Text by: Jo
This is the second HKLC blog post about taking part in Library Twitter chats. Read the first post here.
What is a Twitter Chat?
Simply put, a Twitter chat is a big group conversation held on Twitter. They are typically led or facilitated by one Twitter user (either a personal or organisational account) who poses questions on a particular topic to the ‘audience’ using a specific hashtag (for example, #auslibchat). Then, people reply to the questions using the same hashtag. The hashtag is important - using it means all the tweets using that tag are collected in the one place, allowing everyone to see what everyone else has to say, or to catch up on the conversation later on.
You can just listen in on the conversation, like or retweet some comments, or of course you can get right in there and tweet! As the chat goes on, people might reply to, like or retweet your comments, or they might ask you a few follow up questions. Typically the chats take place at a regular scheduled time and are about an hour long.
Why get involved?
I’m glad you asked! I have lots of reasons:
- Learning: It is a great opportunity to learn the basics, whether you are using Twitter on behalf of your institution or for your personal or professional use. It’s like speed training: over the course of one hour you will quickly learn all the features of interacting with Twitter users, having your content picked up and retweeted, and also get a feel for the tone of the community you are participating in.
- Networking: I know networking can make some people uncomfortable, but Twitter is a great way to introduce yourself to people or to sit back and see who the influencers and leaders are in the community - you might even find yourself chatting to your next boss. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anyone: most participants are scattered all over the world!
- Getting yourself out there: Showing your personality, your expertise and your passion through tweeting is an opportunity to make your name seen and your voice heard. If you actively participate it is likely that you will pick up followers, and your comments may be shared with a large community of librarians. (On that note, I recommend using your real name on your Twitter profile - if a future employer Googles you, they will find your Twitter profile full of thoughtful and enthusiastic contributions to the library community!)
What do I need to participate?
A Twitter account and a device to tweet from. That’s it!
Where to start?
Below is just a small selection of chats that are at convenient times for HK participants - I have converted the times to HKT. For more comprehensive lists of twitter chats around the world, I recommend these two articles:
- #auslibchat: Facilitated by the Australian Library and Information Association’s New Generation Advisory Committee. Held 7pm HKT on the first Tuesday of each month.
- #critlib: Independent chat group about social justice principles in libraries. Check their site for upcoming chats.
- #snaprt: Facilitated by the Students and New Archives Professionals (SNAP) Roundtable. Held 8am HKT on the 6th, 16th, 26th of each month.
- #TLChat: All about teacher librarians. Held 8am HKT on the second Tuesday of each month.
- #LISprochat: Another independent chat all about library work - all industries welcome! Held 9am HKT on alternate Tuesdays.
If you have recently participated in a Twitter chat, or decide to try one for the first time, we would love to hear about it - it would be a great topic to write about for the HKLC blog. Please let us know!
Have you participated in any other great Twitter chats, or know of a great hashtag we should be aware of? Let us know in the comments!