No matter what field you work in, Twitter Chats are one of the most underutilized ways of building community and furthering your cause.
I’m not talking about just using Twitter in general. I’m talking about a real time chat that brings people together at a specific time to discuss a specific topic.
For the past 3 years, Creating the Future has hosted the monthly #NPCons twitter chat for consultants to nonprofit / community benefit orgs. That chat has a loyal following of people who cannot wait for the 3rd Tuesday of every month. With a one-hour chat that begins at 1pm US-Pacific time, people from time zones as far away as Jerusalem stay up till midnight just to participate. Our regulars often talk about this chat as the best “Don’t Miss It” professional development they can find.
And why is it the best? Because a twitter chat is not about an expert just spouting off facts. It is about the conversation that happens between all the participants. It is about the wisdom they all share with each other. And in the case of #NPCons, it is about the community these individuals have developed among each other – a community so strong that it has evolved into a Facebook group, so that people can continue to find each other and support each other throughout the month.
Building community, showing how that is done, engaging folks with each other AND with Creating the Future – there is a ton this monthly chat has done to further every aspect of the mission at Creating the Future.
How Can We Teach This?
Given all that, we are thinking of doing a webinar series to help folks learn how to use this powerful tool.
We have a pretty good handle on the format for the course. Rather than asking people to absorb it all in 90 minutes, we’re thinking about doing it as a 3-part series for 30 minutes at a stretch. We’re thinking of perhaps even doing a 4th part that would be nothing but Q&A, giving folks the time to think about and absorb the material, to perhaps sketch out some ideas – to make that Q&A session as meaningful as possible. We’re thinking about having worksheets that folks can use to make the material as immediately useful as possible.
All that format stuff is the easy part. What we’re really trying to figure out now is…
- Who might be the target audience for this webinar? What kinds of people, in what kinds of positions, would be interested in learning how to use Twitter Chats (not twitter, but the chats) to build community?
- What would you want to learn? What questions would you want the webinar to answer? And how might we break that content down into 3 parts?
- For those of you who have facilitated chats, what do you wish you had known before your first experience facilitating? What is ONE piece of advice you would absolutely want to share with people looking to create / facilitate a chat? What is the most fun for you about facilitating twitter chats? (And conversely, what is the most scary? The most challenging?)
- Lastly, what did I not ask that I should have?
Any and all answers will be helpful in making this a series you will get the most out of!