3 #TweetChats You Should be Following

by Africa Hands, Head Editor, INALJ Kentucky

3 #TweetChats You Should be Following: using hashtags in Twitter for learning

(Editor’s Update: you can now participate Monday’s at 9pm ET with us on #inaljchat)

africahHave you participated in a tweet chat? Tweet chats are chat sessions that happen regularly on Twitter using a particular hashtag. Chat sessions are open to anyone with a Twitter account. They’re a great way to expand your network meet fellow colleagues as well as expand your network beyond the library, share resources, and get new ideas and feedback from the Twittersphere. Three popular chats for librarians are #libchat, #alscchat, and #TLchat.

1.  #libchat

Natalie Binder (@nataliebinder) moderates #libchat every Wednesday at 8-9:30pm EST. This is a general chat session about all things related to libraryland. Participants send questions to Binder, she selects a few for discussion, and the magic happens. Discussions from a recent chat include: the logistics of setting up a teen council/club, code of conduct for patrons, and persuading higher-ups to make a change. This is great way to get advice and feedback from your library peers as well as learn about the challenges others are facing in their library community.

2.  #alscchat

The #alscchat is moderated by the Children and Technology Committee of the ALA division, Association of Library Service to Children. On the second Thursday of the month at 9pm EST, librarians gather round Twitter to discuss using technology in children’s services. The May chat was devoted to a discussion on serving the technology needs of children in special populations particularly non-traditional settings like detention centers. Other chats have discussed kids and mobile devices, using technology to lure non-library users, and technology and summer reading. Transcripts of chat sessions are often posted in ALA Connect; search for #alscchat.

3. #TLchat

Nikki D. Robertson (@NikkiDRobertson) is the moderator of #TLchat which takes place on the second Monday of each month at 8pm EST. The focus of #TLChat is teacher-librarians and their role, collaboration, connecting, sharing, learning and growing, according to Robertson. So far this year participants have discussed the power of collaboration with the Common Core, building your personal learning network (PLN), and all things eBooks. For more details, check out the planning space wiki and TL Virtual Café, a blog for teacher-librarians.

How can you follow along and participate in these and other chats? I used TweetChat until it was bought by oneQube. I’m told oneQube has similar capability as Tweetchat but have yet to take it for a spin.

Twitter chats can be overwhelming in the beginning. If there are lots of participants, tweets fly in at a rapid pace. For some of the chats I’ve participated in the moderator will tweet the question using Q1, Q2, etc. Participants respond with A1, A2, etc. in front of their tweet. This helps people follow the discussion, matching answers to questions. It also helps if the one question is tweeted every 5-10 minutes allowing participants to discuss one question at a time then move on to the next question. For an hour long session, you can discuss 5-6 questions and get thoughtful, in-depth responses from participants. Some chats begin with brief introductions: who you are, where you live, and possibly a fun ice-breaker question. Promotional tweets during the introduction period are a no-no on most chats. Moderators often allow time at the end for participants to tweet their contact information, blog URL, or LinkedIn profile.

Take time throughout the month to get to know your colleagues through Twitter chats. You’ll learn more about their library and its successes and challenges, and get a view of the library field from outside your immediate surroundings. All of which can be food for thought during a job search. For a list of other Twitter chats, check out the schedules here and here.

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