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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chat Overload!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/andresmusta/
The other day I saw a great tweet and noticed the hashtag for a 1:1 educators chat.  Then I saw another great tweet with a hashtag for a Nebraska Educators chat.  And then I saw 2 or 3 other chat hashtags fly by and I realized that what was once just "Edchat" has really just gone bonkers.

If you aren't on Twitter then you may not be familiar with chats.  In a nutshell, if you want to have a topic that others can comment upon then you use the pound sign ( # ) followed by a word that describes the topic.  In the Twitterverse we call the #-sign a "Hashtag." With limitations on the number of characters and with people wanting to emphasize that they want to have a get together (a chat ) there are many abbreviations for these.

The oldest chat I became involved with was the Educators Chat or #edchat.  It was (is still) on Tuesday nights and there really weren't many others.  During the first year on #edchat I saw a handful of other chats pop up but none made me say "I need to follow that hashtag!" Then #edchat started to  explode with hundreds of people "chatting" during the hour.  This lead most people to use other dashboards besides the regular Twitter page. { Dashboards such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck allow you to create columns which makes it easier to manage the chats. }

Then came my favorite Twitter application - Tweetchat.  With Tweetchat there is only one column and it is totally devoted to the hashtag you want to follow.  It even puts the proper hashtag at the end of your tweet.  About this time I looked over at my favorite gatherer of information, Jerry Blumengarten (also known as Cybraryman (@cybraryman1)) His list of chats had, probably, 20 chats listed and I was amazed by that fact.  Today there are well over 100 education chats listed.  If you have an area of interest, there is probably a chat for you. Jerry just happens to be on the #edchat team, so he knows a thing or two about chats.

So where does this chat obsession go from here?  Well the good thing is that there are educators learning from each other and helping each other all over the world and at all times of the day.  But there are many of us who are amazed at the huge number of tweets with hashtags.  Some educators are moving on to other means of getting together.

The one most talked about is Google Hangouts.  With a Hangout you can have up to 10 people and you can share your screens.  But then you can share the hangout with the world.  So, even though 10 people are "talking" others can interact with the conversation through various means including, get ready for it - Twitter!  Just think, you could have a google hangout and everyone outside of the initial 10 could be using a hashtag for the hangout!  Makes my head hurt ( but in a good way...)

Don't be surprised when you see the following hashtag:  #rthanded55yoeducoachchat.  The chat for 55 year old education coaches who are right handed.