Reflections On A #4Change Twitter Chat

Last week I facilitated the #4Change global twitter chat with Tom on Cause Fatigue. It was an awesome one. When the chat ended I was left with what I have just call in the past “the feeling.” The purpose of this article is to explore exactly what that “feeling” is and why it is important.

Describing “The Feeling” of A Great Twitter Chat

When I participate in or moderate a twitter chat that has gone well I experience a range of emotions which I will attempt to describe here:

Convergence - Diverse and distributed individuals coming together to make something common happen in real time.

Discovery - The exploration of ourselves, each other, our thoughts, common issues, topics, information, links, articles, books, videos and other resources which are not always know by any one individual, expert or practitioner.

Conversation - Intense, thoughtful, deep conversation about something which is of interest.

Connection - Forging lasting connections because of meaningful interactions around common actions.

Collaboration - The contributions of individuals to co-create something together, which is otherwise not possible.

Serendipity - The experience of encountering “randomness” or “pseudo-randomness” (I don’t think they are random at all but that is for another article), the bridging of degrees of social, societal, organizational and global separations.

Openness – An open door through a relatively open platform, though which any peer can step at anytime. All opinions welcome, wanted and valued.

Rich Discussion – When participating in the face to face chats with different sized groups there are certain physical limits. With the microblog medium it is possible to participate in multiple conversations or conversation threads at once. The conversation can converge, diverge and re-converge whenever it needs to. A more rich conversation can happen where once it was limited physically.

Learning - Often times when joining in a microblog chat (or any meeting for that matter), people think or believe that they may already know a good deal about a subject or topic. But through the virtual convening of eclectic individuals, perspectives and backgrounds in open conversation a greater truth, knowledge or experience has the potential to reveal itself to all.

The feeling that I have described above is the not like any other feeling I have experienced in life. To be completely honest it can indeed be quite compelling, borderline intoxicating. It is this overwhelming sense of so many “things” mashed together that it becomes a nearly nonsensical and indescribable emotional mashup. But the first time you feel it, you just know somewhere deep inside and something changes in you forever. It is a sense of awe and amazement, the one you first experienced as a kid discovering the world.

Your “reality” is not the same as it was before feeling that (social media working). You don’t look at things or think about things the same way that you did before. The mind begins to race with the possibility of change on a much grander scale then imagined in previous moments. The ideas come in waves like tsunamis, time becomes some elusive thing that you need more of to make so much more happen. Something is working and happening on a higher level that was not really possible before these social web technologies emerged and took flight on the Internet a half a decade ago.

Why I Participate In #4Change Microblog Chats

Everyone has their own reason for joining different events, conversations and happenings both virtual and real. The reason I participate in the #4Change Twitter Chats (microblog chats) is because of two things which I know to be at the heart of social media and social change:

  1. The Feeling (As described above)
  2. My Peers (#4Change team/fellow tweeps)

Disclosure – This article has been cross posted to Zero Strategist

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