August #4change chat: Co-creating a network of #4change chat events

As Amy Sample Ward mentioned in today’s announcement of the new Community Building Chats she’s hosting,

The #4Change team that has managed/supported/hosted the monthly chats for over a year now has recently come to a very interesting transition phase – there are quite a few options on the table and many directions that we could take, including a partnership with Internet4Change. I’m really interested in what happens next, and not just because I am part of the team but also because I think we can be a case study in ourselves of the changing landscape and processes of online collaboration. I want to keep these chats associated with the #4change network so that more people can find and participate, we can more directly share across other topics, and these chats can stay bundled together with anything/everything else that comes next in the growth and evolution of #4change, whether as part of the larger Internet4Change or not. Exciting times!

I joined the #4change team in early 2010, at a time when the transition phase had perhaps already started. I’d been actively participating in the monthly #4change chats whenever I could for a while, and no – of course it hadn’t slipped by me that I have owned a domain intended since 2002 for someday housing the kind of dynamically generated and very practical information about using the internet for social change that the #4change chats produce. I think it was Tom Dawkins, at that time known to me as the (long overdue) strategist behind Ashoka’s social media presence, who first tweeted me with the idea of joining the #4change crew “behind the scenes”.  Amy was also very encouraging when I met her face to face for the first time in London in January, as were others on the #4change crew who reached out with encouraging tweets & DMs.

Needless to say, I was thrilled and honored to jump in. Apart from some interesting potential to maybe explore with regard to Internet4Change, I was also excited to learn about the collaborative systems and processes that the #4change crew was using to co-create the monthly chat event together. All in all, so far, I can honestly say it’s been a really tremendous learning experience.

Working with the likes of social media & social change brains like Amy Sample Ward, Tom Dawkins, Todd Pitt, Morgan Sully and Edward Harran on thinking about where the highest value of the #4change chat lies, the kind of space that the #4change hashtag has come to occupy in our tweetstreams, and what it might come to represent in the broader world of micro-blogging events has been exciting – even if we don’t yet have all the answers. What’s clear is that there is a shared desire among the original #4change crew to move beyond thinking about #4change as a product, and start understanding it as a model for participatory online learning in the social change space that is worthy of serious thought toward a sustainable replication strategy.

There are essentially two parts to the challenge of figuring out next steps for the #4change chat concept:

  1. the real-time operational part, of convening, planning & hosting global #4change micro-blogging chat events that are really useful to participants, and
  2. the content capture strategy part, of making sure that the practical information the #4change chats produce is as accessible and useful as possible to others in the future.

Our starting point is the real time operational part, where one of the first burning questions is WHO will be convening, planning and hosting #4change chats in the future.  What we’d most love to see happen in response to that question is that folks who have been following the #4change chat space will step forward to claim a small piece of this current transition’s success.  What we in the #4change crew foresee in loose terms, as Amy wrote, is the development of #4change as an umbrella-like network of connected, regularly scheduled micro-blogging chats about social change, hosted by people with a particular interest in the theme they are convening the chats around.

  • Amy Sample Ward will be hosting a regular monthly #4change chat on Community Building.
  • Christina Jordan (that’s me!) might be hosting a monthly #4change chat for Social Enterprise start-ups
  • Todd Pitt (@zerostrategist) has been thinking about what a semi-regular #4change chat about Web Strategy would look like
  • Which #4change related topic would YOU be willing to host a chat about on a monthly or semi-regularly scheduled basis?

Ideally, we are imagining a #4change network that’s able to co-create & effectively cross-promote a calendar of #4change participatory global learning events that are led by really passionate people using a range of micro-blogging tools, from Twitter to CoverItLive to Skype, to others that offer a sharable archive of our real-time interaction.

In terms of topics that are covered through the #4change network chats, possibly merging with Internet4Change invites exploration of a broader territory, beyond the lines of social media and social change per se. What I hope we will learn more about together under the #4change umbrella is how the larger resource that is the Internet – in it’s many social, economic and communicative facets – can be navigated and used to help co-create, promote and implement real world social change.

So what do you say? The #4change door is open to those who would like to join us in taking the micro-blogging chat concept to another level.

  • Is there an area of your work online for social change that you feel passionate enough about to regularly share and harvest some crowdsourced wisdom on?
  • Can you think of 3-4 specific chat topics that you would be willing to schedule with the #4change network over the coming months?
  • Are you interested in working with us to build a system for knowledge sharing that spreads the practical info that’s shared during the #4change chats to as many people who need it as possible?
  • Alternatively, would you like to join us by associating an existing monthly chat you run with the #4change network?

If so, then please get in touch @ChristinasWorld!

Meanwhile, we’d love some initial feedback to this new direction in the mix, as we continue to think about taking these ideas forward. If you have loved participating in the #4change chats in the past, then please join us in the August chat TOMORROW to begin a discussion about co-creating a #4change network into the future. Tom Dawkins and I will be there to co-host an early exploration of what the #4change transition could mean for you.


Date: August 12th
Time: 2 pm PST, 5 pm EST, 10 pm UK
Location: #4change on Twitter
Topic: Co-creating a network of #4change chat events