Social media for learning is one of the best resources available to us. I’m a fan of the access to content that supports our growth for learning. Active participation, or even being an elegant lurker, allows for the engagement that can trigger ideas, inspiration, connections, and possibility. The chance to explore ideas connected to current thinking or interests is prevalent.
What I particularly like is the platform of Twitter for links to focused conversations that can come from Tweet Chats. In thinking about this way of connecting I’ve become aware that many of us have not participated in a Tweet Chat nor heard of a Tweet Chat. So this post is an introduction to the 101 of Tweet Chat participation.
What is a Tweet Chat?
A Tweet Chat is where a group of Twitter users meet at an arranged time online. This time is set aside to discuss a certain topic or unpack a specific focus. A hashtag (shown with # before the keyword or summary of a community, for example like #MuseumEdOz for a Museum Education Australia community) is linked to the Tweet Chat to allow for ease of management, participation, and as a way to link like-minded people together.
A Tweet Chat is advertised before the allocated time. This is so interested peeps can engage with the questions before hand. It is also a great way to let interested people know of the upcoming conversation.
At the allocated time a host or moderator will pose the questions. These are asked one at a time with space in between to allow for responses. The questions are posed with a ‘Q’ in front to indicate a ‘question’. For example Q1, Q2, Q3, and so on. Participants are invited to respond using an ‘A’ for ‘answer’ before their share to indicate to the community they are responding. This looks like A1, A2, A3, and so on. As you answer the question you are also invited to respond to others answers and thoughts to promote further conversation. Some times you can ask further questions to drill down deeper.
Tweet Chats usually last for an hour. There are however, other models, where for example, one question may be posed over the duration of 24 hours to encourage global interaction. I have participated in a Tweet Chat that went for a week. In this case there was one theme, different questions posed each day, and a summary of ‘ah ha’ moments on the final day.
Tweet Chats are a great way to learn about the benefits of Twitter, although they can be fast paced, the chance to drop in and out of a question posed or thoughts shared is possible. Thinking is ignited and as well as links to people who may be of interest to follow or engage with further.
The possibility to archive the Tweet Chat is also present through using such tools as Storify. This is usually done by the host or moderator and shared to all participants through a live web link. Archiving is a great way for further reflection on the conversation that occurred and to go back and reflect.
How do I get ready to participate in a Tweet Chat?
Here are some guidelines and suggestions for how to get ready and participate in a Tweet Chat:
- Identity the Tweet Chat(s) you may wish to participate.
- Know the time they are running. Some are regular such as once a month on the first Tuesday, others are spontaneous. Some are morning and others are evening. Keep in mind also Tweet Chats can be run from anywhere in the world.
- Prepare yourself in how you might engage in regards to device and software - will you use phone, tablet or computer? Will you use website or an application such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.
- Become familiar with the questions.
- Before the Tweet Chat begins, load up the hashtag so you are ready to go (you can click on the live link, and if asked make sure you ‘view all’ not just ’top tweets' as you want to enjoy the entire conversation.
- Say hello and introduce your self once the conversation begins.
- Remember to use ‘A’ and the corresponding number to the question asked.
- Be open to responding, no answer is a silly answer.
- You can scroll through the conversation, sometimes a Tweet Chat is so fast that it is tricky to read everything in live time. This is where you know you can access information at a later stage through the archiving process undertaken by the host.
- Watch, learn and be open to new perspectives.
- Always show mutual respect, even if you have a different opinion.
- Say thank you to the moderator or host at the end. Share why you appreciated the chat.
- Consider connecting or following others who resonate with you from the Tweet Chat. This is a great way to build contacts and access content, resources and ideas in the future.
Enjoy the chance to connect and learn.