Travelers Guide to Social Media

Staying in Touch on Assignment: A Travelers Guide to Social Media

As a travel nurse, being on assignment away from home is a great way to vacation and work at the same time, but unlike a normal vacation, free time is hard to come by. With the excitement of a new city, the unfamiliarity of a new work environment, interesting people to meet, and famous attractions to see, keeping in touch with loved ones can be a recurring entry on your laundry list of chores – right above 'do laundry'.

In lieu of sending cryptic emails ("Hi mom, Taking good care of myself. Enjoying my new job. Will call soon." "Hi dad, Doing fine. Talk to mom for details."), photo prints by snail mail, or DVDs of trip highlights for every member of the family, travel nurses have alternatives. Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and LiveJournal allow their users to correspond with friends and family through text, photos, videos, and voice recordings from their own homes or mobile devices while on the go.

In recent years, the popularity of such sites has skyrocketed, forcing them to add new applications and features in order to stay popular. According to Rubicon Consulting, sixty-five percent of web users agreed that they are very satisfied with the social media site(s) that they belong to, yet the same percentage strongly agreed with the statement 'I ignore invitations to a new site.' Some of these "ignored" sites actually have beneficial features for a busy travel nurse; keep these advantages in mind before rejecting the next invitation to one of the following sites:

Facebook logoWith over 250 million users and a 700 % increase in total minutes spent on the site from April 2008 to April, Facebook is the world's fastest growing social media site.  Use it to communicate with Onward Healthcare, as well as:

  • 'Tag' photos of new friends, exciting places, and view family members' and friends' comments.
  • 'Friend lists' to filter which friends have access to certain photos, wall posts, and personal information.
  • 'Message threads' allow you to send a single message or update to a group of people. Their responses and later messages will be sent to the whole group to keep everyone informed. 

Twitter logoAccording to Nielsen Online's recent study, Twitter has grown 1,928 % from June 2008 to June 2009, now with 21 million unique monthly visitors.

  • 'Tweet' with friends and family with quick updates about your daily activities and exciting events.
  • 'Follow' your medical staffing company and receive updates about job opportunities, new recruiters, and informative articles.

Flickr logoFlickr sets the standard for photo sharing, storing, and editing online.  Sixty-nine million viewers visit the site per month for its free and unique features.

  • 'Edit' photos with many of the capabilities of professional software.
  • 'Share' photos with friends and family.  Be sure to set privacy settings so strangers cannot view or take your candid snapshots.
  • 'Map' out your travels.  Flickr places photos on a colorful map of your new city.
  • 'Stamp' your next letter home with a custom postage stamp created to feature a photo from your assignment.

Youtube logoDespite the site's 10 minute run-time limitation, its easy-to-use “upload” feature allows YouTube top choice for video sharing web-users.

  • 'Favorite' which videos you like by placing them on your most viewed, spotlight, or rising video lists.
  • 'Protect' videos that you upload to share with family and friends by applying privacy settings, or…
  • 'Show off' the life of a travel nurse to other YouTube visitors.
  • 'Watch' testimonials from your favorite medical staffing company recruiters and post responses.

Livejournal logoToday's modern version of allowing your family and friends to read your diary has become a popular social media option for travelers, students, and professionals who wish to stay in touch with people at home. LiveJournal is community oriented, requiring new users to be invited by current members.

  • 'Take ownership' of your page by formatting and decorating it to suit its purpose and your personality.
  • 'Transfer photos' from Flickr and display them in a rotating slideshow in the margin.
  • 'Record' your voice updates from a cell phone and upload them while on the go.

Keep in mind that regardless of the advertised security of any given site, it is always advisable to personalize your privacy settings to maximum protection.

Travel nurses can conveniently find healthcare staffing companies on Facebook and Twitter, communicate with representatives, post photos of their assignments, and receive information about the healthcare field and available positions. Be sure to visit Onward Healthcare on these sites, as well as explore Flickr, YouTube, and LiveJournal as means for self expression and personal communication.

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