Confessions of a Twitter Chat Lurker

As I’ve been exploring Twitter over the past few months I’ve come to value it as a professional learning tool. I will admit, I’ve become semi-addicted to checking my twitter feed to see what’s going on in the world and the lives/work of the people I ‘follow.’ A course I’m taking this semester, Digital Literacies (#diglits), has been using twitter and discussing ideas of networked publics, digital spaces, authorship, etc. Recently, I’ve found myself saying that there are weeks where (it seems like) I learn more from twitter than from grad school. Twitter Chats, however, are one aspect of Twitter where I have not been an active participant.

What is a Twitter Chat?

For those of you who reading this who are completely confused, let me rewind for a bit. Per its homepage, Twitter is… “a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting. Simply find the accounts you find most compelling and follow the conversations.” Twitter chats are, usually, based on a topic of interest and occur on a specific day/time each week. Here is a list of Twitter Chats compiled by Tom Murray (@thomascmurray) Director of Technology and Cyber Education at Quakertown Community School District.

What’s the Value of a Twitter Chat?

To answer that question, I’ll defer to some twitter chat experts.

Why Lurk?

I’ve recently been lurking in a bunch of twitter chats. These include: Parent-Teacher Chat (#ptchat), Standards Based Grading (#sbgchat) and Iowa Ed Chat (#iaedchat) to name a few. I’m curious to explore subject-specific chats as well as those related to school librarians. This being said, my current work schedule is not conducive to many twitter chats. This may change in the future, but for now I end up reading archives of chats and/or lurking for the last 20 minutes or so of live chats. I’m also hesitant to enter into content area chats as I don’t necessarily identify with one subject matter. I tend to prefer interdisciplinary approaches to elementary, language arts, and social studies topics.

Lately, I’ve been wondering if twitter chats are unique to education. My perspective is limited in that I primarily follow education/library affiliated folks.  Do other industries conduct regular twitter chats? I would love to find one that involves public and/or academic librarians. If anyone has suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

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