UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Posts Tagged ‘Tweetchat’

Findings of a Survey on Tweetchats

Posted by Brian Kelly on 4 Sep 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.
  • Contacts.
  • 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 for blog post about the first chat (which trended in UK!) and for dates, archives and summaries.

I also set up #llrg (Library Leadership Reading Group) tweetchats – see for FAQs and 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]

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#uklibchat, #ECRchat, #PhDchat, #Socialchat and Other Tweetchats

Posted by Brian Kelly on 21 Aug 2012


What is a Tweetchat? What Tweetchats are there to support researchers and information professionals? How widely used are they? Are they useful? These are some of the questions I’ve tried to answer in this post – although the answer to the final question will be reliant on responses provided by participants of Tweetchats.


Yesterday I came across an email on the LIS-Profession JISCMail list about a Twitter discussion which is taking place tonight (Tuesday 21 August 2012):

Next Tuesday from 18:30 – 20:30pm #uklibchat will be discussing:

*Outreach and Inclusion*

One of the ways that libraries prove their worth is by the amount of users that they have and, for public libraries especially, it’s about serving the community. Outreach, by its very name, is about reaching out and engaging with people, inspiring them to make more use of the library!

If you are interested in sharing your experience with doing outreach work, discussing ways that libraries can be more socially inclusive, or what outreach means for different library sectors, or anything else related to the topic, do join us!

Everyone is welcome to add their questions to the open discussion agenda: [link

If you have any questions just e-mail us, or contact us on Twitter @uklibchat

As illustrated #uklibchat has an accompanying web site which provides further information about #uklibchat discussions and archives of previous discussions.


The message which alerted me to the #uklibchat was quite timely as on Sunday I came across an interesting discussion using the #ECRchat Twitter hashhag. As a number of people I follow on Twitter were participating in the discussion I was able to learnt that #ECRChat is a discussion environment for Early Career Researchers. Looking at the #ECRChat Web site I found that this provides a weekly topic for discussion with the topic for Thursday 23 August currently being voted on, with the four topics being Social media use for ECRs: (1) pros and cons, and different types for different purposes; (2) Defining success outside of the traditional academic path; (3) Coping with and getting out of the fixed-term contract trap and (4) Getting recognition for work outside of research.

The group was established on 15 July 2012 with the aim of “providing a global weekly discussion for the early career researcher community via Twitter“.


#PhDChat provides another Twitter hashtag which I encounter occasionally on my Twitter stream. From the #PhDChat Web site I learnt that:

In November 2010, a group of UK based research students began to meet together on Wednesday evenings for an hour using the medium of Twitter in order to share their experiences of the doctoral journey. News of the gatherings quickly spread, and the discussions began to encompass postgraduate researchers from around the globe together with a number of people who have completed their doctoral journeys and a number of academics who are involved in supporting postgraduate research. 

Unlike the #uklibchat and #ECRChat Web sites, which use, this Web site uses the PBWorks Wiki tool. The Wiki provides information about the discussion environment, links to archives of previously discussed topics, links to other useful resources and pages which are in preparation.


I came across #Socialchat last night as one person I follow on twitter regularly participates in the discussions. Unusually, perhaps, #Socialchat has a Facebook presence from which I learnt that “#SocialChat is a weekly TwitterChat on Mondays“.

The Facebook page provides a link to the Socialparle Web site which describes how “#SocialChat is a weekly Twitter Chat where we discuss a variety of topics surrounding Social Media Marketing. Every Monday night we put a featured guest on the hot seat and you get to ask questions and contribute to the conversation“. The Web site provides a link to archives of the discussions which date back to February 2011. Looking at the archive of the discussions on the topic of Social Media ROI which took place on 1 August 2011 it seems that Storify is used to record the discussions.

About Tweetchats

Although I was aware of Tweetchats though the tweets with various hashtags on my stream I wasn’t aware of how popular they were. Looking at the Tweetchat Wiki with List of Tweetchats I found the following useful definition of a Tweetchat:

Tweetchats are virtual meetings held on Twitter. They are typically gatherings of Tweeps who share similar interests. Tweetchats often meet at set days and times during the week. They are identified by a hashtag – a word prepended with a pound sign (#). The pound sign makes it easy to identify the tweetchat members as well as the tweets belonging to the particular chat.

together with a directory of a wide range of Tweetchats grouped by Day of the Week, Subject and alphabetically (A – I and J – Z).

You can participate in a Tweetchat using your favourite Twitter client for posting, using the appropriate hashtag and search for tweets with the hashtag to see others’ contributions. Alternatively you can use a dedicated service such as TweetChat (illustrated being used with #ECRchat).

Another relevant service is As illustrated this service provides analytics for Tweetchats. The statistics for the services mentioned in this post summarised below (statistics collated at 08.20 on Tuesday 21 August 2012).

  • Analysis of ECRChat: 67 tweets generated 48,941 impressions, reaching an audience of 30,338 followers within the past 24 hours
  • Analysis of PhDChat: 279 tweets generated 197,757 impressions, reaching an audience of 101,756 followers within the past 24 hours
  • Analysis of UKLibchat: 7 tweets generated 4,335 impressions, reaching an audience of 1,531 followers within the past 24 hours
  • Analysis of Socialchat: 544 tweets generated 4,517,020 impressions, reaching an audience of 1,350,605 followers within the past 24 hours (illustrated)


Sunday’s #ECRChat discussion moved into discussions about non-users of social media in a research context following the link to a post which asked Who are the offline-academics? The subsequent discussions used the #offlineac tag and Lou Woodley has helpfully provided a Storify summary of the discussions. I suggested that it would be useful to have a better understanding of the benefits which online academics, for example, gain from use of social media in order to develop a model of the different reasons for participation. Rather than a broad areas (such as blogging or Twitter) it seemed to me to be useful to understand how a particular aspect of a social media tool is being used and to hear about the benefits which this may provide. Tweetchats, I felt, could provide a useful focus for such analysis. The following survey has been created. I welcome your participation. A summary of the responses will be provided on this blog.

A survey was open from 21 August to 4 September 2012. The survey asked the following questions:

  • Have you participated in a Tweetchat?
  • Please give the name(s) of the Tweetchats.
  • What benefits do you feel Tweetchats have provided, if any?
  • ‘Why have you not participated in a Tweetchat?
  • Would you recommend participation in a Tweetchat to others?
  • Feel free to add other relevant comments.
  • The findings have been published on this blog.
  • Your contact details (e.g. twitter ID or email) if you would like a reply.

A summary of the findings was published on 4 September 2012.

Twitter conversation via Topsy: [View]

Posted in Twitter | Tagged: | 6 Comments »