I don’t know about you, perhaps you were working, but my new year usually announces its arrival with a dancing display of gold, silver and blue as fireworks cascade through the midnight sky.

The colours reflected in the upturned, happy, optimistic faces with determined thoughts of beach-bodies and new studies.

As the excitement subsides and the decorations are swept away so are our resolutions and the private promises we make to ourselves. Life has a habit of getting in the way.

Don’t give up! This time of the year creates a new punctuation mark, a second chance… but instead of looking up, we must look down.

Beneath our feet mother nature is getting ready.

In quiet corners the advance guard of snow drops is proof, the renewed year is getting ready.

Spring bulbs have woken up and already they are inching through. Look carefully, the tips are breaking the soil with the guarantee of a blaze of spring gold.

A proper new beginning. The real new year with its sun and promise is on the way.

Winter is the time to plan and plot. Spring is the time for action. This is the time of year when resolutions should be made.

This is the time for a fresh start.

What will it be? A new you? Something new to do? Places to go? New people? Learn something?

For a group of nurse’s it has been a stunning start. They wanted to learn something new and together they are, with a vengeance!

They wanted to learn about social media. How to use it properly.

We all have FaceBook and Twitter and What’s App and the rest but do we really get the best from them?

For as much as they might be destroying conversation and distracting vulnerable youth, social media must also be a force for good.

How well I remember the palaver we had to go through, to make sure simple messages were included in the pay packets of 5,000 staff and colleagues.

Now, cheap-as-chips software means a Trust chief executive could text every member of staff, every day, with some good news…

I wonder how many bother.

A Trust’s FB page should be an instant source of sharing, best practice and success. Celebrating the good things that are happening in the organisation.

I wonder how many bother?

People want to work where they feel special.

Communication is more than the message. It’s a feeling… feeling wanted, included and cared about. It’s not the message, it’s the thought.

The message that starts;

‘I thought you would like to know…’ or, ‘I saw this and thought of you….’

The new platforms of communication are so much more than message handling. They are the launch-point for learning.

Social media means we can learn from each other and from unexpected sources. Learning without borders. Learning from each other. Sharing knowledge.

The nurses, on their mission, are stoma-care nurses. A specialist skill, there’re too few of them and getting together is difficult.

They managed it; Coloplast created the venue and space and they spent the day with @AgencyNurse, @gbtpo to learn how to use social media, properly, effectively and have fun.

Understanding time-lines, hashtags and all the subtleties and tricks of the trade advertisers and professionals use, to extend their reach and influence.

They set about their task and before they knew it they were talking not just to each other but stoma nurses in other countries and more important, patients, families and carers.

In less than a week 144 people have shared and networked using the hashtag #StomaNursesAddingValue sending over a 1000 tweets with a total reach of over 8 million!

The full, Tweet-Chat data set is here and it’s a must look, fabulous and 48hrs later sharing and contacts are still rattling around the system.

It’s an astonishing result in such a short time. For free, they’ve;

• got to know each other,

• included patients,

• gained experience,

• talked through problems and solutions

• shared ideas

• know-how and

• learned how to support each other.

Contact is a keyboard away, answers a few clicks and the world’s knowledge, of this very special specialty, at their fingertips.

Coming together, sharing and it’s free. A global university of the likeminded.

They’ve made the new year work for them; relationships blossom, knowledge grow and friendships bear fruit.

Spring, it’s the time for genius.

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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.