01 June 2016

My first Twitter chat

I've been on Twitter for a few years (not so much of late), but Tuesday night was the first time I've participated in a live Twitter chat. It happened under the auspices of the International Librarians Network (though you didn't need to be involved in the ILN to participate) and some of the staff from the QUT Information Studies Group were facilitating and sparking conversations. The topic was professional development (PD) for librarians.

I really appreciated the chat guidelines provided on the ILN website. There was some useful advice there about tools that you could use. I ended up just adding a column to my usual desktop client (Tweetdeck) but I may try one of these next time. The organisers suggested letting your followers know that you would be participating in a chat so that they could choose to mute the hashtag if they didn't want to be bombarded. This was a great piece of Twitter etiquette (Twitterquette?) and not something I would have thought to do myself.

The organisers provided the questions beforehand, so it was possible to think a bit about the topic before the heat of the moment. Even so, on the night the tweets were flying so thick and fast it was hard to keep up! (Not even my 60wpm touch typing was enough. Though I still give thanks to my Mum for forcing me to learn typing in the 80s - on a typewriter! - it is a good life skill.) I was grateful to be able to go back over the Storify for the event the next day to see everything in context and to follow some of the participants.

Given that the conversation covered free ways to develop yourself and the importance of networking, the chat was actually a good example of the kinds of things that are readily available to us all as PD options, regardless of employment status and availability of funding. I saw some old friends, made some new ones, and thoroughly enjoyed spending an hour on a Tuesday evening with fellow librarians. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for further Twitter chats on topics that I'm interested in and would recommend joining in if you haven't tried it.