Mr Kemp NZ

5 Tips For Managing a Fast Paced Twitter Chat

Edchat’s on Twitter are incredible sources of information and for me, the BEST sources of learning in my already hectic week.
Running the award winning #whatisschool chat is incredible and so rewarding. The #whatisschool PLN is powerful and always contributes incredible ideas and resources to all of the topics that are covered.
However, I am always asked the same questions:
  • What is Question #?
  • This chat is too fast, how can I keep up?
  • Where can I find the archive?
I have already written a blog post about the use of Storify and how we use that to archive the #whatisschool chat – this is available every week immediately following the chat. To read more about Storify and its use for archiving chats – click here
keep-calm-and-tweet-on
Now it is time to answer the question “This chat is too fast, how can I keep up?” …
The reality is, that in a popular chat like #whatisschool, you probably won’t be able to keep up. With hundreds of educators connecting and answering questions at the same time it is about picking and choosing (and the skill of skim reading comes in VERY handy).
For me the #whatisschool hour is my most intense hour of the week, but by far the most rewarding. I learn more from these conversations than any other professional learning I do in my life. It is truly remarkable!
The fact remains, chats are fast!
Here are 5 tips to help you “keep up” and manage a fast paced EdChat:
  1. Use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite – these tools are designed for real-time tracking, organising and engagement. It is particular useful during a chat as you can create a deck for #whatisschool and see the live flow of conversations happening right in front of your eyes. The best part is that you can go at your own pace by scrolling up and down, while the chat continues! You can also use the filters to refine your search to certain types of tweets.
  2. Get involved – Lurking is great, but getting involved in a chat is amazing. As soon as you see an area of interest, pounce on it and start a discussion with that person. The side conversations is what makes chats like #whatisschool so powerful. The reality is that you don’t have to ‘keep up’ in order to get benefit from a chat.
  3. Follow up – Archives are created for a reason. Use the archives to give you more time to go into the tweets in more detail. Archives, such as the Storify ones on #whatisschool, are there forever and are the best tool for in depth analysis and resource gathering. Don’t get caught up in the moment, think to yourself “I can go back and use the archive later”.
  4. On-going – For me Twitter chats are conversation starters and are the best way to identify experts. From a chat you can identify those who are passionate about a certain topic and follow up with them later. The on-going conversations is what makes chats powerful. If a chat is overwhelming, just lurk and gather Twitter handles of those you want to follow up with later.
  5. Be prepared – most chats publish their questions before a chat happens. We publish our #whatisschool questions at least 2-3 days before the chat each week. Use these questions to help structure your answers. Even pre-write them up so you can respond as the questions are posted. I highly recommend this as a tool to manage a fast-paced chat. That way all you have to do is copy and paste, post it and then focus on other conversations. It is also a good idea to identify the moderators of each chat and follow them so you can always see their tweets. Some chats have remind notifications so you never miss one. Click here to get the #whatisschool FREE remind notification.
A 6th and bonus idea to manage a fast-paced chat is to favourite (by clicking on the star) any tweets you would like to follow up with later. Afterwards you can go back and check out all of the tweets you favourited and spend more time to respond and follow the links.
Chats are an amazing Professional Learning tool and one that I highly recommend everyone to take part in. Although they are sometimes overwhelming, you make them what they are so get involved.
Hopefully these tips keep you involved in even the most hectic of twitter chats 🙂

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Head of Educational Technology at a large International School in Singapore. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Great post. I recall my first Twitter chats being intense and tiring. Using Tweetdeck is a big help and once you scroll down, you don’t see the tweets come at you in real time. Keep in mind that for an active chat, no one can read them all. I start by throwing out my answers to the main question. I don’t send it as a tweet with the hashtag. I send it as a reply to the moderator. When I see a tweet I like, I reply to it as well and retweet the ones I really like. By sending out only replies, it isn’t long before I get replies back and they often contain multiple twitter names. By replying to the replies I get the attention of more attendees. Every now and then I look at how old the tweets are I’m looking at. If I’m getting more than five minutes behind, I zoom to the top and take it from there. I also make sure I follow people who reply to me and find that they almost always follow back. Thanks in large part to attending Twitter chats I am approaching 4000 followers in over 70 countries. I hope this can further help your audience.

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