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Friday, October 19, 2018

11 Tips towards Engaging in a Terrific Twitter Chat

Twitter Chats are AWESOME!!!

I have talked about Twitter Chats (I like to call them Tweet Chats) before in Dr. Z ReflectsHere are a few posts you might find interesting. I have shared some links to resources for finding Education Twitter chats but I would like to introduce Participate as a rich resource for finding, sharing, and engaging in Twitter chats.  (I will explore Participate more fully in a future posting.)
One of my personal favorite chats is #iaedchat.  This Twitter chat meets every Sunday night at 8:00 pm Central Time.  We have Iowa educators, but you will find chatters from all over the country and even throughout the world.   I am inviting some of my EdTech Minor students to join the #iaedchat chat on Sunday and it has inspired me to provide some direction for "getting the most" out of Twitter Chatting.
Here are some suggestions for succeeding in a Twitter chat:

  1. Select Your Tool: EDITING NOTE:  Originally I had recommended tchat.io.  Since then I have had problems with that tool so now I am recommending TweetChat.com   Tweetchat is simple.  Enter the hashtag on the opening page (e.g., #iaedchat ) Log in using your twitter account. This leads you to a page for your conversation. Enter your tweets in the text box.  Remember to click the "Start Stream" button to begin watching the chat. Here is a 3-minute video on how to use TweetChatIf you want to make your own selection, here is a recent listing of the 5 Best Tools for Twitter Chats.
  2. Show Up Early: Even if it is only 5 minutes, get settled before the chat because the pace can get rather fast and furious.
  3. Share Your Intro; Be prepared to introduce yourself at the beginning.  This is where we can learn about the location, profession, and grade level of the participants. 
  4. Engage in Questions and Answers: Questions will be introduced throughout the hour-long chat - usually 6 questions. Sometimes they are available before the chat. Each will be identified by its number (e.g. Q3:). Begin your answers with the number of the question you are answering (e.g., A3:)
  5. Answer as Much as You Want: You don't have to contribute lots of answers. You can lurk throughout  the whole thing but you won't get much out of it. Aim to post at least 4 answers throughout the hour-long chat. You are welcome to talk as much as you want, but placing a minimum will ensure that you at least dip your toe into the flood of genius that will flow across your screen.
  6. Reduce the Stress: If there are lots of chatters, the discussion can zoom past you. You can feel overwhelmed because you don't have time to read all of the posts.  You can take control of this by just identifying 3 or 4 chatters who are interesting.  Just follow their postings and respond when you have something to say.  Most Twitter chats have archives so you can go back and read the other postings at a later date.
  7. Follow Them: If a chatter looks interesting, click on his/her/their name to visit his/her/their Twitter page.  This will show you more about him/her/them and give you a chance to click the FOLLOW button.
  8. Remove the Retweets: You will see some Retweets in the chat. These add more lines for you to read.  The Tchat.io software allows you to Hide Retweets.  Click this button and you will see each posting only once.
  9. Tell Your Followers: Before the chat, tell your followers that you will be engaging in a chat. This way they won't be surprised by a deluge of wisdom coming from your Twitter account. (This is something you should do before you begin, but I shared it here so that I wouldn't confuse the new tweeters.)
  10. Have Fun: This is an opportunity to meet other people and learn other's opinions.  Enjoy it and make your contacts.
  11. Follow up: This is a great opportunity to make connections. If you liked what one chatter was doing in the classroom, contact him/her/them later to further discuss the topic, set up a classroom collaboration, or even schedule a meet-up face-to-face or virtually.  If you learned something from leaders in schools, and you think that you might like to work in those schools.  Make the connection and begin the conversation. 
Twitter Chatting is an easy and fruitful way to make connections with like-minded people. I hope that I have a chance to connect with you through a chat some day.   Until that day, perhaps you could leave some comments about what I have written or maybe in answer to some of these queries . . . 

  • What is YOUR favorite Twitter Chat tool?
  • Which chats do you recommend?
  • What other suggestions do you have for successful chatting?
  • Share a Twitter Chat story about what you learned or who you met.
Z

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