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Same Time, Same Place (Sort of): Twitter Chats

Same Time, Same Place (Sort of): Twitter Chats

Written by Paul Oh
December 06, 2011

A couple of years ago, I participated in the “One Book One Twitter” experiment in which people all over the world read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and then chatted with one another about particular chapters based on an agreed-upon schedule. We used the hashtag #1b1t to keep the conversations organized.

It was dubbed the “world’s largest book club” – one in which thousands of people contributed and almost no one seemed to know each other beforehand. The conversations were chaotic and occasionally repetitive. But they were also, at times, brilliant. And a number of people I began following during that period have become a mainstay of my Twitter stream.

Just a little while earlier, I had began tuning into #edchat, the weekly twitter conversation about a whole range of education-related topics, crowd-sourced each week. I dipped in and out as a way to understand Twitter, the conventions of composing on this microblogging platform, with whom and how to even have conversations in the Twitter-verse.

And more recently, Meenoo Rami of the Philadelphia Writing Project began #engchat, a weekly hour-long conversation among English teachers that has covered topics ranging from the Common Core State Standards to feminist literature, and almost everything imaginable in between. Meenoo has even experimented with a face-to-face #engchat, held alongside the 2011 ISTE conference, a documentation of which is shown in the video below.

I sometimes get frustrated when participating in these weekly chats because I feel inadequate at processing my thoughts quickly enough to respond to a question that pops up in my feed, or because I’m annoyed that certain issues don’t get more and deeper play before the conversation moves on.

On the other hand, I sometimes learn a lot from a lot of very smart people. But perhaps most importantly I’ve met many educators through these chats who have formed the backbone of my education information network, both virtual and face-to-face.

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