Tag Archives: chat

The Twitter Chat Schedule

The Twitter Chat Schedule

Twitter chats are simply pre-organized times to tweet on pre-organized hashtags.  They use applications like twebevent or TweetChat to corral just those tweets together and to auto-tag any new tweets with the right hashtag.

The Chat Schedule was inspired by Meryl Evans, who started a blog post with a collection of all the chats she knew about.  The new spreadsheet version began as a quick solution so that no one person had to track and manage the information about all the Twitter Chats.  There were only about 25 chats back then.  It has since grown into a list of hundreds of chats with several new ones added each week.

Everyone from journalists to moms to finance people to Knowledge Management professionals are finding each other and banding together via Twitter chats.  See more info about the Twitter Chat Experience

I fully expected that someone would write a little database driven web app that would replace the public Google Doc, but perhaps simpler is better in this case.

Thanks to all who run the chats, all who have posted information about chats, and all who tweet the link to the list so that more potential chatters can find one that’s right for them.

View the schedule for yourself and add any chats you know about that aren’t listed.

Public Waves

A few posts ago I talked about “Wave Chats“.  Today I experienced my first wave used as a substitute for a real time Twitter chat.

It came about because the Twitter Search API was being finicky.  This happens way too often and when it does, it takes out all the Twitter applications that rely on it: TweetDeck, TweetGrid, TweetChat, etc….  The only thing that will work in that situation is Twitter’s own search page.  For some reason, they don’t use their own Search API for their searches.   Hmmmm, I wonder why.  Maybe because it is not stable.  🙂

Back to our story…… I was on a chat earlier in the day that was also having trouble so I thought about Wave as a backup plan.  In order to make that work, I needed:

Step 1: a wave that anyone could get to.  The way you accomplish that is by inviting public@a.gwave.com to your Wave.  I created it as a contact in my Google Contacts and then invited to the Wave.

Step 2: A way to tell people how to find my wave.  If you tag your wave with something relatively unique, you can have people search for “tag:<your tag>” or you can give them a URL. This one is for “tag:#eventprofs” https://wave.google.com/wave/#restored:search:tag%253A%2523eventprofs Note: tagging can be done at the bottom of the Wave interface.

Once we were in the wave, we very quickly found that some of the Google features are not necessarily strengths for real time chats.  Allowing for threads to pop-up anywhere makes it impossible to follow the multi-threads that naturally occur in a real time Chat without scrolling all over the place to find what you are missing.  So, we created a guideline that we would only comment at the bottom of the wave thereby making it a single one dimensional stream of information (just like Twitter).

It took some getting used to the fact that you could see all the simultaneous typing.  If one was able to avoid distraction, the speed was actually much faster than Twitter Chatting due to no delay between post and appearance and also getting the gist of a post even before it was finished.

At the end of the wave period, several of us felt that it was an interesting experiment and there were definitely some nice elements to Wave chating, but that Twitter Chats’ ability to inherently promote the chat outside of the participants and to cross-post to other community hashtags was superior to Wave.

Anybody else experienced Wave in real time and want to compare it to a Twitter Chat?

Wave Chats

Today on #smchat one of the chatters, who always has great ideas (@hacool), chimed in that she had been on a Wave that included a chat gadget.  For those who are not as experienced with Wave, a gadget is just a mini app that runs inside the wave.  It is similar to the way you can watch a video which is embedded within a blog.

It got me thinking (as tools like Wave have a way of doing to people)….why couldn’t I embed a Tweetchat right into a Wave?  Brooks Bennett, the founder of tweetchat, was good enough to upgrade recently so that it is 100% embeddable. eg.  KMers.org

I tried it and it worked!!  Theoretically, what this will give you is the ability to get the best of both apps:

Twitter

  • Linear ie. just one spot to watch (the top of the chat), yet multi-threaded within that linear stream
  • Each tweet goes out to all that person’s followers acting as an announcement mechanism for the chat
  • Many different applications can be used to join the chat.

Wave

  • Better threading
  • Ability to group edit
  • Ability to go back and edit what was previously written

It seems to me that some combination of the two could be a dynamite package.  Who wants to do a trial run with me?

Twitter Chat Driven Communities

Online communities of practice (CoP’s) are VERY challenging to keep vibrant over a long period of time.  The ones with staying power always have active management and multiple channels for members to collaborate.

Many personal and professional associations have learned this.  They send out information and invite people to collaborate online throughout the year.  Then they run one or more in-person events/conferences that help keep everyone connected to the group.  Not many of these associations are using Twitter Chats.

You don’t have to have an in-person element in order to remain successful with an online community.  Stan Garfield runs a fantastic community for KM professionals called SIKMleaders.  He runs it through a Yahoo Group, but it is energized monthly by a phone call that anyone can join.

In my opinion Twitter Chats are currently the best method for online community invigoration.  Here are a few reasons why.

  1. If there are 10 or more people on a chat, the experience is very fast/furious and therefore invigorating.  The experience will keep people coming back.
  2. Every time anyone tweets during your chat, the existence of your community is being pushed out to all the chatters’ followers.  This brings in fresh members
  3. The ability for chatters to cross-post with other related hashtags helps related communities connect to each other sharing ideas/members/etc…
  4. The chat hashtag can be used between chat events for people to interact asynchronously.
  5. Even non-Twitter users can watch and learn from the chat just by going to the right web page

Some examples of Twitter driven chat communities are

Each platform has its pros and cons for supporting a Twitter Chat driven community.  To my knowledge, the only chat supported by a site built from the ground-up is KMers.  It is custom-built using the Drupal framework and can be modified to fit unique needs of a Twitter driven community.

If you are part of a community that you believe could use a platform like KMers.org has, contact me via one of the channels available in the top right of the blog page.  We can help you (free) with a version that works for your community.

If you would like to join a Twitter Chat community, try any of the over 80 on the Twitter Chat Schedule.

#KMers Chat Launch

The KMers.org site was ready for beta launch last week in time for the KMWorld09 conference.  Today we launched the weekly #KMers twitter chat.   I would guesstimate that we had about 15-20 people contributing to the Twitter Chat which means we probably had that number again of lurkers.   Lots of quality information was shared and I believe that it was considered a success by all.

For many on the chat it was their first ever.  Yet, despite a few small hiccups, everyone seemed to get the hang of it very quickly.

The topic (Best Ideas from KMWorld09) was not ideal for a Twitter Chat because it is more about sharing knowledge nuggets than having a conversation.  Also, we had far more people who hadn’t gone to the conference and were looking for info than we had people who had gone to the conference and were sharing it.  Future chats will be much more of a deeper dive into one facet of KM per chat.

Here is the summary of the chat from my perspective:

Introductions:

  • we discovered that most of the chatters had not been to KMWorld09 and many were new to Twitter Chatting

Thoughts about KMers.org

  • @Elsua: Member section should link in a Twitter List
  • @lehawes: pointed out that archiving of chats will be a plus
  • several indicated that KMers.org login and TweetChat login (double) was confusing
  • @andreamayer pointed out that we had a glitch with a post being wrongly attributed
  • There were a few other small problems encountered by a few people during the chat

Goals for attending #KMW09

  • @swanwick indicated he was there 1) to network 2) to launch KMers.org
  • @StanGarfield said he was there to speak, serve on a panel, learn, and interact
  • Tone of session: @swanwick indicated that it seemed hopeful.  Hopeful that e2.0 would be the opp for KM and SM to work together.

Sub-discussions throughout the chat

  • value of life-narration: balance between inane tweets and over polished ones.
  • value of and how to measure KM value
  • video as a knowledge sharing channel
  • Neats vs. Scruffies http://bit.ly/7jf1WC

Best sessions at #KMW09:

  • the consensus was that @BillIves provided the best blogging coverage of the event
  • @forgingthfuture found discussion of Personal KM fascinating
  • @forgingthefutur felt that @StanGarfield had one of the best presentations http://bit.ly/5aSTeH
  • there was general appreciation for 2nd half of @vanderwal presentation http://bit.ly/7G4XVo
  • @swanwick liked @nancymdixon doing High Impact Storytelling: http://bit.ly/4FzUHO
  • @StanGarfield favs McAfee, Dixon, Li, Lambe, Gilmour, VanderWal. O’Dell
  • @StanGarfield enjoyed extracurricular dinner with 30 SIKM Leader CoP members – great discussions and personal interactions.

Ways to improve KMWorld

  • @VMaryAbraham felt it was too expensive
  • Several wished there was an online attendance package available for those who can’t travel
  • @Swanwick shared an open letter to KMWorld organizers http://bit.ly/6aL73q

Future #KMers Topics

  • @elsua: deeper dives on 1) Personal KM and 2) storytelling
  • @SethHorwitz: mind/concept mapping (comparisons, strategies)
  • @SourcePOV: review topic by topic here would be awesome; maybe even invite a few orig speakers?

Chats for Associations

There is already a meta-discussion on Twitter called #assnchat where association leaders collaborate.  How many of those associations are using a Twitter Chat (overview, tools) to create an additional collaboration avenue for THEIR members?  Judging from the Twitter Chat Schedule, the answer seems to be, “very few”.

It seems that social media savvy individuals rather than associations are the ones starting the chats.  Lara Mculloch-Carter (@ready2spark) started #eventprofs.  It could have been MPI.   Jeff DeCagna (@pinnovation) started #assnchat.  It could have been ASAE.

On the recent Oct 6 #assnchat (transcript), I moderated a discussion of how and whether associations should be creating Twitter Chats for their membership.  The chat included some good reasons for an association to run a Twitter Chat

  1. It provides another avenue for collaboration
  2. It’s free so it can be added as a benefit without driving up costs
  3. Content tends to be very good on chats
  4. Less intimidating than a conference call for those who are shy to speak out
  5. Chat attracts attention from members and prospects due to its nature of tweets going out publicly

and some reasons why an association may not want to run a Twitter Chat

  1. Discussion is 100% open.  There might be a privacy issues which necessitates more of a walled-garden
  2. Participation may be low until more people are on twitter
  3. Yet another channel might spread the activity even more so that it is hard to gain a tipping point of activity in any one channel
  4. members may want a non-computer based collaboration since they are already on computer all day

In my personal opinion

  • #1 – Certainly a good reason that you should watch out for
  • #2 – Even with only 3 people in a Twitter Chat, you can learn a lot.  Get started.  Once word gets out, more will join
  • #3 – when done well, channels feed each other rather than take away.  Tout your website during the chat and talk about the chat on your website.  Mention the chat during your f2f meeting and gain registrations for f2f from the chat
  • #4 – I have found that most people who spend a lot of time on a computer, prefer additional means of communication that use the same device.  email, IM, and even Skype are often preferred over the telephone by heavy computer users.

A chat session is never going to replace face2face collaboration.  Due to human nature, we develop a significantly deeper/quicker bond when we can see and touch each other.  But, we should not consider the choice an either/or.  Chats can increase the demand for f2f and they can help with the hype.

There is a very different set of opinions based on the same chat session over on Memberclicks.  I hope you will chime in with some of your thoughts either here or there.

The Twitter Chat experience

There are lots of articles and blog posts out there that list Twitter tools.  Very few of them seem to discuss the actual uses of those tools. Since the beginning of the year, I have been involved in scores of Twitter Chats and I am always on the lookout for better ways to handle them.

Below you will find a list of Twitter Chat tools and my personal opinions of the pros/cons of each one.  If you would like to share your pros/cons, please do so in the comments.

TweetChat

Tweetchat is the leader in the Twitter Chat race.  It is my favorite chat app and it is the favorite of most Twitter chatters.  The TweetChat experience is simple and yet powerful.  To my knowledge they are the only app where you enter the hashtag once and then it is appended to each tweet for you.  They do not append any additional URL’s.  These alone are reasons to make them #1.

Another very important feature they offer is the ability to determine the speed that the tweets will refresh as well as pause the stream.  While this may seem trivial, you will understand why it is important when we get to savorchat.   Tweetchat also allows you to block/feature users, reply to particular tweets,  re-tweet any message, and favorite any tweet.

I have only used Twubs for testing and never for a whole chat.  The reason is I have an idealogical difference with the fact that they default to tweeting their URL with every tweet.  While twubs is not as good as TweetChat at the actual chatting, they are an interesting choice to view a hashtag BETWEEN chats because of the content that can be connected around the chatting community: Links, members, images,

and   

Both of these apps allow you save searches.  This feature can be used to follow a hashtag chat.  While it is nice to be able to work within a familiar Twitter environment, the huge problem is that you always have to remember to type the hashtag.  Call me lazy, but that is too much work for me.  🙂

TweetGrid

Similar to TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop you have to remember to type the hashtag.  One advantage TweetGrid has though is that you can create a URL that automatically opens a specific set of searches for anyone who uses it.

Writing this blog post was sparked after experiencing my first SavorChat on Tues night.  On the one hand, I am really excited because they have some features that I have been thinking would benefit chats.  On the other hand, their first implementation has enough negatives that it is almost unusable.

  1. They are attempting to provide breadcrumbs that show the reply chain of a particular tweet concept.  While this is useful in theory, there are a few problems.
    • Everything happens so fast in a Twitter Chat there is not really time to analyze the chain
    • Twitter chat replies are like a game of telephone.  The reply to the reply may have absolutely nothing to do with the original
    • They take up valuable space so that less tweets can fit vertically.
  2. They are attempting to solve the Twitter lag problem by providing msgs that do not go through Twitter but instead are posted directly to all the chatters.  Again, good in theory, but here are the problems
    • The tweets come in one at a time so that the screen is constantly moving.  Reading moving text is very challenging so readers keep losing their place and have to start over.  This makes the chat appear faster than it is.
    • The tweets are not actually going out to Twitter so we are not getting the benefit of the built-in marketing aspect that each participant is sending Tweets to all their followers

If savor chat were to throttle their updates to come in batches, default to tweeting every post, and provide the chain as an optional advanced feature; I think they might get to the top of the list.

If you want to add media to your twitter chat, there is a new application called twebevent just launching which will allow you to do that for free

What apps do you prefer for your Twitter Chat?