Thursday, December 10, 2015

16. Twitter Chats

Now that you know how to use Twitter search, you can search on a hashtag like #edchat, and you will see an enormous number of tweets. That's because #edchat is the hashtag used to run the #edchat chat, which is one of the oldest educator chats at Twitter. And, yes, the time has now come for you to learn about Twitter CHATS!

The #EdChat Movement. You can find out more about #edchat at the EdChat website; they've been going strong since 2009. To get a sense of what #EdChat and Twitter chats in general are about, take a look at this quick video:


Since EdChat started back in 2009, there are now literally hundreds of educator chats; you can browse the long list of educational chats here. Chats usually last one hour, and they might take place weekly or biweekly or monthly. It's a very flexible format, which is a key to its success and popularity.

#OpenTeachingOU Chat. We even have our own chat at OU: the #OpenTeachingOU chat! We had four chat sessions about open teaching in Spring 2015, and another four sessions in Fall 2015. This blog is the home of #OpenTeachingOU chat, and you can find out more at our archives: #OpenTeachingOU. Maybe you will want to join in on our chats for Spring 2016!

There's also a very active Oklahoma Educators chat, #OklaEd. You can use Twitter search to find out more: #OklaEd search.

Chats and Hashtags. The hashtag is the key to how a Twitter chat works. When everybody participating in the chat includes the chat hashtag in their tweets, you can follow the chat in real time by watching the hashtag search results.  There are often questions for a chat, so the host of the chat tweets out the questions, labeled Q1 (question 1), Q2 (question 2), and so on. Ideally, when you reply to a question, you can include A1 in the tweet where you are replying to the first question, and so on.

Very often people use Storify to document a chat after it's over; that's what we do with the #OpenTeachingOU chats. You'll learn about Storify in the next stage of the Bootcamp; meanwhile, here's a Storify from one of our #OpenTeachingOU chats from Fall 2015:




It's kind of hard to describe what participating in a Twitter chat is like... but the main thing is that it is a lot of fun! If you start following a lot of people at Twitter, you'll probably see some people participating in a chat (the A1, A2 format of the tweets is a good clue!), and that will give you an idea about what kind of chat you might want to participate in.

NEXT STEP => While Twitter chats are public group events, you can also use Twitter for more private communication, and that's what you will learn about next: Direct Messages.

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