Friday, September 17, 2010

Participating in ELT Chat on Twitter

Last September 15, 2010 I participated in the first ELTchat (#ELTchat) on

I was excited to take part in this activity mainly for three reasons: I wanted to see...
1.  how the flow of conversations would transpire
2.  what subtopics would come out as an offshoot from the general main topic: 'How do we best motivate learners?'
3. how I'd be able to follow the thread of conversations/messages posted by so many people almost all at the same time

I have participated in many online chats, webinars, voice/text chats, or whatever you want to call it, and I'm quite familiar with the set-up. I'm also pretty aware of how people behave in online chats; some are really responsive and some less active, and there are those who are 'technically have web presence' since they are logged on and we see their usernames in the chat platform but 'conversationally absent' since they do not participate in the conversations. But facilitating a chat session on Twitter is definitely new--at least for me. Now, I've seen pretty short yet interesting conversations on Twitter, and they can sometimes be delightful to read. A source of amusement, I should say. My favs on brief-twitter-chats would be those of between Gavin D. and Claire Siskin, and again Gavin D. and Jeremy Harmer, and yet again Gavin D. and Scott Thornbury (which Jason R. also blogged in, Jason describes Gavin and Scott as people in the ELT field with sharp and witty personalities. I agree, and I think the same can be said for Claire and Jeremy. These people are great in carrying snappy conversations- made me sometimes feel I was watching tennis- the suspense of seeing who's gonna hit or miss. But carrying a chat on ELt related topics for an hour on Twitter?--not sure how it would go?

I don't know who the people are behind ELTchat, all I knew was that Jason and Marisa were creating some noise about it on my PLN, so I thought, hmm, this has gotta be good. I also did my share of shoutouts- my family and friends on FB who are not ELT folks would have wondered what the buzz was about.

So off I went...

It started pretty smoothly. I was able to follow the conversation; I responded to questions, although not all of them, but I think there were some interesting chunks of info being passed around. I did enjoy being there, but it made me feel like I was in a party (no, not the punk or rock type- more matured, imagine light Jazz being played in the background) . I was talking to sometimes one or two people, then I get silent, listening to what everyone was saying/posting. I had to wait for the new tweets to come up- Twitter dropped them in bags, too- sometimes 4-6 tweets at once. Manageable. But try 20-30 tweet-updates! I had to scroll up and down the page to find out where my message landed and who picked it up, and who carried the conversation. 2-3 people did, but similar to party conversations, people move on, and so do the conversations. Then after all that chattering, it just slowed down. I was thinking it could be Twitter's fault- the site gets bogged down when the traffic of messages become heavy. #ELTchat could have caused traffic... I wonder if the #ELTchat hashtag made it to the TOP Trends in Twitter... Let me know if it did.

Marisa posted on Twitter that the chat was archived and uploaded, and is now available for everyone to read.  Here is the link if you're interested in reading it,

The transcript is a great source of data if you're into Discourse analysis- see how many subtopics came up and how long each topic-thread lasted. Cool, huh? Would love to do it but I'm pretty focused on finishing my dissertation- to be handed in for review next week!

But what I'd like to show you is this,
The graphic is not only visually attractive but the data it provided is simply impressive. Marisa, Jason, and to all the ELTchat organizers, you've got to have a webinar on how to use this site!

It was able to archive the following data:
number of tweets: 1,285 Tweets
when the archive and visualization was last updated: 21 hours ago

I realized that this site updates every 24 hours, which means the gathering of data is continuously performed. So, if I'm only interested on what happened on Sept. 15 during the first ELT chat on student motivation, does/can this site give me that info? Do we have that info? Is someone keeping track of the data i.e. tweets data for chat 1, chat 2, etc.

Anyway, I was happy that I participated in this endeavor. I'm sure we're all learning as we go.

Thanks ELT chat for that Twitteriffic experience!


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