[This post is from WRT304 Fall 2014]
On Monday March 10 at 2.30-3.30pm Eastern Standard Time (US), Shyam Sharma and his students (in an undergraduate course on “writing in the professions”) are organizing a Twitter Chat. Topic is: “Writing In Your Profession — and Its Evolution.” Hashtag: #Write4Pro We’d like to warmly welcome you to the conversation!
We are interested in listening to our guests about their experiences and thoughts regarding the nature and role of writing in their current or anticipated professions. The event is just a humble attempt to set aside one hour of class time to experiment with an emerging mode of professional conversation, the Twitter Chat. We will appreciate your participation/contribution.
—Here’s a Timeline of the Summit from Twitter—
—HOW IT WORKS———written for students—–maybe useful for others—–
Short (for our purpose): At the set time, 2.30pm EST, log on to Twitter; search #Write4Pro using the search bar; and pick any interesting tweet to reply, favorite/like, or retweet to your network. Always add #Write4Pro somewhere in your tweet. That’s it.
Long (General Purpose–if you want to learn more)
Twitter Chat is a pre-arranged conversation that happens on Twitter through the use of 140 character tweets that “include a predefined hashtag [ours is #Write4Pro] to link those tweets together in a virtual conversation” (About.com). A hashtag serves as a filter, helping participants call up tweets using that tag by using the search function or, for greater convenience, third party applications such as TweetDeck. You can also alert users by adding their Twitter handles (or usernames preceded with the @ sign), but that is not necessary for participants who are in or aware of the chat.
Before the chat, if you have time, consider getting to know any guests and their interest/specialty a little in advance (one guest we already know, Maha Bali, is a teacher and teacher educator from Cairo, Egypt, and I found this and this blog entries that she wrote recently worth sharing). Be familiar with the topic for the discussion and questions or common text if there are any of these. Write down a few questions, thoughts, and/or links that you might want to share during the chat. Read up a little about how to be an effective participant in this new and exciting type of conversation. If you haven’t been exposed to the power of Twitter (no kidding), this is the right time to give yourself the opportunity. It is okay to lurk, observe, say one or two things, decide that you don’t like this new mode of conversation/writing. Also, do not expect too much out of the event, learn about regular netiquette (plus, if you like, Twitter etiquette and Twitter Chat etiquette), and do not hesitate to start tweeting about the subject if you want. Help to promote the event by sharing the hashtag with your network in advance. Consider letting your network know that you may be “noisy” during the scheduled time, because your tweets could flood some inboxes during the chat. Finally, right before the chat, sign in to your Twitter account; make a little extra effort and sign in to TweetDeck if you want to save time and hassle of typing and searching the hashtag during the chat. Be prepared to use an alternative device and connection.
During the chat, start by reading the moderator’s and guest/speaker’s tweets. Also look at tweets around the leading questions or topics so you help to forward the conversation. Don’t hesitate to create tangents; it’s in the nature of Twitter chats (technically and socially) to be a little chaotic and rhizomatic (branching out in different directions). Be informal but friendly and polite (again, nature of such chats). DO NOT FORGET TO USE THE PROVIDED HASHTAG (for this event: #write4pro) in EACH of your tweets so other people in the conversation can see what you wrote (exclude it when you don’t want to speak to the whole group). Feel free to alert people outside of the conversation by adding their handles to your tweets. Retweet others’ posts, or just favorite them; these are ways of encouraging/promoting their thoughts in your network during “and” after the conversation. Remember the netiquette, do not hesitate to contribute (don’t just listen if possible), and encourage other participants.
Why Twitter Summit? I regularly join Twitter Summits with members of my professional communities (most notably the National Council of Teachers of English), and I learn a lot from fellow teachers without going to a conference, make new connections (follows and followers), and collaboratively leave footprints of our best ideas on the network.
Who will Join? We have heard from teachers (along with their students) and professionals in different fields from as far away as New Zealand, Australia, UK, Egypt, and Nepal and from the US (Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New York…). We’re excited.
I hope you will join the event and that we will all gain something from it. -Shyam Sharma