Monday, May 8, 2017

Join in the May 11 #calibchat -- and how to participate in a live chat

I'm delighted to report that we (Katie McNamara and I) moderated our first #calibchat Twitter live chat on April 27, and a good - and productive - time was had by all! (You can read the announcement of the first chat in my last post.) Here is the Storify transcript. We had a great mixture of California people and tweeps from all over the country. Thanks to everyone who supported the first chat. We hope to continue attracting California friends along with friends far and wide. 

We are scheduling our chats for the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month, so the next one is this coming Thursday, May 11, from 6:00pm - 6:30pm PT. Our topic this time will be "Finish Strong." We'll be discussing ways to keep our program's strong and until the very end of the school year, and help our students and teachers keep strong, as well. And, also, be prepared to share a fun photo during the chat (photo theme to be announced during the chat.) You can kind of expect every #calibchat chat to include a photo opp. :-)

I promised last time to give some tips for those new or newish to live chats on how to participate. I didn't get to it in my last posting, so here it is now, in both screencast and text versions. First, the screencast:

And, now, the text version:

So, first, what's a live Twitter chat?

A live Twitter chat takes place at an appointed/announced time. Usually they are scheduled on an ongoing basis, once a month, twice a month, or even weekly, always on the same day and at the same time. For example, the live #TLChat is now at 5 PM PT/8 PM ET the first Monday of each month. Sometimes, though, a group will schedule a single chat. A live chat is an opportunity for a group to carry on an interactive discussion in tweets, made possible by all the participants searching for and using the same hashtag.

So, there is always a hashtag used to identify the chat, enabling you to follow the discussion by searching for the hashtag and watching the tweets with that hashtag as people post. You join in by posting tweets that include that same hashtag. That way, everyone in the chat sees your tweets.

Live chats typically have two moderators who send out the questions. They start by asking everyone to introduce themselves. Then, they use Q1 for question #1, Q2 for question #2, and so on. People respond by composing tweets that start with A1, A2, and so on. You can also interact directly with other participants by replying to them when you agree with them or have a comment or question about what they just tweeted. You also include the hashtag for these tweets if you want others to see them. The moderators also usually archive the chat so that people who missed the event or attendees who want to review it can visit a link and see the conversation. Here, for example, is the Storify archive of the first #calibchat chat on April 27.
I can't pretend that live chats are relaxing. They aren't! They are stimulating, informative, and a great chance to interact in real time with other tweeps, often from all around the country, or even the world. I have connected with many new Twitter friends through chats. But, like I said, the chats aren't relaxing. They are bit stressful, since you are going to see lots of tweets flying by at once at the same time you are trying to think and compose your own answers and comments. Just be prepared in advance that you can't read all the tweets in an active chat; you are bound to miss stuff, and that's okay.

How do I participate in #calibchat?

  1. Get on Twitter just before 6:00pm PT on Thursday, May 11 and search for #calibchat.
  2. Click the Latest option to view all the live tweets.
  3. You will see tweets from your moderators: Katie McNamara (@KatieJMcNamara) and me (@jane_librarian). All our tweets will include the #calibchat hashtag.
  4. When we ask you to introduce yourself, share where you work, what level your students are, and anything else you like. For example, I might introduce myself by writing: "I'm a TL now 'in the wild' from Southern California. Happy to be here! #calibchat"
  5. Stand by for Question 1. When you see it, think about an answer, and compose one, being sure to include A1 at the beginning of your tweet, and #calibchat at the end or somewhere in the tweet. It's okay to give more than one answer, too!
  6. Watch the other answers posted by participants, and respond with comments, doing your best to keep the An and #calibchat in all your responses. Remember that if you forget to include our hashtag, your comments will probably be missed by the participants. We all make that mistake at times, so don't fret, but you might want to repeat your tweet and include it.
  7. Continue reading and responding to each new question.
  8. Have fun! Don't worry if you miss something. Just read and respond to what you can. I'll be archiving the chat with Storify, so you'll be able to go over anything you missed later.

What about other Twitter tools?

A lot of people like to take advantage of Tweetdeck and other options for chats. If you know about those and want to, go for it. I personally, though, think it is easier to use the regular Twitter website and focus entirely on the hashtag search during a chat if you are new to live chats. But, I am planning to write up and screencast a "how to" for Tweetdeck before the next chat for anyone interested. 

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