Twitter changed my life

This is an article I wrote for Midwives magazine, published by the Royal College of Midwives, in the first quarter of 2017, it  explains my #SoMe journey and I hope it encourages you to have a go.

The world as I knew it is now one hundred times larger but also one hundred times closer than it has ever been before.

Twitter, the great leveller, has illuminated midwifery spheres that I could have only dreamt of last year as I embarked on my first year of a Midwifery degree at Coventry University. Initially I was overwhelmed with learning the skills required to help me through my community placement and felt that twitter was the last thing that I needed – I was particularly wary of posting the wrong thing or contravening The NMC Code and I abandoned social media. Luckily for me I read an article about the power of #SoMe and how there was a growing voice of students on twitter. I was intrigued.

Twitter brings everyone together: young, old, famous, the not-so famous, even world leaders. So when I tweeted Sheena Byrom (heart pounding, palms sweaty) about potentially helping out with a twitter chat on optimal cord clamping, and she replied almost straight away I felt as though I’d won the lottery. But this isn’t unusual – on twitter, your contribution counts as much as anyone else’s – anything can happen! Where else can you chat with support workers, heads of midwifery, gynaecologists and MBEs? One moment I’ll be retweeting a fellow student about an article I’ve found on perineal trauma, the next I’m participating in a book club twitter chat (@Adsthepoet) and listening to my favourite tunes at #TwitterDisco (@jennytheM). The midwifery community is growing rapidly on twitter, as is the student midwifery community, but we need more of us on there. Nationally midwives follow @MidwivesRCM and their magazine @Midwivesmag to discover the latest news and most up to date research regarding midwifery in the UK, you can be a part of it too.

Never has there been a time when we have needed to stand together and form a collective voice as now: the scrapping of England’s bursary for student midwives, the uncertainty over midwives’ role on the NMC, drastic changes to Supervisors of Midwives – we need a united tweet from all of us, standing up for students’ and midwives’ rights in England and the UK as a whole, change is afoot and the best place to be to make a difference is on twitter.

It’s easy! Follow these steps:

Sign up on twitter (twitter.com)

Put a picture on your account

Put in some details about yourself including that you’re a student midwife or midwife

Don’t forget your hashtags – these are keywords which allow you to easily follow topics you are interested in

Remember to follow the NMC’s guidelines on social media and find out what policies your place of work or university have in place – it is mostly common sense

Below are some suggestions of who to follow to get you up and running. You’ll be tweeting in no time! Please connect with me @CharleneSTMW and we can make a difference together.

@MidwivesRCM

@Midwivesmag

@CovUniMidwives

@RCM_SMF

@WeMidwives

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