The following are the most popular TweetChats geared toward Learning & Development:
- #Chat2Lrn – @chat2lrn – https://twitter.com/chat2lrn
- #LrnChat – @lrnchat – http://lrnchat.com/
- #SWChat – @swchat – http://www.stopthinksocial.com/swchat/
- #eLearnChat – @elearnchat – http://www.elearnchat.com
But if your time is limited and you cannot participate in all of these L & D TweetChats, then which one is the best for you?
To help us answer that question, we interviewed Tom Spiglanin (@tomspiglanin)
Tom’s Twitter profile describes him as: “Ph.D. scientist turned learning strategist/designer, promoter of on-fire learning through social media. Pls engage! Member ASTD & ASTD-OC.”
Tom, When did you start participating on Twitter and what do you tell non-Twitter participants about the value you see in it?
People are surprised to learn I’ve only been active on Twitter since last February, when I came to see it as a way to build a network of people I want to interact with. Many people I follow have some relationship to the work I do, and they have connections to many other people I’ll never connect with. I actually wrote about this recently (http://tom.johnandrewrankin.com/?p=1924). Through the network , I have direct or indirect access to some of the most creative minds in my field. That said, Twitter relationships are asymmetric; following someone isn’t always reciprocated. I actually like that, but makes it all the more important to engage others to realize the value of your network.
Which L&D related Twitter Talks do you/have you participated in?
My first Twitter Talk was #lrnchat. At the time, there were two sessions, one on Thursday evening (my time) and one Friday morning. I’d seen several of the people I follow Tweeting with its hashtag, so I checked it out. Since then I’ve joined a lot of Twitter Talks. I see Twitter Talks as rapid-fire learning events. You join and then field questions as they’re “released” for discussion. Formulate your responses and post them, and read [and sometimes retweet] others. Some are bound to trigger something out of non-conscious memory. Reply to others with comments or debate. Read feedback. This all contributes to the learning experience of a Twitter Talk. The three talks I try to never miss are #chat2lrn, #swchat, and #lrnchat. I’ve also jumped into #tchat, #blogchat, and #innochat on occasion. I’ll join just about any talk if the topic is interesting. For example, #innochat is generally on the topic of innovation, which is necessary in today’s workplace. If you find value in Twitter Talks, I definitely recommend getting outside your comfort zone occasionally to stimulate new thinking. At the very least you’ll meet new people, and it helps avoid what Euan Semple calls the echo chamber.
Which one(s) do you feel hold the most value for yourself and why?
#chat2lrn, #swchat, and #lrnchat all offer very different kinds of experiences for me, and I engage with a lot of different people between them. They also fall on the same day of the week, which means my Thursdays are pretty well subscribed.
- #chat2lrn questions usually make me think in the context of learning and development, but even reading the framing blog post in advance doesn’t always prepare me for how the discussion will go. It’s small as Twitter Talks go, drawing between 25 and 30 people each session. It’s comfortable as well, since I’ve gotten to know so many of the regulars on Twitter. I’d also say it’s somewhat unpredictable, meaning I don’t “see the next question coming” like I do in other talks where discussion of one question applies equally well to following questions.
- #swchat is the “Social Workplace” chat. It’s a very well-attended talk and virtually impossible to see everything. Because it’s focused on the workplace, it gives me ways to look from the perspective of the organization I support. It’s also interesting how the social thinking I do about learning applies generally to the workplace as well. Because questions come from David Christopher (#swchat‘s organizer) directly, it has a somewhat personal touch.
- #lrnchat is my final talk on Thursday. It starts about the time I should be arriving home from work, unless I leave late (which makes it difficult to engage unless I’m stuck in traffic). The talk is largely US-based due to the late hour in Europe (unlike the first two), with some joining from Australia and New Zealand. Questions pop out at seemingly regular intervals, and are usually very broad and open-ended to stimulate lots of good discussion. I often start on a cocktail and suspect others have as well, based on comments I see. Truly informal social learning.
- I also like #elearnchat, which is an entirely different concept. It’s video-based with moderators and a guest fielding questions. Other participants type in the chat of the video app.
How do you best curate for yourself the information that pours out of the various L&D Twitter Talks?
I don’t really curate information from Twitter Talks. Most post summaries, transcripts, or both, so it’s easy enough to view those at any time. But browsing a transcript isn’t nearly as meaningful a learning experience as participating in the live event. I do investigate shared links and make note of good ones. Sometimes participating in these talks prompts me to start a blog post, usually representing newly synthesized thinking from the merging of new ideas with my existing knowledge. I even finish some of these (sic), at which point I share them with the group.
What else about Twitter would you recommend (to read, to do, to follow, etc.) to someone in the world of L&D?
I’m going to answer this more as what I’d recommend someone do to get started in a Twitter Talk. My most important piece of advice is to engage. Participating is a much more effective way to learn than watching the action. This is surprisingly easy because all you need to do is introduce yourself. “Hi all in #thisorthat! This is my first time joining.” You’ll be warmly welcomed for sure. From there, you can join in or re-tweet something you agree with. You also don’t need to worry about missing something, because good comments tend to get re-tweeted. I’d also recommend getting prepared. Particularly active talks might seem “all over the map” the first time you join. Having the right set of tools can help. I’d at least give TweetChat.com a try, since it automates adding the hashtag (without the hashtag, you’re just talking to yourself). Others like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, which offer multiple streams in the same window. I use multiple tools on the same talk:Tweetchat (which seems to fail at times, requiring a browser refresh), Hootsuite (which seems to lag), and the Twitter Web app to view a particular person’s tweets or to view mentions for easy reply. I also have my phone nearby, which alerts me to mentions. When it chimes like crazy I know I said something interesting (good or bad). As for composing tweets, that’s an art that needs to be developed [especially due to the limitation of 140 characters.] Don’t be afraid to jump in, but it’s wise to craft tweets that stand on their own (outside the context of the talk) and are short enough to be easily re-tweeted (leave enough characters for “RT @yourname”). It might seem contrived, but others appreciate it. Also you may find yourself re-tweeted by someone who follows you but is not participating in the talk (has happened to me many times).
What do you think is missing from / could be done better on (Talks or other) Twitter?
Better in Twitter Talks? Well, maybe take the best of all and put into one. I like how #lrnchat starts with an invitation to introduce yourself and ends by inviting “shameless plugs.” Questions come in at what seem to be set intervals of time. #swchat and #chat2lrn are more flexible. #swchat often skips questions when discussion is particularly active on prior questions. In that talk and in #chat2lrn, questions arrive at irregular intervals. I’m told in #chat2lrn those questions even change at the last minute if the discussion has gone in a particular direction. Perhaps the biggest change is actually on the part of the participants, and that includes me. Don’t re-tweet if you don’t really agree. Accept criticism well (not all do). Be prompt in disagreement. Don’t ONLY tweet your own thoughts; re-tweeting others is how you show approval in the talks (and you’re not the only one with good ideas). Write re-tweetable tweets. Offer interesting thoughts, even if slightly off-topic. Sometimes it’s just what’s needed to get the talk back to being interesting (and then your phone chimes like crazy). Finally, you can’t change the participants in a talk, so if you’re tired of interacting with the same people again and again, find a new talk to join.
Thanks for your time and insights Tom!
Ready to participate in one of the TweetChats? Here’s the best way:
Although you could try to follow along on the Twitter website, it is best to use a site or app that can keep you immediately up to date on the firehouse stream of tweets. The most popular method is to use http://www.TweetChat.com and enter the hashtag name of the TweetChat you would like to follow. To easily participate, be sure to be logged into your Twitter account on the TweetChat website. Others use TweetDeck, Hootsuit or other apps designed for your desktop, smartphones and iPads.
Do you have other opinions? Give your two cents in the comments section below.
See also: 20 Twitter Hashtags Every Teacher Should Know About http://buff.ly/TvICgm