Tag Archives: twitter

Tips on Twitter

Hands up if you love a hashtag?
*Puts hand straight up*

Yes here on The Adoption Social we do like a hashtag, and we’ve had some great hashtag initiatives recently from the Twitter community – #TakingCare, #HowAreYou, #TakingCare100 and our own #WASO too.

So we’ve thought of a new one that might help with a bit more sharing of tips, resources and general usefulness – Adoption Tips or #Adotips. 1421672780517

There is such a wealth of knowledge out there and we want you to share it. Whether it’s a parenting tip, recommended website, strategy, technique, course, book, blog or even another Tweeter that has been particularly inspiring or helpful. Just make sure you add the hashtag in your tweet and we’ll share it, and try to offer a regular round up here on The Adoption Social.
And if you see an #Adotips tweet that you agree/disagree with or can add to, then please do.

What I need from Post Adoption Support

I am a 40 something adopter of a wonderful 7 year old boy. He was placed with my husband and I nearly 6 years ago and my goodness has it been a rollercoaster ride of wonderful highs and some absolutely dreadful lows.

Currently after a traumatic house move to a new area we are experiencing a new kind of low and there have been moments when I didn’t think we could ever move forwards and upwards again. To be brutally honest there were times I wanted off the ride altogether. In desperation we sought help from our Local Authority.

I have now experienced attempts to gain Post Adoption Support from 2 Local Authorities but what I have found is that both services are woefully inadequate and barely fit for purpose. My son has survived the most appalling abuse and neglect, he has suffered greatly in the hands of an education system that didn’t want to understand him (but that’s a whole different story) and it seems he is to be failed by Post Adoption Services that don’t have the experience, resources or it seems desire to support him. Aside from a few training courses of mixed quality and an occasional newsletter we have received no input at all, financial, therapeutic or otherwise.

What I need from Post Adoption Support is really very simple and I summarised it in a series of Twitter posts to get it off my very angry chest:

What I need from Post Adoption Support:

1. Clear contact details. An email address that works and a phone line available daily that is actually answered.

2. A helpline answered by someone knowledgeable about and sympathetic to adoption issues. No criticism please and no being passed around the system.

3. Absolute transparency about what support is available and how long I have to wait to access it. I can’t ask for it if I don’t know it exists!

4. Acceptance that I am the expert on my child and that I might actually have a valid opinion on what he might need.

5. Phone calls that are returned and emails answered within a reasonable time frame. Days, not weeks or longer please!

6. Clear signposting to adoption allowances, benefits and grants etc.

7. Full disclosure of background information pertaining to my child.

8. A later life letter. This was due 10 days after the adoption order but 6 years later I still find myself waiting for it.

9. Timely support. When at crisis point people can’t wait for weeks for a meeting and then months for assessments to get help, they need input fast.

10. Up to date signposting of organisations, groups and individuals that can help.

11. Please Post Adoption Support when you know people are really struggling and even though you may not be able to help quickly, give follow up calls to check on the situation and show that you care.

12. Help to meet other adopters. Support groups, social events, buddy systems and coffee groups. The most valuable help I have had has come from fellow adopters but PAS should be able to either facilitate adopter groups or at least put me in touch with people in a similar situation.

13. A programme of regular events for children, not just under 5’s. Something for every school holiday would be wonderful, not necessarily free but affordable or subsidised in some way.

14. Regular training on a wide range of issues. I know good speakers are costly so I would be prepared to contribute to costs sometimes.

15. Respite. Just a few hours occasionally at a weekend so I can spend some time with my husband while my son has fun in a nurturing and understanding environment with other adoptees.

16. No judgement of the fact that we have previously sought private support for our son. We did so with the best of intentions; to get timely appropriate help. Our financial circumstances have now changed and we can’t afford to privately fund support but the fact we did in the past should not be held against us.

17. “You will have to keep badgering us.” No Post Adoption Support I shouldn’t have to “keep badgering” you for help, you need to offer a professional service. Picking up the phone admitting we needed serious help was incredibly difficult for us to do. We are currently at our lowest ever point in the adoption process and struggling through every hour of every day with our son. “Badgering” the very people who should be at the forefront of helping us shouldn’t be something I have to add to my list of stresses.

My list could go on (and on) but the points above are the key ones. Post adoption Support Services are under immense strain, I get that, I really do but some of the above cost little or nothing. They are courtesy’s to families who have embraced fantastic but very damaged and traumatised children. My quirky, funny, intelligent but deeply troubled little boy deserves better. So much better!

Thanks so much to @CrusoePoll for sharing these tweets as a full post – I know many of us would want the same from post adoption support teams across the country. What would you add to your wishlist?

 

 

Weekly Adoption Shout Out – #WASO Week 91

1414358832111Happy Hallowe’en, Samain and All Hallow’s Eve. And we mustn’t forget the Day of the Dead, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day all coming up.

As well as being the date of a lot of festivals and saints days, it’s also Friday which means it’s time for the Weekly Adoption Shout Out (#WASO)to begin! As always, the linky is open from Friday to Sunday, and we welcome all bloggers who write about, or are in some way connected to adoption.

If you’ve never taken part in #WASO before, then don’t worry, it’s as simple as copying and pasting the web address of your blog post into the form below. Add your email address and a title for your blog post and then your post will appear in the list with lots of others. This means that people who want to read adoption blogs can find them all in the same place, and you might pick up new readers.

We share as many blog posts as we can through our social networks, and encourage people who visit your blog to leave you a comment – we ask that you also read a couple and leave a comment if you can – make sure you include the #WASO hashtag, so those bloggers know how you found them.

We offer an optional theme every other week – use it for inspiration if you like, or perhaps you’ve already written a post that ties in? This week, our theme is ’embracing online support’ and we’re looking forward to hearing about your best and favourite digital methods of support.

But that’s enough from me, here’s the linky – go paste your post and get reading…


How to tweet without being on Twitter

Have you ever noticed those tweets that seem to perfectly coincide with the time you sit down with a cuppa? Or just as you’ve got home from the school run?

Some of the most interesting blog posts I read are those I find through clicking on a tweeted link that pops onto my feed between 9.05am and 10am. A lot of the other interesting ones come through around 8.30pm when I’m sitting relaxing after getting the kids to bed.

Did you ever wonder how that happens? I mean, surely people aren’t just sitting there ready to send those tweets at precisely the right time are they?

I’ve recently started using Twuffer, an app designed to allow you to schedule tweets so you can send them exactly when you need to, without being anywhere near a phone or computer. This is especially useful if you know (from your blog stats) what sort of time your readers usually visit your blog because you can target your tweets – especially with those containing links to your blog – when you know your readers are online.
Similarly if you have blog posts scheduled for e.g when you’re on holiday, you can still promote your post by scheduling a tweet or 5, for whilst you’re away.
Screenshot 2014-09-17 11.30.23
And in all honesty, we use it on The Adoption Social because we’re busy mums who can’t always be on Twitter. But we want to share our posts and other information with you throughout the day rather than bombarding you for half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening!

So Twuffer. Log in with your Twitter account and it’ll ask permission to post on Twitter on your behalf. Simply type your tweet in the box, and select your date and time below it. Hit schedule tweet and it’s done!
You can view all your scheduled tweets, see which have been posted, and which have failed (usually through duplication rather than any errors). Screenshot 2014-09-17 11.30.14It’s free to use, and unbelievably easy. If you’re pasting links to your posts in, you might want to shorten them first, else they take up the Twitter character limit – here’s a post on how to use Bitly to do just that.

There’s nothing like interaction though, so don’t schedule all your tweets – make sure you actually converse, retweet and share…but do remember this useful tool.

How to make the most of 140 characters

Twitter.

Some of us love it, some of us hate it. However you feel about it, there’s no denying that many use it for support.
For bloggers, it provides a useful way of sharing our posts. Simple – copy and paste a link to your blogpost, tell people a bit about what they can expect from the post, then hit publish right?

Except for some of us the blog post’s URL is so long, there’s not much left of those 140 pesky little characters that Twitter allow us. That’s not something to complain about, because quite frankly if Twitter allowed longer tweets, they wouldn’t be tweets would they? They’d be full on birdsong. However, if you have a blog with a long name, a category name, then a post with a long title, 140 characters is just not going to give you enough space to tease your readers, grab attention or even add a hashtag.

So what to do?
Today, I’m going to tell you about link shortening. There are quite a few websites out there that offer this service and a quick search online will give you lots of results. However, the one that I prefer is Bitly. And that’s because it’s easy, free, and I can see how popular a given link is.

It’s free and simple to shorten a link. Head to Bitly.com, paste in the long version of your link, hit ‘Shorten’ and voila, you’ll have a short link that you can copy and paste, using up less of your precious character allowance.

For statistics, and when I say statistics, I mean you can see exactly how many people have used the shortened link to visit your post, you’ll need to create a free account.
For the purposes of this post I’ve opened a new account for The Adoption Social. To do the same, simply head over to Bitly.com, click on  ‘Sign up For Free’.
bitly homepageThen you’ll see a screen like this, where you can register either by email, Facebook or Twitter. I used our Twitter account, because it seemed as easy as any other, and because we’ll mostly be using shortened bitly links on Twitter.

Screenshot 2014-04-04 13.54.57

After following the instructions (i.e allowing access to your Twitter account, and inputting your email address) you’ll go to your Bitly homepage. It’s a bit like a dashboard of all the short links you’ve made. You can search through them here – useful if you create lots.

As with those without accounts, simply paste your long link in, and Bitly will convert it to a short link for you. Just hit copy to copy the link onto your computer’s clipboard, then hit Ctrl+V to paste into your tweet. So simple. (From this dashboard though, you can not only copy, but share and email your Bitly links too).

Under each Bitly link you’ll also see the number of clicks that link has had. See below – I only created these links a couple of minutes ago, and haven’t shared them, so you’ll see they’ve had 0 clicks. This will help you see which of your links have been most popular. Screenshot 2014-04-04 13.58.21Here you can also change the privacy of your links from public to private. You can create bundles of bitly links which you can keep private or share with friends. You can add notes against each link. You can even develop a network of your own.

For me though, just being able to conserve some of my Twitter characters for some interesting text is a good enough reason to use this site.

If you use other link shortening sites, please do share them below – tell us your favourites and why.

Making Twitter manageable

Time to talk Twitter – and how to turn it into bite-sized chunks!

It’s a bit overwhelming sometimes isn’t it? You’ve got a couple of hundred followers, maybe more and in turn, you’re following another couple of hundred and your timeline is stacked full of tweets that – although you want to – you know you’re never going to be able to keep up with.

And then there are those odd days where you might not want to see a load of adoption related tweets – you’ve opened up Twitter for a bit of light relief and just want to see a few giggly tweets from your favourite comedians.

So, how can you a) keep up, and b) filter out tweets (and tweeters) for a bit?

Lists

No, no, you don’t have to sit there with a paper and pen (thought you can if you want) to make a list of your favourite tweeters!
Twitter has this handy little tool that allows you to make online lists of people that you’re following – you can make one or lots, you can make them private or public.

Finding the list section on Twitter

Log into Twitter. Click on the settings icon in the corner and you’ll see the drop down list appear, then click on ‘lists’.

How to find lists

If you haven’t set any up yet, there’ll be nothing here, but you can see that so far we’ve set up 3 lists on The Adoption Social’s account.

Getting organised

So, have a think about how you want to organise your Twitter feeds. Perhaps you have favourite tweeters….you could put them in a list. Perhaps you want to keep all your adoption related contacts together, so set up a list for them. You might want to put all your blogger friends in another list, or even family members in another.
This is whether the public/private thing comes in. If you don’t want the world knowing who is related to you, then I suggest you set a family list as private. If you’re setting up a favourites list, but don’t want to offend everyone else who isn’t your favourite, you could set that up as private too. Your public lists can be seen by other people so just be aware of that.

 Setting up a list

In the image above, can you see a button called ‘Create List’ above our list titles? Click on it.
You’ll see this:Creating a new list

Here you can fill in the details of the list. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Once you’ve hit ‘Save list’ it’ll appear in your list of lists.

Then you can set about adding members to it.

Adding tweeters to a list

To add people to a list, click on the list title. Here you’ll see a search box and you can type in the names of the tweeters you want to include. I find this a bit fiddly, and tend to forget people.
So I do it via the ‘Following page’. This is the page where you can see all your followers and you can select a list for each and every person (if you wanted), or can easily scroll through and add the right people to your lists.Adding to your list

This is what your following page looks like. Click on that little person icon, then ‘add/remove from lists’. The following page

From there you’ll see a pop-up box and you can select the tick boxes beside the list you want to include that tweeter in.

You can do this for every single person you follow if you like, and categorise them into one of a number of lists, or you can just add to a few important lists. Then when you log into twitter you can either view your whole timeline, or you can view just one or two lists which makes it all much more manageable.

Do you think you might give it a go? If you need more help, then drop us a line we’re happy to help.

My Twitter Life from @Adoption12

Here @Adoption12 tells us all about here love for twitter and the surprising other character she tweets as……

adoption12I’ve just been searching for a dictionary definition of “family” but all I found were varying descriptions of “people living under the same roof”. Well, if you can class twitter as a roof, then I certainly have a family under it.
I started tweeting about 2 years ago, firstly (don’t laugh) through our cat! He has 929 followers! About 500 more than my other 3 twitter accounts put together! Mad? Yes! Fun? Definitely! I realised that twitter is about finding a main interest (in the cats case it was my interest in animal welfare – signing & RT’ing petitions etc) and once you reach out others with the same interest reach back.
This proved to be invaluable when, in 2012, we decided to go through the adoption process after our attempt at IVF failed.

Something made me set up a twitter account immediately on deciding and, originally, it was going to be a daily diary for myself.

I never imagined in a million years that, just over a year later, I would be in touch with lots of other like minded, lovely people, daily, who have gone through or are going through exactly the same things as me and offering such wonderful support that I always assumed would come from “real life” friends and family.

I started tentatively, little tweets here and there, and then something lovely started to happen. I started receiving little supportive tweets back, advice that I thoroughly appreciated, I felt totally supported by people I didn’t even know.


In the time I’ve been on twitter I feel the family of people on there has become extremely strong. We’ve all got to know each other, as much as you can do over the air waves (or whatever you call it nowadays – digital waves?! *shrugs* I don’t know!)
We offer each other support now and  it’s really comforting knowing that somebody will come to your aid if you tweet you’re having issues or just that you’re having a bad day. It’s also really lovely to be able to offer that support back. If you see someone is having a bad day you make yourself available for them.
And we don’t just tweet support and advice about adoption, we talk and laugh about everything. Just recently we started a healthy eating campaign amongst ourselves! It appears adopters need chocolate cake a LOT! And so we’ve embarked on a #wecandothis campaign and we tweet the healthy things we’ve eaten. I know I wouldn’t have started without my twitter buddies.

There’s something very different about twitter when it comes to adopters. It doesn’t feel like shallow social media. It feels like home!


And in the end I did find a definition of “family” in the, always funny, Urban dictionary (try searching your own name!) I think it sums my twitter family up perfectly…
Family;
People you love and love you back, not neccessarily blood or biological, but you trust them and they trust you, and they take care of you and you take care of them.

Tweet with @Adoption12 and read her blog  Hoops and Hurdles

My Twitter Life from @PuffinDiaries

Today, co-founder of The Adoption Social, Sarah from The Puffin Diaries tells us how she discovered Twitter…

twitterlife

 

When I joined twitter I was sceptical about it, as I think a lot of people are. I’ve had friends join, who just can’t get the hang of it or fail to see its merits. I was at the time sewing and making things, also selling vintage bits and pieces on Etsy so I joined really as a way of promoting this venture and to connect with other crafting and making folk.

I think one evening I decided to do an “adoption” search and there before me unfolded a new world.

Afraid of mixing my two personas, crafter and adopter, I opened a new Twitter account under the name @adoptionbliss. It was meant in all ways to be humorous, as bliss was far from what my life felt like at times. We were five and a half years into our adoption and it felt like a lonely place.

I tentatively reached out to a couple of people who had popped up in my search, feeling a little awkward and embarrassed; it can be very daunting taking those first steps. Almost worse than approaching a stranger at a party or gathering, in that instance there is more for you to read into, their body language, a welcoming face or a friendly smile. Easier really to detect the possibilities of rejection. Anyway in I plunged and to my surprise and delight, people seemed friendly, introduced me to others and soon I was chatting away and share snippets about myself and my family. From those early days I very much remember @BoysBehaviour, @SallyDWrites, @On_the_edge , @Purdy2233 and @jayandaitch to name a few.

I really did feel elation at having discovered a community where I could truly share my life and feel that it was understood. Initially I also found it all very addictive and soon found myself, glued to my phone or stuck behind my laptop.

The twitter community felt like such a great place to be, often much better than what was going on around me at home.

As I explained in Me and My Blog, Twitter did soon lead me into the world of blogging and the birth of The Puffin Diaries. When I started blogging I started a blog and didn’t intend for it to really be an adoption blog, I still believe that’s not really what it is. I found I was just really taken by the whole world of blogging in general. Because of this I was soon following lots of bloggers of all shapes and sizes through twitter. As my confidence grew I would make little comments were I thought appropriate, to anyone I felt seemed friendly, or whose writings I enjoyed. Soon I was building up quite a circle of twitter friends.

What I love about twitter is how very instant it is, on the most. You dip in and out, pop into conversations, and join in a feed, with whoever is about at the same time as you. Sometimes it’s very quiet and at others times you’re down to twenty characters for your response, so many have joined in.

Either way it gives me a little escapism sometimes and often makes me smile or laugh.

Other times its brilliance is in the empathy it can provide. I recently tweeted about having been in a very dark, depressive place and the amount of people who responded and contacted me to make sure I was ok was really overwhelming. People out there truly are very kind and that kindness helps feed the soul and makes the world a better place, in my mind. In return I try to support others I can see are struggling, reaching out with a few kind words is the very least I can do to help someone whose finding things tough. The adoption community on twitter are particularly good at helping each other through bad times and on a couple of occasions I know the support of many tweeters has pulled me through.

Nowadays I know I’m not as twitter crazy as I was at one time, but I still love very much, sitting down with a cup of tea and finding out what’s going on out there in twitter land. It’s never disappointing, often enlightening and always a very enjoyable place to be.

Tweet with me here @puffindiaries

My Twitter Life by @KatSwrites

Today’s post from @KatSwrites is part of our My Twitter Life series. Twitter has helped so many people connect with each other, and it can be a useful tool for support…

katswrites

Social networking had been one of those things I had only used with slight interest. I rarely went on Facebook and used Twitter to follow celebrities and pop culture news.

Then, in March 2013, I started blogging about my life growing up adopted and read that to promote a blog, it was important to use social networking sites. I set up my Twitter account with no expectations really. I figured maybe a handful of people might read my blog.

What happened next still blows me away.

I connected.

I found adoptees, first moms, adoptive parents, adoption reform activists and organizations that have fully impacted my life. I have formed amazing relationships with some Twitter folk that extend beyond Twitter. I became involved in the issues that adoptees face. I have met some of these people in real life and found them to be supportive in both the real world and online arenas. They have made me a better writer and more importantly, a better listener.

I witnessed.

I see what is happening in people’s lives. When a fellow adoptee is having a bad day, or is anxious about reunion, I see that. I have witnessed my Twitter friends deal with adoption issues, big issues, little issues and … life. I have taken part in groups such as #WASO (weekly adoption shout out) and watched it grow into The Adoption Social. I have witnessed fundraising for documentaries showing adoptee’s stories and seen those efforts met. These are amazing stories that I have witnessed happening!

I listened.

I have learned to step back and really listen. There is nothing like getting into a debate over a misinterpretation due to the 140 character limit to make you stop and think before overreacting the next time. Now I try to see the other person’s perspective. It doesn’t mean that I will not continue to state my point of view as well, but I try to HEAR what the other person is saying.

I learned.

I started out wanting to share my experience from which others may learn. Now that has changed. Maybe someone will take something from what I write, maybe not. That is okay because the knowledge that others have shared with me, far outweighs my own writing.

I learned to not make blanket statements. I learned to read links that people tweet. I learned to comment on blogs to connect with others. I learned to think before I tweet. I learned to get informed. I learned to see different perspectives, even if I disagreed. I learned to listen!

I have learned about the issues of adoptees. For example, one issue is the sealing of original birth certificates. Through Twitter, I was able to become involved in the Adoptee Rights Demonstration just last week.

I have learned about what some first moms have experienced. The openness with which they share their stories has amazed me, and their conversations regarding adoption ethics have made me think.

I have learned about the adoptive parent experience. Countless APs have shared their perspectives, insecurities and triumphs with me. They have stood beside adoptees and made our issues their issues.

Twitter is more than just a website. It’s a portal to an amazing community.

For me, Twitter is a Listen, Learn, Witness and Connect world!

Share with me on Twitter at @KatSwrites or on my blog www.sisterwish.com

Me & My Blog – New Pyjamas

New PyjamasEver thought about blogging? Not sure how or why to do it? Here New Pyjamas shares why she blogs, and why she took the leap into Twitter…

I have previously blogged around a common theme of crafty, creative, baking, scrapbooking, sewing stuff and loved it. I had joined in with a few blog hops, even ventured into a few online classes, loved it, learned loads, had fun and found loads of really, really, creative and talented people to connect with and to be inspired and admire their creativity. I loved it.

Mostly, at the time, I connected with bloggers from across the pond – as this was several years ago and “bloggyland” seemed a little smaller here in the UK, at the time. Then, I began my journey towards adoption and found that my time was swamped with preparation and assessments and I blogged less and was perhaps less creative with all the crafts and also felt that with privacy, I couldn’t write about my adoption plans on my blog and my blogging stopped. 

Fast forward for the last few years of deciding, being accepted by and agency to adopt, preparation, home study, approval, searching, matching, panel, Introductions, my creativity seemed to go into getting a room ready and Introductions books ready for the adoption.  Then PJ arrived and whilst I have real friends and connections with some who have adopted, I began to miss the connection I had once known through blogging. 

I missed the outlet I had once known for expressing my thoughts, inspiration, my learning – my journal or diary, my voice or my desire to be heard and listened to was lacking and silently shouting out to be let out once again.

This was my story, my song and I needed to shout it out. I missed the opportunity to learn and share ideas through blogging and at times felt isolated. After thinking and chatting with friends, I decided to blog again and to write about adoption – my story, as I am adopted and our story – my journey and life with PJ, my little girl I have adopted. So, at the start of the year 2013, New Pyjamas was born. I needed to set it up on a different platform to my previous blog but felt that I have my own story to share, a chance to reflect through the art of journaling through a blog and who knows, my words might help someone out there too?

I am a single adopter and sometimes the feeling after bedtime of being all alone is a negative one.

In an attempt to break the isolation, blogging helps. I have quickly connected with other bloggers who are on their journey to adopt, adopters who have adopted and have found a great sense and strength in finding others who understand, those whose experiences who are similar. I have found some great ideas, shared experiences, shared joys and disasters, blog hops, fabulous linkys to join in with and had some lovely and needed and valued encouragement along the way, so far. The power of isolation has lessened its’ grip and a sense of community is growing.

Twitter is very new to me. I am a slow learner and I had always thought I was too much of a twit to tweet. I have begun to dip my toes in, tentatively. It could so easily be all time consuming, so I try and pace it alongside life, PJ and doing the washing up. It is another great community and can be a quick connection for ideas when you don’t have time to blog about your problem you would dearly love to be fixed!

I have been so encouraged by finding others through the #WASO that has now grown into The Adoption Social and am learning all the time. There are some great Ambassadors here who I honour and admire their honesty, tenacity and their writing skills.

 

Click here to go straight through to New Pyjamas. Or find her tweeting at @newpyjamas on Twitter.