5 Tips to Stay Sane during a #TwitterChat

Like anyone else, I have to work hard to navigate the turbulent seas of a TwitterChat, even though I'm quite comfortable with tools like Tweetdeck.twitter.com and Hootsuite.com, which allow for multi-pane views of information. Still, there can be quite a bit to track while participating in a Twitterchat, much less facilitating one like yesterday. 

I shudder at the organization required to keep one going from week to week with guests, etc. In fact, I find Twitterchats to be more involved than weekly podcasts but quite interactive...I can't wait to do an EduVoxerChat that moves twitter contributions into audio!

In planning our Twitterchat, Diana Benner and I setup a GoogleDoc, then asked our guests to map out their responses to the 7 questions. This enabled them to kick out their initial response and then interact with the other participants.

Part of the tips I offered them included the following, 5 Tips to Stay Sane During a TwitterChat. I'm going to separate that offering out of my blog entry about the #edtechcoach Twitter chat in case others might find it helpful.

There are great instructions on how to participate in a Twitter Chat. Here are 5 tips highlighting what *I* do to stay sane during a Twitter Chat!

Tip #1: Use TweetDeck to keep up with a Twitter chat.
Here is what my TweetDeck looks like (all you need to get started, by the way, is a Twitter account):

Notice that one of the columns--which you can add by clicking on the + symbol on the far left side of the screen--is search results for #edtechcoach, the hashtag for following the Twitter chat.

Tip #2: Add the hashtag #edtechcoach to every tweet you post. 
By adding the Twitter Chat hashtag to each entry, your tweet will become a part of the conversation.

Tip #3: Include the labels appropriate to the question you are responding to.
Since it's easy to "fall behind" in a Twitter chat because of the responses, you can always post your responses to a Twitter chat question by including "A1" or "A2" depending on what question you are responding to.

Tip #4: Star or "Favorite" Contributions that you want to respond to or keep for the future.
There are so many great ideas and tips shared during Twitterchats! You'll want to be able to come back to them later. As you can see in the screenshot above of my Tweetdeck, one of my columns includes my Favorites. When I click on the "star" icon on a tweet that I like or need to respond to, it's added to my growing list of favorites. After I've responded to it, I can "remove" the favorite by clicking the star a second time. This has worked exceedingly well for me and keeps me focused. 

Extra Tip: For advanced users, you can actually have your favorite tweets get automatically sent via IFTTT.com to a destination of your choice (for example, mine go to Evernote).

Tip #5: Add followers.
While you may not need to add all the new folks you meet in a Twitter chat to your followers, if you know what kind of person you want to have in your Professional Learning Network, then you can more easily add them. For example, here are the criteria I use to add people from Twitterchats to my PLN (that is, I follow them on Twitter):

  • Tweet is original and education-focused (or, in this case, coaching focused)
  • The person's twitter account is developed (e.g. no "egghead" icons, significant followers, well thought-out description)
  • Person doesn't tweet about unrelated subjects (e.g. sports) ad nauseum.
  • The tweets are fit to appear in an academic setting (e.g. no cursing, obscenities, etc.).

Finally, as shown above, don't be afraid to BLOCK/MUTE people who "crash a Twitter chat." It's quite easy to do, takes only an instant. I find that I block/mute people regularly (3-5 per day) who may just be in it to seize the PR moment in the worst possible way. 

Bonus Tip: Use a service to round-up the Tweets, as well as get statistics

Ok, let's say you've facilitated a Twitter chat...how do you collect those? I'm not sure I've found any one way is the best. Getting them from Twitter is a pain, although Joel Adkins (@mradkins) recommends Twubs.com. You can see last night's Twitterchat at http://twubs.com/edtechcoach/

You can also use tools like Hashtag Explorer to get statistics on your Twitterchat...from 1500 tweets, this perspective was possible:

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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