Findings of a Survey on Tweetchats
Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 4 September 2012
Survey on Tweetchats
On 21 August 2012 I published a post entitled #uklibchat, #ECRchat, #PhDchat, #Socialchat and Other Tweetchats which provided an introduction to “Tweetchats” and illustrated how researchers and information professionals are using the open realtime discussion environment provided by a simple combination of Twitter and a hashtag to share ideas and discuss topics of comment interest with their peers.
The post included a survey on how people used Tweetchats. In the three weeks since the post was published there have been 18 responses. Since there is a #uklibchat taking place tonight, it seems appropriate to take this opportunity to summarise the responses.
The respondents mentioned eight Tweetchats, with the most popular ones being #uklibchat (9 mentions), #chartership (4), #phdchat (4), #ECRchat (2) and #acwi (2). Seven respondents contributed to Tweetchats regularly and eight occasionally. In addition 2 responses were received from people who have never participated in a Tweetchat. Twelve respondents said they would recommend participation in Tweetchats to others.
I will list the responses received below.
What benefits do you feel Tweetchats have provided, if any?
- They’ve given me a community and a shared space to explore ideas. They let me know my concerns and problems aren’t just mine – other people experience them too. I get to offer my experience and advice, and to take advantage of other people’s. I expand my horizons about what academia looks like. I meet people I wouldn’t meet any other way.
- Tips, advice and support from other chartership candidates, and greater understanding of topics and other perspectives for more general discussions.
- Expanded network, i.e. increase in Twitter followers and more blog hits/comments
- I don’t feel isolated. Its a good source for informal sharing of support as well as ideas, strategies, resources. Links to articles I would not have come across otherwise. Was a launching pad to conferences I have since attended.
- A regular opportunity to network with a wide range of people I would not otherwise meet, and to have very interesting and thought-provoking discussions/debates about topics I would not otherwise think about in depth.
- Convenient & cheap (free), can network with ppl all over the world, get lots of varied info and ideas, exciting!
- Connects me with fellow LIS professionals who have similar issues in their workplaces.
- I see it as a form of networking with others in your profession that you may not meet otherwise. I also find it a good way to debate topical issues in the sector and also see things from other people’s point of view as well as learning about things I did not know about before, for example resources or events or even things going on in academic/ public sector libraries etc.
- Live discussion of issues with other professionals, from various locations, to keep up to date and to exchange views.
- Get to speak to like-minded people who you’re unlikely to meet any other way; instant responses / ideas / suggestions.
- Opportunity for me, as a mentor, to find out what is of concern to chartership candidates, to provide encouragement and maybe even pick up useful CPD ideas I can use myself.
- Being able to enjoy conferences vicariously. Breaking down usual communication barriers, and any hierarchy within academia (the student has the same voice as the professor). Drawing upon numerous different fields of previously inaccessible thought.
- Making contacts on Twitter – means more likely to get a response if you post a query later. Evidence for chartership – engaging in professional issues. Sharing idea’s, building trust among fellow professionals. Creating local contacts – I’ve joined a local chartership group that meets in person as a result of chartership chats on Twitter. Much more motivating to meet up in person with others, but wouldn’t have happened without Twitter
Why have you not participated in a Tweetchat?
- From July – September I’m usually at the Proms every night, so a “bad” time. Other times? I would if I saw a special topic that interested me. Otherwise, I don’t bring my work home with me.
- I’d like to learn more, but it’s difficult to get your head around it. There are different platforms and different format. Too many questions! I’d love to get some advice.
- If I haven’t, it’s been either the time of day (early evening sometimes doing something else) or the subject has not been of interest.
- Often I am busy at the time they are scheduled for, a great shame, but I am still able to read back through the chat via the hashtag.
- I am not always able to be available at the right time
Other relevant comment
- I think using Twitter for synchronous discussions is a really valuable use and something which I think will continue to increase.
- While the chat is a synchronised one once a week on a surveyed topic. It is also an ongoing chat on any topic during the week as well.
- I regularly took part in #uklibchat for almost a year, and have now joined the organising team (so I may be biased!)
- I join #UKLibchat when the topic is something I’m interested in / feel I can contribute to – so not necessarily every fortnight.
It appears that the majority of the respondents valued their participation in Tweetchats and are happy to recommend participation to others. But although some appear to value the opportunity Tweetchat can provide for professional development outside normal working hours others may not welcome this intrusion outside normal working hours.
I feel that it is appropriate to leave the final word with @joeayanne, who is clearly a fan of Tweetchats for supporting professional development in a Library context:
I organise #chartership chat which usually happens once a fortnight – see http://www.joeyanne.co.uk/2012/02/16/chartership-chat-on-twitter-16th-feb-2012/ for blog post about the first chat (which trended in UK!) and http://cilipquals.pbworks.com/w/page/52708592/Chartership%20Chat for dates, archives and summaries.
I also set up #llrg (Library Leadership Reading Group) tweetchats – see http://www.joeyanne.co.uk/2012/06/10/library-leadership-reading-group-llrg/ for FAQs and http://www.joeyanne.co.uk/2012/08/05/llrg-discussion-leadership-and-the-new-science-llrg/ for a summary of the discussion.
For those who may now feel motivated to try out a Tweetchat, tonight’s UKLibchat is on the topic of digitisation and takes place from 18:30 – 20:30.
If, on the other hand, you are a researcher, you may wish to participate in the #ECRchat which, as it has an international audience, takes place on Thursday 6th September at 11:00-12:00 in the UK.
This chat will be hosted by Hazel Ferguson, a postdoc researching the cultural politics of alternative food systems in the Northern Rivers of NSW, Australia. Interested participants can vote for the topic to be discussed, which includes Developing an independent research profile; the fixed-term contract trap; Learning and developing leadership skills and Changing track.
Twitter conversation via Topsy: [View]