LinkedIn is geared more towards the professional looking to network with other like minded professionals in their field while sites like MySpace and Facebook are aimed towards those who celebrate the weekends! Whatever site you use, remember, this is your advertisement to the world. You are what you post. These sites all serve a purpose and can work to your benefit professionally if used correctly, it’s the incorrect ways you need to worry about. So, are you branding yourself the right way or the wrong way?
One of the simplest forms of using these social media sites is the “status update. Here you can post whatever is on your mind, whether you want to tell everyone good news, share an insight into an important topic like healthcare or just vent. I find myself posting lyrics to a song that gets lodged in my head the second I wake up to torture all my friends and on occasion I’ll share a juicy nugget. It just depends on how I’m feeling that day. You want to keep it fresh and stay away from any sort of pattern. Your “readers” will begin to get bored with you if all you do is complain about how much time you have left in your day at work, or how bad your work day is and blah, blah, blah!
These sites are all about sharing. Sharing your tastes in music, film, or whatever suits your fancy. It’s also a great place to share all the things that are important to you in this world. Being a nurse you may belong to organizations related to nursing or charities that you may volunteer your skills to. All these are great to share as your future employers may be doing background checks to see what kind of person they may be dealing with. Sharing this information is great for them to get a feel of what you are about without having talked to you personally. It’s hard to separate your professional and personal being, so just be smart as to what you want to put out there about yourself and your opinions. There are many options built into these sites that allow you to “censor” what can be seen from outside viewers. So use them accordingly if you think anything you have available to see may be questionable. You’re building your brand and you need to try and control what info comes up when your name is searched online by potential employers. Here’s a fine example of how NOT to use facebook… Doctor and Nurse Suspensions.
For traveling nurses these social networking sites are a wonderful way to keep in touch with family and friends while away from home and I recommend starting your online presence now if you haven’t already. All the cool kids are doing it! Staying connected is very important and helps keep the lonliness factor to a minimum. These sites are also a great way for nurses to share with future employers the person that you really are, from all the causes and charities you may be involved with to the great insights and opinions you share on others pages. Remember, you have total control of what you want seen. If you post meaningless dribble and constantly play games and whatnot, I don’t think that’s what you want as a first impression. I guess it depends on what you’re trying to attract… A potential new employer or a level 5 warlock to help you get to the next level? The choice is yours, for you are what you post.