Social Networking – What is it?

On our site you may have seen new icons and links that direct you to Member Bridge, APNA’s social networking site, or to outside social networking sites on which APNA has a presence. We all participate in and use social networks in our daily lives, but understanding and using online social networking sites can be daunting. This page is for you, our members, and we hope that it provides you with the basics of online social networking that will allow you to use Member Bridge and other sites to branch out and become engaged, meet and share ideas, make professional and personal connections and much, much more!

The Basics:

Social networking websites are essentially online communities of internet users. Online community members make connections with people all over the world via common interests. Some social networking sites focus on bringing together people who share one particular interest, while others have no particular focus and allow any person to join. Member Bridge is an example of the former. People on Member Bridge all share the common interest of Psychiatric Nursing and are all APNA members. Facebook is an example of the latter. Anyone and everyone can join Facebook. Most social networking sites are free and only require a valid email address.

The Networking Part:

Once you join a social networking site, you are free to provide as little or as much information about yourself as you like. Filling in information such as your field(s) of interest, geographic area, and professional information will allow others with similar interests to find you. Of course, people who know you will be able to search for you by name, and you can do the same in order to find friends. You can also join networks or groups in order to connect with people regarding a specific interest. Member Bridge offers a wide range of groups, from one for Psychiatric Mental Health graduate students to a group for instructors. You are free to join as many “open” groups, networks, or communities (the term varies from site to site) as you like. Some groups are “closed” and depending on the site, either require approval from the administrator of the group or are by invitation only. The Member Bridge communities for specific councils and/or steering committees are examples of “closed” communities. These are only available to APNA members who participate in those particular committees.


Almost all social networking sites have privacy settings that allow you to control how much of your information other people on the site can access. For example, in Member Bridge, you can edit your contact preferences so that you can restrict who sees what information.  You can choose to allow only your contacts, only members, or no one to see your contact information. This allows you to maintain the degree of privacy with which you are comfortable. You can provide as little or as much information as you like.

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The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.