In the preceding two posts, I highlighted some of the reasons I like #lrnchat and also why I like #chat2lrn. As different as those two chats are, they’re both targeted at learning and development professionals. In this post, I’ll address another of my favorite chats, #swchat, the Social Workplace chat.

I can’t remember which of the people I follow on Twitter had joined #swchat, but I noticed a series of tweets with the #swchat hashtag and opened TweetChat to check it out. I was dazzled by the frenetic pace of the chat and struggled to keep up. I finally learned the questions were delivered by David Christopher (@DavidChris) and engaged. Whatever I wrote was retweeted by several people and I immediately felt welcomed. It’s become a staple for my self-directed learning on Thursday, fitting nicely in the time right after lunch hour (1PM Pacific).

Here’s a short summary of why I enjoy #swchat:

  1. The chat takes place every week on Thursday.
  2. The topic for the next week is usually posted at the conclusion of each chat. Because the social workplace consists of many aspects of business, I’m surprised so many of the topics interest me.
  3. There is often a guest “expert” in the chat topic who engages with participants.
  4. There are 4-8 planned questions that appear from @DavidChris during the chat and are published in advance at http://www.stopthinksocial.com/swchat/ (Brandie McCallum @lttlewys co-hosts).
  5. Questions appear at David’s discretion. This requires a bit of extra attention to be sure a question isn’t missed (I keep a Twitter window open to monitor David’s tweets). Not all questions are always asked, especially when there is lively discussion about some of them.
  6. David Christopher personally engages with participants in the chat. This is a nice touch. Both humor and sarcasm are welcome.
  7. The event typically draws over 100 participants (232 recently participated in the social learning discussion). The high level of participation makes following all comments a real challenge.
  8. The level of activity requires a suite of tools for me, so I’ve learned to adapt. I now use TweetChat (which often lags), the Twitter Web app (to see only Tweets from those I follow), and HootSuite to follow multiple streams.
  9. The number of participants also means more diverse opinions. Some disagreement is common, and I find that very educational.
  10. My mind is kicked into high gear as a result of the chat. It makes me much more productive the afternoon after the chat.

David and his wife, Liz (@LizCpher), are now experimenting with a social video channel (spreecast) to accompany the Twitter chat.

As I concluded in the earlier posts, participating in Twitter chats is a matter of personal preference and time availability. I continue to appreciate the diversity of the various chats and enjoy both their similarities and differences. #swchat is wildly active and enjoyable, but you have to accept you’ll never see every comment made. Participants are predominately from the U.K. and the U.S., although there is worldwide participation.

As always, thanks for reading! @tomspiglanin


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