I left my last post at the climax of discussion concerning my adventures with TweetChats and the Firefighters Museum of Calgary.
Despite a significant delay in completing the tale (I’ve been busy!), the long wait is over and here comes part two of Twitter-Pated to Twitter-Stumped.
This post will follow up on my previous post and discuss what worked and what could be improved from me when starting a TweetChat from scratch.
First, some background: the first chat (#muselyfe) yielded six participants and this number remained relatively consistent throughout the 10 weeks worth of chats.
Those participating also remained generally the same…
Okay. Confession time. I must be honest here: the majority of the participants, those who were reliably there each week, were members of my program whom I could harass and cajole into joining.
That being said, new people did join on and off and my friend also introduced her friend to the chat, adding some new voices almost every week.
Okay. Background over. Now for what worked and the kinks. I’m not going to say things “didn’t work”, because that’s not true! There were just some things that worked better than others! I’ll start with those:
– Asking friends to promote the chat within their institution.
– Choosing broad topics so all areas of heritage could participate. For example, the most successful chat was #redlyfe. We discussed everything from the importance of red in history to its use in exhibits.
– Asking members to pick the topic for the following week. Just ensure you have a backup idea handy!
– Promoting each chat under an umbrella hashtag (in our case, we used #museumchatter). This made it easier to search the chats. It did occasionally cause slight confusion at the beginning as to which hashtag to use during the actual chat, but I rectified this by quoting any of those tweets and adding the proper tag.
– Using TweetDeck to monitor all tweets. I set up the museum’s account, my account and both #museumchatter and the hashtag of each week on the main screen so I could keep tabs with extreme ease.
– Limiting the chat to 30 minutes. Conversation flowed for about 20 minutes, leaving about five minutes to suggest a new topic and wrap up.
Kinks/Things to Improve:
– Narrow topics. This was probably the biggest issue. Topics would seem broad when suggested (such as #floodlyfe, where we discussed the impact heritage sites can have during national events like the 2013 Calgary floods), but quickly proved to be limited in what could be discussed.
– Along the same lines, chats such as “what do you love about your work?” or “what have you learned” went very well to start, but also tend to lead to a dead end after everyone has contributed. Awkward…
– Promotion of the chat could have been expanded. I was hesitant to post the chat and topic weekly in Facebook groups for fear of nagging, but perhaps this would have helped.
That’s all I can think of right now!
Overall, it was an incredibly interesting experience and something I would recommend more institutions and heritage sites start implementing. Not only does it promote sharing ideas, but it is also a great way to network across the country.
So there! That’s what I have to say about TweetChats, if you were to ask me. Which no one did. But I shared anyways. You’re welcome!