Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Course laid in at tweetchat.com

Increased use of Twitter during the course of my day has given me an opportunity to share best practices with other professionals by engaging in “Tweet Chats.” This online medium allows participants from across the country or globe to instantly share and benefit from each other’s expertise.

A person who has an account on Twitter.com is given 140 characters in which to post an answer to the question, “What’s happening?” Each update issued on Twitter is a “Tweet.”

Twitter users self-curate their Tweets by topics by inserting hashtag characters. For example when I talk about libraries, I might use the hashtag #libraries. Anyone who does a search for #libraries will then access mine and any other post with that tag.

Hashtags do not appear to be case-sensitive: at this writing, posts utilizing #dfmchat and #DFMChat are cued in the same search results.

At recurring designated times people use hashtags to follow and communicate via a Tweet Chat. The chat is generally overseen by a moderator who sets guidelines for participants to follow.

Here is an overview of some of the chats I am aware of with times given in Pacific Time:

#ASNEChat takes place from 11 a.m. to noon each Tuesday, moderated by the American Society of News Editors’ @NewsEditors account. This chat recently adopted an alternating-week approach between posting on Twitter and having panelists post comments at ASNE.org using an online interface that is called “CoverItLive.” Today’s segment is slated for ASNE.org.

#DFMChat takes place from 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesdays between MediaNews Group journalists. It is moderated each week by Ivan Lajara, @ivanlajara.

 I set Tweetchat.com (a very useful site) to auto-scroll accumulating posts that use #DFMChat tag. In between my other responsibilities in the Record-Bee newsroom, I can monitor what the participants are saying and contribute something if I like: again by using the designated hashtag that automatically curates my Tweets.

#smchat, a discussion of social media, begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. This chat, founded by Chris Jones, @SourcePOV, is a new discovery: a #DFMChat participant made reference to it last Wednesday and I haven’t actually sat in.

#libchat, moderated by Natalie Binder, @nataliebinder on Twitter, takes place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays while I’m on my way home from work. So while I’m not able to contribute to this dialogue among library students and professionals I can view the search results afterward.

A common format among the chats is that the moderator posts questions at set time intervals: every 10 minutes, say. Each post is prefaced by Q1, Q2, etc. and the participants then reply with the corresponding number: A1 at the beginning of their Tweet. I appreciate the order with which the posts can then be arranged: matching answers to the question that elicited them.

There are many more chats going on; to get an idea of how many, view a curated list and search for chats by subject at Gnosis Media Group: http://gnosisarts.com/home/Tweetchat_Wiki.

Published Feb. 7, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

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