Surviving #edchatNZ discussions

I thought I’d write a quick post on how I survive #edchatNZ discussions.

When #edchatNZ first kicked off a couple of years ago, it was relatively easy to keep up. Now, the twitter stream moves so quickly that there’s no way that I can read every tweet that comes through (I usually try to begin with, but have had to give up).

So this is what I do to manage these fast-paced evenings.

Firstly, I start with the Twitter client, Tweetdeck. I’ve been in love with Tweetdeck probably since about 2009 when I started using Twitter and well before Twitter bought it (I think it had slightly better functionality before they bought it too, but it’s still good). There are other twitter clients like Tweetdeck but this is my favourite so I’ll ignore the others. 😉

Tweetdeck streams tweets in. No need to refresh or “load more tweets” etc. It’s constant.

Tweetdeck also gives you the opportunity to have multiple columns open with your standard Twitter stream, your notifications, messages and whatever search/hashtag you want to follow (and more). I’ve always got #edchatNZ and #edblogNZ open (and several others) but on our discussion nights I also open open #edchatNZquestion.

#edchatNZ tweetdeck columns
#edchatNZ tweetdeck columns

I also ensure that I have #edchatNZ, #edchatNZquestion and my Notifications column right next to each other. This way I can always see what the question is but I can also see what people are saying specifically to me. I often get distracted by the side-conversations that go on during a twitter chat, but I think that’s half the fun and where a great amount of learning and reflection occurs.

The other thing I do is know a few quick-keys. In Tweetdeck, pressing ‘n’ will start a new tweet. So I just press ‘n’ and start typing. Ctrl-Enter on PC or Cmd-Enter on Mac will post the tweet.

I’ve been using a Mac for a few months now and found (paid for) an app called text expander that allows you to create snippets where you type a code and it changes that code to whatever word/sentence/paragraph etc you want. I’ve found this fantastic for hashtags where I just have to type, for example, “;ec” and it will translate this to “#edchatNZ”. It’s great when you’re doing something with multiple hashtags like we had last night when we also joined with #aussieED.

I’m not aware of a similar program or app for PC, but there probably is something around!

My last tip is this. Don’t use a mobile device for a twitter chat. I’ve found they just don’t respond fast enough. Plus, although I can type quickly on a phone/tablet, I’m MUCH faster on a full-size keyboard… but that’s just me!

Happy chatting!