One of my goals of 2015 was to host and/or moderate a Twitter chat. Clearly, I did nothing to go for this until five days ago!
On December 24th I had an idea as I was sitting around thinking about the next day. There I would be, with nothing to do. The Jewish Christmas. It typically consists of going to the movies and eating Chinese food. Surely, most of the other educators on Twitter would only have time for a short message of cheer or retweet as they only had a few minutes between their festivities. My thought was that there had to be others, like me, who would be bored on Christmas Day and who would have found great enjoyment staying for a while to chat about various topics on 12/25. That is how #borED4xmas was born.
I quickly created this image describing my chat and started tweeting it out. Then I sent messages to various individuals and groups to retweet my message that night. Well, technically, I sort of begged! I then proceeded to bombard Twitter over the next 13 hours with Tweets.
I am not kidding when I say that I literally stalked people who were on Twitter. If they posted something, I replied to their post with the information about my chat. I am sure I managed break various Twitter rules of etiquette and for that, I am sorry, not sorry. (You’re on Twitter? You get a tweet and you get a tweet and YOU get a tweet! A little Oprahesque!)
There were a number of mistakes that occurred, which led to what some might argue, was a complete Twitter chat FAIL.
I should have advertised my chat way before the night of 12/24. I got so excited about my idea that I didn’t even think that most people would be away from Twitter from Christmas Eve all the way through 10:30 am on Christmas Day.
After sending out Tweets with an image that listed a start time of 10:30, many of the people who did retweet, did so with MY added message (THAT I WROTE) with a 10:00 am start time. Big oops. Those times are different, how about that? Who knows if a bazillion people showed up at 10:00 or not, but really that was a small part of the technical issues surrounding the actual chat.
Well, more about the technical issues. When the chat started at 10:30, the hashtag was, unbeknownst to me, not searchable and the three, yes only THREE, people whose tweets I could see were telling me kindly that they:
A. Could not see the tweets through the hashtag.
B. Had to go through my personal Twitter page to see my quite awesome and witty, if I do say so myself, questions.
There were some highlights of the whole experience, despite the mistakes!
With all the people I begged to retweet my chat, many of them listened and I am grateful to those combined Tweeters whose reach was about 200,000 people!
Highlight #2 I connected with a few new people, but specifically Mark Grundel @MGrundel, Meredith Burstin @mburstin1, and teach w/ disability @gallianstone. These three were the three participants of my chat for the 20 minutes of technical difficulties and I may be forever grateful to Mark for his messages trying to help me! One day I will meet you in person and give you a big hug Mark!
And you know what? A Twitter chat has gotta be defined as two or more people in different places chatting, right? My participants were from NJ, MO, and MA! Not too shabby! And we were chatting…they did answer two of my holiday themed-crafted (and witty) questions.
Highlight #3 Dave Burgess of Teaching Like a Pirate fame stopped by my chat to say hello! It was very, very kind of him to do so! I love that he assumed that a lot of people would be there chatting away, like I did!
Highlight#4 The amazing Tanny McGregor sent me a tweet on 12/27 asking if my chat had been archived. I laughed out loud thinking about how I would respond to her! What a gracious thing she did reaching out to me and THEN she gave me encouragement! Aren’t we lucky as educators to have such support?
Highlight #5 I might have been #borED4xmas but I learned a thing or two, actually many things about planning ahead, testing out the technology, and about reading the rules of Twitter which I must have not understood since Twitter did not like my hashtag enough to allow it to be searchable or something like that! AND I learned how to prepare for moderating a chat. That was very valuable, for sure!
So, what to do now? My goals for 2016 definitely include…
Hosting/moderating my second chat of at least five people!
Hosting #borED4easter on 3/27/16!
Perhaps even starting a new weekly chat with educators who want to be guest moderators, who want to try out creating questions and co-moderating with me? Maybe there’s an idea brewing here?
Who is in?