Today it's my first time leading a Tweeter chat (now I know how Tina Champagne might have felt with her sensory chat the other day). Good thing is I simply imagined that I am a sports expert (though the topic is in autism) as people are just firing away their questions and comments. I faced numerous good questions from the audience, from little things about me personally, to my POV on improvements in regards to OT practice. To my surprise, one hour went super quickly! Good thing is that because I am in Pacific time, so I can easily handle another 30-45 minutes beyond the allotted time.
Overall, I think it's a very good experience because I love to speak OT to people... and this chat definitely demonstrated my competency in the OT world! Fortunately, through two years of "practice", I am now very efficient in analyzing what I see into concepts that the OT community will understand in often around 100-120 characters (since that is what Twitter allows usually after you put on the hash tags and stuff). Since I am a relative Twitter beginner, though, I still exceed my allotted characters over half the time. So, I quickly read the post over to see if there is any way I can shorten the message. Through my "OT creativity", I am able to do that.
Will it be the wave of the future? Absolutely. Does it completely take the place of teleconference? However, no. Overall, I think in regards to using Twitter, I think it will be good for discussions that won't spark too much debate and/or something that people can easily chime in. Also, I think Twitter is more inclusive, as one OT student invited someone from nursing over to join in the chat today. If there are things that needs to be discussed privately and/or issues that could spark debates, good o' teleconference is still the best. Also, continuing ed courses most likely can't be taught through Twitter because of the character limitations.
Great points! Twitter could be an excellent tool to learn concise articulation of what we do....I had not thought of it that way. A goal of mine for 2012 is to learn how to use Twitter. I was on Capitol Hill the past few days and it would have been a great tool to communicate immediate successes.
The secret to a good twitter chat as a facilitator is that you got to maintain a good flow. For me, I used my laptop instead of cellphone in making Twitter posts (because I am a much faster typist). Also, I downloaded the Twitter app on my iPhone with notifications on whenever someone tags me. Last but not least, good internet connection is the key. Yes, it's annoying to hear simultaneous beeps. But, once you get used to the flow, then you won't miss a beat. Out of that hour or so, I only missed one question, which is remarkable for someone who have never done this before. Basically, one advice I have is don't press to try to answer every question. Sometimes if you can't make a concise response, just say so. Give the person your contact info (if they don't already have it) and provide the response afterward.