Tagged: Conversation RSS

  • Zero Strategist 3:12 pm on February 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Conversation, , Reflection, , ,   

    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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    • Amy Sample Ward 10:24 am on February 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks so much for taking the time to really articulate what I think many people, on the 4change team and off, feel when they participate in the #4change chats. What's great about your break down of the elements is that when I read through them I think of many other things – facilitating a session or an event, running an innovation workshop, and so on – that create similar versions of “the feeling.” It is exhilarating to be part of something :)

      I'm so happy that the 4change chats and the collaboration of the project have helped foster such a feeling! Woohoo!

      • Zero Strategist 12:45 am on February 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        You are welcome Amy! I thought it was important to capture a the feeling when it was sweeping over me. The versions you mentioned are so true, I get a similar one when I teach social media / enterprise 2.0 bootcamps, have an intense conversation about the future of the social web or participate in rad BarCamps. :)

        Woot! Looking forward to more of these experiences…

  • amysampleward 3:09 am on July 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Conversation, Global Community, Hashtags, Lessons Learned, ,   

    Lessons Learned: Using Twitter for a Global Conversation 

    Over the last few months, we have seen Twitter serve the global community by playing an important role in communications – whether it’s finding new friends (#FollowFriday), or telling the world about your government/election/political state (#IranElection), whether it’s having a conversation together (#4Change), or non-linearly replacing your RSS feed.  What do those # mean? That’s part of the key to success when using Twitter for a Global conversation. Using hashtags lets you mark your message as pertaining to a certain topic, then automatically include that message in a stream with everyone else’s that include the same hashtag.  Using Twitter search or other tools, you can watch news and updates about the election in Iran by using #IranElection; or, find interesting people to follow and connect with using #FollowFriday to peruse the recommendations that pile up on Fridays.

    There are many opportunities to see hashtags in action!  There are also more and more opportunities emerging for people to coordinate global conversations that happen at the same time, instead of disconnected over time (still tied together via hashtag).  I am part of the planning team working on the monthly chat series behind #4Change.  There is also a Twitter-based chat starting up for consultants who work with social benefit organizations.

    I wanted to share some of the lessons I’ve learned from my involvement with organizing Twitter chats.  I’m looking forward to your ideas, too!

    1. Build a landing pad

    It is helpful to have some place where you can send people interested in your topic or chat that haven’t participated before – whether it’s a website, a blog, or just a separate Twitter account.  If you have a landing pad somewhere online where you can refer people and provide information about your chats, your group, or your purpose in more than 140 characters, it will save you a lot of extra tweeting!  Plus, it will provide a natural and obviously place to aggregate your content, thoughts, updates, and promotion of the chats.

    2. Brainstorm lots of questions but pick a few

    It seems obvious that people using a communication tool like Twitter, and then electing to participate in a large-scale public chat would not require much prodding to keep conversation going.  But, it is actually just this reason that it’s more important to pre-select your questions.  Twitter chats are slower moving than you’d expect because everyone is waiting on the Twitter search to refresh with new posts.  It works best to have 3-5 questions selected ahead of time and shared with a core group of chat leaders or guides.  This way, there is a group of people helping keep the conversation on track, focused on one question at a time.  Otherwise, the group can quickly and easily splinter off to other topics using other hashtags, after all, that’s what Twitter enables all day, every day.

    3. Consider your time

    If you really want to pull in participants from all over the world, it’s important to consider what time you are holding the chat.  It’s also important to consider how long you want the chat to be.  Knowing that Twitter based chats are slower in development and pace than something like a live web chat, you don’t want it to be too narrow of a window, but you can only hold people’s attention for so long as well.

    4. Narrow your focus

    #4Change or #NPCons (nonprofit consultants) seem like pretty obvious topics. But coordinating a conversation would be far too difficult without a specific topic for that chat because the possibilities for questions or specific ideas within those two general topics are endless.  For example, recent 4Change topics have included using competitions for social change and Twitter as a political/revolutionary tool.  This also means people can identify ahead of time any resources they want to share during the chat and if they are interested in the specific topic of the month or not.

    5. Invite your audience

    If you have your topic for the month picked out, you may have some experts, prominent thinkers, or maybe organizations/companies/ groups that are known for working in or with that topic that you want to explicitly invite to participate.  Ensuring that fresh voices participate is important – we could all talk to the same group of people without organizing a public conversation.  Promoting the chat widely via Twitter and other social networks is a great way to find more participants, too.

    6. Never underestimate the technology

    I already mentioned that Twitter-based chats aren’t as fast-paced as live web chats or some other technologies.  But, you also have to remember that Twitter isn’t in your control!  If the server has a glitch, if there’s scheduled maintenance, or if search tools lag, then your Twitter chat will dramatically suffer.  This happened during the July #4Change chat and caused us to call the chat off half-way through as search was 15 minutes behind and many participants’ messages weren’t showing up at all.

    7. Participate!

    If you want to learn more about the #4Change monthly chat series, visit http://4change.memeshift.com  The next chat topic will be announced there and on Twitter using #4Change.

    Join the first #NPCons chat this coming Tuesday, 21 July, at 1pm US Pacific time.  These chats will be monthly, on the 3rd Tuesdays, at 1 pm Pacific.

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