What is a Twitter chat? How can I facilitate one?

by Isaac Coplan (KT Coordinator)

Twitter_logo_blue

A Twitter chat is a live chat event on twitter. It is organized using a unique hashtag that can then be tracked to understand the level of participation. A facilitator asks a series of questions (usually 6) during a pre-scheduled time period (usually lasting an hour). This allows participants to either follow along, or read a transcript at a later date.

“Imagine a business networking event—but without a dress code and with a keyboard instead of a bar. The same social customs apply—courtesy and respect—and it’s a great way to meet new people with similar interests. There are Twitter chats in almost every industry imaginable.” –Nicole Miller of BufferApp (Twitter Chat 101).

Benefits of using a Twitter chat:

  • Introduces real time interaction between stakeholders and researchers, service providers and/or policy makers
  • Connects people with similar interests online, growing your social network
  • Provides a platform for communication that can be saved, measured, and referred to in the future
  •  Allows people to participate from across the country
  • Can work well as one part of an integrated KT strategy by focusing on engagement, feedback and dissemination to a wide audience at a relatively low cost

On November 18, 2014, we worked with CanChild to host a Twitter chat leading up to their family engagement day. Here is the process that we used, organized by approximate time periods.

A successful Twitter chat can be organized over a few weeks.

Three weeks before:

  • Choose an original Hashtag: This can be done by searching on Twitter. Try and keep the hashtag as short as possible, without using one that is already in use. Try searching the hashtag on Google first, to make sure that there aren’t any other connotations to the abbreviation.
  • Determine a way to collect metrics: Symplur.com allows for a free service that can provide detailed metrics for Twitter chat related to health. However, registration can take a number of weeks; register at least 2-3 weeks in advance.

Two Weeks Before:

  • Write questions: Typically Twitter chats last for approximately One hour with a question every 10 minutes. Key participants can be provided with the questions in advance, however typically they are not made public until the event.
  • Select Facilitator: The role of the facilitator is to keep the chat moving, and to make sure that questions are being answered in the correct format (this makes it easier for people who want to follow along on the transcript afterwards).
  • Choose platform for Twitter chat: tchat.io is one that the KT Core have used in the past. Platforms automatically type in the designated hashtag, and focus only on content related to the chat. There are several other examples – and participants may opt to follow along on Twitter.
  • Begin publicizing the Twitter chat through social networks. This should include a brief description of the topic, the hashtag, the time and date.

At the event:

  • The Facilitator welcomes participants, and asks them to introduce themselves. This allows others to have a good understanding of who’s involved in the event. The facilitator keeps the conversation on track by asking questions in a timely manner.
  • Questions should be asked using the following format:

NDN KT

  • While Answers are formatted in the following way:

NDN KT2

Facilitators can remind, or inform, participants of the format. This makes it easier for people to follow along by reading the transcript in the future.

After the Event:

The facilitator can create a transcript using Symplur or another platform. In addition, it is also possible to gather metrics that include impressions, participant and reach. You can easily see how many people participated and how many people viewed tweets related to the Twitter chat.

What did the metrics tell us?

In the CanChild Twitter chat there were 41 Participants from across Canada. The posts were viewed 109,351 times (Impressions). Throughout the day of the chat, 344 Tweets Sent. – 268 of those sent during the 1 hour chat.

Twitter chats have the opportunity to quickly engage a large number of people on a specific content matter, and can increase engagement with individuals, organizations or researchers who may otherwise not be able to attend.

Follow NeuroDevNet’s  KT Core on Twitter: @NeuroDevNetKT

Follow NeuroDevNet on Twitter: @NeuroDevNet

See a transcript of the Twitter chat Hosted by NeuroDevNetKT and CanChild #CanChildKT

For more information on how to hose a Twitter chat see:

Steve Cooper’s (Forbes) Ultimate Guide to hosting a Tweet chat

Nicole Miller’s (BufferApp) Twitter Chats 101

For more understanding of how this fits in with a family engagement strategy see “What are some of the ways Neurodevnet is supporting family engagement.”
If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee, or if you represent one of Canada’s NCEs and would like to know more about NeuroDevNet’s KT Core services please visit our website and/or contact the KT Core.

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Bringing NCEs together to share KT Best Practices

by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

David Phipps, NeuroDevNetKT Core Lead, commenting on one of the presentations

During plenary: David Phipps, NeuroDevNetKT Core Lead, commenting on one of the presentations

During the week of January 26-29, 2015 MEOPAR NCE hosted a symposium in Halifax, Nova Scotia for all NCEs to gather and share what they are doing in terms of “best practices” for KT within their network. There were presentations in the morning, and the afternoons were allocated to 3-hour workshops on various topics.

 

 

Different ways to convey the same message about coastal erosion

From one of the workshops: Different ways to convey the same message about coastal erosion

I learned something important from one of the workshops I attended: that providing the same message in different formats is key for people to understand and remember the message (which is the first step toward being able to apply the message in practice/policy). One format of the message might be a photo that illustrates what might happen in a certain situation, while another way to convey the same message could be an interactive display: either an online tool or a hands-on model that can be physically manipulated to see what happens in different scenarios, yet another option is to hold a community event and encourage broad participation.

There were approximately 100 attendees, which included representatives from NCEs at different stages of maturity. GRAND NCE just finished its first 5 years and provided information about their open source tool they created called the “forum”. It is for project leads to be able to do collaborative reporting with their trainees, upload their presentations and publications, and export citations directly to their common CV. Mike Smit from GRAND said they wished they’d had this at the beginning, however it took them several years to develop – it is open source and an available for any NCE (especially new ones!) to use. TREKK described their quick reference sheets for ER physicians working in a ‘regular’ ER (not specifically for pediatric patients) who need reliable evidence-informed and quick information about how to treat the most common ailments children are brought to the ER for. These evidence-informed tools for practitioners go through a rigorous process before they are finalized. New NCEs such as Glyconet, SERENE-RISC and CellCan commented that this event was a good opportunity to learn from more experienced NCEs about KT practices and management systems.

NeuroDevNet’s KT Core (David Phipps and I) co-presented with the NCE Secretariat (Renee Leduc). Renee presented on progress reporting and KTEE expectations from the perspective of the NCE Secretariat:

and led an exercise with participants that helped them link their Network’s goals with outputs and outcomes:

David and I presented on the Co-Produced Pathway to Impact KTEE evaluation framework, indicators for measuring KT services and impact, and their database system that was created for tracking data on our suite of indicators that were created over the past 16 months:

Anneliese and David provided a hands-on exercise for participants that acted as a “part 2” to Renee’s exercise because following goals, outputs and outcomes is the need to create indicators – so this 2nd handout was a worksheet that helps to fully define indicators:

 

‘your presentation was the most valuable of all the sessions…it was your session alone that made the conference worthwhile attending’CellCan NCE

Booths set up in main area

Booths set up in main area

This event provided a great opportunity to network and get to know other NCEs in the NCE Program. Part of networking included the opportunity to set up a booth at no cost. Across from NeuroDevNet and ResearchImpact booths was the CYCC NCE booth. I tweeted and picked up some copies of checklists they produced for: involvement of children and youth in research, having impact on policy, and others that could be useful to NeuroDevNet’s work as we approach Cycle II. Several attendees found the materials at the NeuroDevNet (and ResearchImpact) booth(s) interesting, particularly the ResearchSnapshots and brochures explaining our services. Many NCEs expressed interest in emulating NeuroDevNet’s KT Core model including the CPPI framework and associated services, as well as our staffing model of a KT Lead, KT Manager and KT Coordinator.

The KT Core live-tweeted from the event from @anneliesepoetz and @neurodevnetKT and several of these were retweeted by @neurodevnet and @ MEOPAR_NCE.

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee, or if you represent one of Canada’s NCEs and would like to know more about NeuroDevNet’s KT Core services please visit our website and/or contact the KT Core.