Written by: Melissa Buehler, SPT
The pressure to be a part of Twitter as a #DPTstudent is real. It can be key to “networking” and keeping up-to-date on breaking news, scholarship opportunities and conferences. When I first joined Twitter, I was a little lost on what exactly to do… I knew I was supposed to network, but how do you do that?! Not only did I have to find people to “follow” in order to make anything happen when I logged on, but I also had to figure out how to use hashtags and limit my message to just 140 characters.
The purpose of this post isn’t to provide you with another list of people to follow on Twitter, but is meant to be used more as an introductory to getting involved in the Twitter world (aka networking). Since I am relative newcomer (member since Fall 2015), I have reached out to some of the more active people on Twitter to see what their take is on networking & tweeting.
Social media networks are plentiful. We have Facebook, Snap Chat, Instagram, Linked In, Twitter, etc. all at our disposal. For me, in order to have so many different accounts, I have to validate their existence. For example, Linked In is my public resume, Twitter is my Physical Therapy network, Facebook is my social network, Instagram is closer friends and Snap Chat is just fun. When I asked Dr. Ben Fung to explain what he uses the different accounts for, he stated that:
Twitter to me means jobs. Facebook/Instagram is really more your personal brand. Linked In is a cold connection card. Snapchat is your daily, unfiltered reality.
But, now you might be wondering…. how does networking on social media really play out?!! Dr. Ben Fung elaborates,
” What professionals need to understand is that the appearance of personal brand segmentation just simply doesn’t exist… whether this is peer-to-peer, business-to-consumer, or business-to-business. It’s ALL part of one big pattern called the digital footprint. They key here is consistency. Consistent content. Consistent audience per platform. Consistent voice. Consistent appearance. You need to give the image that you are the same person… that things aren’t an act for you. Ultimately, when networking… people are people, even when they are “professionals.” And, people want to network with people they like… that are authentic and genuine.” – Dr. Ben Fung
In order to help you create your “personal brand” via digital footprint, we’re going to start with a little Twitter 101.
A little background…
Twitter has been around since 2006. In 2016 it had 310 million monthly active users with 40 million tweets by 10pm every day during the Presidential Race in 2016 (Wikipedia). One unique aspect of Twitter is that posts are limited to 140 characters. This prevents the users from posting novels and promotes creativity. Adding hashtags, tagging people and symbols help people reach a wider audience. When you first open your twitter home page, your live feed will be posts that people you “follow” tweet. Likewise, all of your tweets will go to your followers. You can dive in deeper by using apps, such as Tweet Deck (see below) to follow hashtags, or utilize the “List” feature on your account.
In 2015, Twitter acquired Periscope, an app that streams live videos to a user’s followers. It is similar to Facebook Live except the videos disappear after 24 hours. This allows people to provide a longer, more interactive message to the public or their followers. Jeff Moore may be the most consistent PT user of Periscope, reaching listeners every weekday morning for over the past year!
Composing a good tweet can be viewed as an art form. Everyone has their own style and intention behind their symbols & words. In order to understand this art form better, I reached out to several of my colleagues to get their opinions on how to compose a good tweet.
“Be authentic. Be you. Be professional. Ask questions. Engage in the conversation, even if it’s between students or clinicians who don’t follow you, YET. Don’t be afraid to compose a question to another student OR any of the “big names” of our profession”
“When composing tweets, I think it’s important to know what your goal with the tweet is. If you want to maximize it’s reach, you should add a picture. Pictures let you tag 10 people in addition to using your characters which lets you vastly increase the amount of people you can tweet at. I do this during #GetPT1st takeovers and tag celebrities using a picture related to them in some way.”
For me, personally, Twitter has two main objectives: to educate or to be educated. These two are the main focus when I compose a post or reading one. As a student, I spend more time retweeting and adding in a piece of commentary, as needed. I use twitter to highlight the great things about this profession… Post, retweet, and highlight.
Content. Content. Content. AND, Consistency! I have a blog post called “3 E’s of Excellent Content” – Engaging, Entertaining, Educational. People are attracted to people who share their story, deliver helpful information, converse in a positive and non-critical manner, and demonstrate genuine care for their colleagues. Do that with a dash of smart hashtags, be consistent… and, you’ll be part of the conversation soon enough!
Tweetdeck is an app that you can install on your computer which helps organize tweets by topics. I found this particularly useful when I first opened a Twitter account. You can organize each column by hashtags is very helpful for staying up-to-date on opportunities available for students.
Knowing a few hot hashtags to follow will help you make the most of the app. Here are a few to check out:
#dptstudent • #freshPT • #GetPT1st • #ChoosePT • #PTFam • #AAOMPT • #FreeTheYoke • #bizPT • #PopHealthPT • #lifelonglearner • #neversettle • #PTAstudent • #brandPT • #PelvicMafia • #PTPAC • #PTadvocacy
Who to follow?
Ok, Ok, I said this wasn’t going to be a “Who to follow” post, but what’s an introduction to Twitter without a few suggestions on who to follow? If you are looking for something more thorough, you can use Ben Fung’s “PT & Healthcare All Stars List on Twitter” or New Grad PT’s Physical Therapy Accounts You Need to Follow to find some good people to connect with. Otherwise, start with these guys!
Orthopaedic Manual Therapy:
Erson Religioso • Chad Cook • John Childs • Tim Flynn • Trent Salo • Mike Reiman • James Dunning • Justin Dunaway • Jeff Moore • Paul Mintken • Eric Robertson • Amy Pakula • Maggie Henjum
BJSM • Zach Long • Mitch Babcock • Mike Reinold • Lenny Macrina • Dave Tilley • John Rusin • Eric Cressey • Dan Pope • Clinical Athlete • Movement Fix
Ben Fung • Gene Shirokobrod • Jerry Durham • Karen Litzy • Ann Wendel • Steven Anderson • Larry Benz • John Childs • Andrew Bennet
Brooke McIntosh • Efosa Guobadia • Josh D’Angelo • Joe Brence • Mike Connors • Sharon Dunn • Stephanie Weyrauch • Justin Moore • Kendra Lucas • Joe Black • Jillian Carney
APTAPSA • Alexis Morgan • Zac Morgan • Tera Gwaltney • Aimee Depelteau • Alan Fredendall • Melissa Buehler • Dy’mire Jones • Jared Aguilar • Cruz Romero • Will Boyd • Rachel Jermann • Sean Sebeck • Beth Horn• Ian MacMurdie • Megan Roos • Katie Leitner • Michelle Wynne • Eddie Smith • Ky Pak • Alli Breakey • Ryan Maddrey • Ron Peacock Jr • Jillian Tanych • Matt Nape • James McAfee • Ali Hartman • Jordan Berry • Joe Daniels • Dan Crusoe • Rachel Selina • Kate Wason • Rush Hendricks • Alex Savage • Kayla Keckeisen • Lexi Lou • Cindi Rauert
The Twitter world can be overwhelming and some what intimidating. But only you can make your professional digital footprint, and this has to be one of the easiest and effective ways to network. You don’t even have to get off the couch (the American Dream). So do it. Create your account, choose a handful of people to follow and see where it will take you! And here’s some final advice from Dr. Jeff Moore,
“Don’t worry about “getting followers”, that’s a cheesy way to use social media. You should be on there to track people you respect with intent to learn a ton, and progressively to share content that you feel is valuable to the forward movement of our profession. Focus on those things and the rest will take care of itself. Remember, you want a QUALITY circle, not a BIG circle” – Jeff Moore, PT