In Justin Schleider‘s recent blog post, “Death of the Twitter Chat?” Justin suggests that the novelty of Twitter chats might be wearing thin. I suggested the very same a few months ago when I first discovered Blab Beta, and you can read that Medium post here. I am reminded of Barry Schwartz’s Ted Talk on the paradox of choice; we simply have so many options to engage, why limit it to Twitter? In answer to Justin Schleider:

Q1: Do you participate in Twitter chats? Why?

Yes, because they are what I would call “engagement lite.” All the same great ideas, and half the calories! There is a plethora of instantly useful information about teaching and learning on Twitter, and because tweeters are limited to 140 characters and link sharing, we are all forced to “cut to the chase.” I really enjoy this “just the facts ma’am” method of delivery and I will continue to use it as long as it is available. Some blog posts, including my own, are simply TLDR.

Q2: Has your participation of Twitter chats increased or decreased in the past 6 months? Why?

It has decreased somewhat, but that has little to do with the quality and/or repetition of the chat topics, though I must admit, they can be repetitive. I very much enjoyed reading about Justin’s pat answers to the typical educational Twitter chat questions. There is a hilarious graphic about the stages of Twitter usage that really resonates with me. If I could fathom the search terms for it I would link to it here, but alas, I just know I am beyond the novelty stage and that’s why my usage has decreased in the past six months.

Q3: What makes a great Twitter chat?

Real ideas and sharing with real people who mean well and who are not there to try to sell you their book or pay-per-use teacher resources website, etc. While a chat might be repetitive to me because I have been participating in educational chats since January 2015, a brand new educator to Twitter might really benefit from it. A chat is great as long as the people participating in the chat are enjoying it and getting something out of it. If you are a new teacher to Twitter might I suggest starting with #Nt2t, which stands for “New Teacher to Twitter.”

Q4: What is the limitation or negatives of a Twitter chat?

This really depends on my day, my mood, other demands on my time, and the chat topic. I choose to “plead the fifth” because my ideas could be the rain on someone else’s Twitter chat parade. One thing I don’t stick around for is school-specific questioning. I work at an international school and while I really enjoy working there I simply do not, cannot, will not speak for the school. We have specific roles at the school, and public relations and communications is not mine. Thus, I speak for myself (and the trees).

Q5: What are your favorite Twitter chats?

There are some chats that nearly always hold me from beginning to end if I remember when they are, including: #EngageChat, #weirded, #EDthink, #MNlead, #TXeduchat, #totallyrossome, #resiliencechat, #DareToBe, #INZPirED, and more that I can’t remember because it is past my bed time.

Thus, you will continue to find me on Twitter chats for the foreseeable future. Thanks, Justin, for making me think!

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