I have been following the weekly #LTHEchat as an observer (my more positive equivalent for lurker) for a long time however this week I decided to take the plunge and join in. As the topic was Open CPD it could not have been more apt for my first go.
As someone who had never participated in a tweetchat it was all in all a very daunting prospect and I wanted to put down my thoughts on the experience while still fresh in my mind.
What had held me back
- Timing – bedtime for me is ridiculously hectic never mind focus on a fast-paced conversation, it was hard enough just reading it all
- Being overwhelmed by the level of knowledge and experience of those who regularly participate – what could I contribute?
- Putting myself ‘out there’
So having made the big decision to try to actually introduce myself and join in the conversion I first watched the introduction by Sue Beckingham. This was very helpfully a pinned tweet @LTHEchat.
— LTHE Tweetchat (@LTHEchat) October 27, 2014
I then wrote my intro tweet and copied the hashtag before the start time and whilst calm. Lastly, I made sure my batteries had enough charge. All so very practical.
I was wholly prepared to find it difficult to keep pace with the questions and my initial game plan was to attempt to answer each question once. I also knew it was going to be tricky to achieve this whilst trying to read and not replicate other answers. As I was using a combination of my phone and tablet (due to bedtime routine) I was also prepared to find it more difficult than with a PC using Tweetdeck and a mouse. Lastly, I was primed to the difficulties of typing fast, being concise and trying to avoid excess typos. I hoped that by copying the hashtag it would help when I got tangled by being only a ‘paste’ away (this did indeed turn out to be the case).
So despite all my methodical prep work the one single thing that absolutely and totally floored me was the completely head bending issue of interactions. People were unbelievably interacting with me…
The notifications started slowly and I replied before I began answering questions. However, this did not last long, suddenly the two devices were buzzing at an alarming rate and this combined with reading bedtime stories brought the panic on.
The biggest problem was trying to differentiate between the ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ and actual comments or questions directed at me. If I clicked a direct query tweet in my notifications then I was out of the hashtag list. If I stayed in the chat things that were being asked of me whizzed past quicker than I could even read.
So as predicted I got myself well and truly tangled several times. Then before, I knew it my aim of supplying a doable six answers to six set questions was blown out of the water and I was in the middle of multiple conversations.
Scary? Definitely. Exciting? Definitely. Unexpected? Definitely.
Having survived the experience there were loads of gains; I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone, learnt loads about the process, made connections and as a fortuitous bonus now have this reflection to add to my CMALT portfolio for CPD.
However, I am not sure if I managed to reply to every query and also I think I may have inadvertently sent some of you completely off topic – not sure if that is a good or bad outcome, so apologies for that (although they were very interesting). By going off-piste I also realised afterwards that I didn’t add thoughts to the official answer stream that I had in my head as I was out of time. In addition, I also missed out on other conversations/answers as it was just going too fast – thank goodness for the storify to look back at (edit: 2019 sadly storify is no longer).
Overall, I am still undecided as to whether I managed to sink or swim, it felt like sinking at the time, but thank you all for bearing with me it was great, if stressful, fun. I would definitely recommend having a go at moving from observer to participant – yes it was hard but it was worthwhile.
Will I have another go? Definitely – a new path in my learning labyrinth …
Now to review the whole story:
— LTHE Tweetchat (@LTHEchat) June 9, 2016
Image attributions: unsplash.com – Creative Commons Zero