I love Twitter and here is why
Twitter, for me holds, a significant place in my learning. It is a place where I connect freely with other educators and have opportunity to learn from them and converse with them. It is a space that provides a great place for sharing and being. I love the fact that groups of educators meet together to discuss issues and dig deep to find answers, and in many cases more questions. I feel freed in the concept that it is not held back by system agenda/focus.
Today I found Twitter interesting. As I poached my egg and forgot about it, which meant it was no longer all gooey and runny on the inside, I was immersed in discussions between a number of educators, both openly and privately, it occurred to me that there are moments that it really gets me fired up. Not in a bad way, but in a way that makes me think and question more. There was a discussion that branched off one of the newly formed chats that did this for me. And it has led to the following things floating around in my head:
1. I love the fact that for the majority of time twitter is a place that organic and authentic conversation sprouts up – lets not lose this!
2. There are fabulous twitter chats out there that germinate out of these conversations in in this organic and authentic environment that become significant hashtags and weekly events.
4. I admire the chats that promote each others chats. There is a true sense of respect in this, especially when those facilitators/creators participate in other chats.
5. I appreciate chats that seek to engage those who wish to participate beyond the layer we see on the Twitter stream. They seek direction from their audience with regard to the chat from week to week. This is different for each chat, in some cases it is with guest moderators, question development etc… This enables the chat to stay focused on its participants. The chat facilitators/creators listen to those participating and often hand over the control. They ‘let go’ and allow for the participants, those the chat was created for, to have ownership.
6. The chats I love the most are ones that are not built on overt promotion of a group, system or bandwagon, but that allow that organic and authentic conversation to flow.
7. I admire those that facilitate a chat in their own time. It takes significant time and commitment as these things don’t just happen. They are built on relationships, trust and respect.
For those thinking or embarking on the journey of leading a weekly Twitter chat there are some things to consider:
1. Is there already a chat out there doing what you want to do? Can you get involved in that and support it? Does there need to be another chat along the same lines?
2. What time will the chat run? What other chats are on? If there is, how do you respectfully ensure they are not impacted by your chat? Do you need to pick another time?
3. Is this all about CV building? Cause if it is, think again! That word authentic is important and those who might be interested in your chat, they will take the time to investigate. They will google you, watch your conversations on a range of platforms. Be aware that everything you say in an open environment is viewable, tone is picked up through the flow of a discussion. People are savvy to side conversations and backchannels. A weekly Twitter chat is about trust, relationships and learning in an edu environment using Twitter as a tool. Yes, it may be useful for your CV and any future job aspirations, but should this be the motivating reason to enter this space?
4. Is Twitter the best tool? Sometimes system led chats may find a tool like Yammer more appropriate.
5. Are you dedicated? It takes time to run a blog/website/FB page etc that hang off the chat. How will you manage this? Then there is the curation of the chats, more time required there too!
6. And finally, be honest. Making claims that are potentially misleading only lead to audience by out.
So take your time, think about it carefully. There are heaps of people out there who run successful weekly Twitter chats that have been going for a long time that will willingly help you out. That’s the thing about Twitter, people are helpful and happy to share.