Did you participate in our recent IFNA Twitter chat using #IFNAChat? Want to learn more about what a Twitter chat is and how IFNA is using this platform? Then read on!

Twitter chats use the microblogging platform to conduct discussions around preselected topics in real time. Often scheduled for an hour, many organizations use Twitter chats to engage members or the general public, or to disseminate information. For example, I recently participated in a Twitter chat hosted by the Gerontological Society of America (@geronsociety) and the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (@ElderCareTeam) for Careers in Aging Week. Twitter chats have become quite popular. In fact, some Twitter accounts are set up solely to host and moderate Twitter chats, such as @AlzChat.

Twitter chats use specific hashtags so that the discussion can be easily followed by participants. For example, the Careers in Aging Week Twitter chat this month used the hashtag #CIAW. On Twitter, these hashtags become clickable links that allow you to see all tweets containing this tag. For IFNA Twitter chats, we’re using #IFNAChat.

So why is IFNA conducting Twitter chats? These chats are another initiative from the IFNA Communications Committee spearheaded by co-chair Wilma Schroeder to increase engagement among members. Last week, Wilma moderated our first #IFNAChat on Twitter. The discussion and questions were focused on the IFNA position statement for family nursing generalist competencies. The chat was conducted in two waves at different times to include as many of our worldwide IFNA membership. The transcript of the chat has been archived on Storify.

Future IFNA Twitter chats are scheduled for the third week of each month and will focus on three broad areas of interest: education, practice, and research. The next #IFNAChat will be May 18 for those in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and North and South America, and May 19 for those in Asia and Australia. I will be moderating the chat and the topic will be the IFNA position statement on pre-licensure family nursing education. The graphic below illustrates times for global locations for each hour of the #IFNAChat.




New to Twitter chats and not sure how to participate? Here are basics.

  1. First, you’re going to need a Twitter account and it would be a good idea if you follow @IFNAorg.
  2. Use the maps above to determine when the #IFNAChat will be happening in your location and join us during either hour.
  3. Questions will be tweeted from the moderator throughout the hour. The tweets will begin with Q1, Q2, Q3, and so on to identify the questions. When responding to a particular question, begin your tweet with A1, A2, A3, and so on depending on which question you are answering.
  4. Be sure to include the #IFNAChat in all of your tweets during the chat so that they appear in the thread and can be archived.
  5. Have fun and enjoy the discussion!

Here is a brief YouTube video with more information on joining a Twitter chat.

Finally, do you have ideas for a future Twitter chat? Tweet these ideas to @IFNAorg using #IFNAChat. Alternating, you can tweet your ideas to Wilma (@wschroederMMFT) or me (@JoelAndersonPhD).

Joel G. Anderson, PhD, CHTP, is a member of the IFNA Communications Committee. His research focuses on support of family caregivers and persons with dementia. He uses social media as one way of examining the family caregiving experience. You can follow him on Twitter at @JoelAndersonPhD.