Blogchat: Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

Category: #DadChat

Some of the #blogchat participants on July 24, 2011

UPDATE: I can’t nor ever will try to compete with #BlogChat ’cause it’s the BEST. But, I’ve begun my own TweetChat based on my “A Dad’s Point-of-View” columns and experiences called #DadChat. Our inaugural chat was on April 20, 2011, and it was based on the “Love Means Saying NO” column. It began as #aDadsPov but we changed it to #DadChat. Like all chats, it will evolve but my gut says it will tend to be on more general topics related to parents, marriage, teens, relationships, and more vs. a particular “A Dad’s Point-of-View” column. The day/time is now Thursday evenings from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., PST. Write me with any thoughts at [email protected]

Thanks to @womensville, @lifeonprint, @PlacesFirst, @twchat, @macknowledge, @geekbabe (for a drop in of support!), @msclocia (also a drop-in – will be with us next time), @HHTalkes, @judiknight, @thinkingparents, @ThinDifference, @MatchesMalone, @notasupermom for joining our first one!

UPDATE: Sunday, March 20 was an important and very special #blogchat. Inspired by recent events in Japan, Mack Collier chose the topic: “How Blogs Can Be Used for Good in a Time of Crisis” based on my and Linda Sherman’s suggestion. Linda wrote the article that was regularly and deservedly referenced in the chat – Social Media in Times of Crises – Japan Earthquake Tsunami.

According to @BillBoorman, March 20th’s statistics were 2718 tweets, 554 contributors, 34% RTs, 73% mentions — all in 60 minutes! That does not include the spirited pre and post-chat dialogue that usually occurs each week and was continued well into the night, last night, due to the passion this subject raised. We all care and that was abundantly evident.  The top contributors, last night, each did 45 or more tweets and they include @LindaSherman, myself, and @wildheart4vr, @moondustwriter, @MackCollier (of course), @heidicohen, @netslug, @BloggerTalk, @1680PR, and @InAForeignLand.

My friend, @BillBoorman, as he always does, brought his British wit and incredible facts/knowledge to the discussion. I really love him but he makes me feel so dumb! Lol. Others that contributed mightily include (and if you are not on the list, forgive me or tweet me that you belong on it!), @JPlovesCOTTON, @SaraBAllen, @jaclynmullen (a new friend to me), @Gina_Radke, @Kathrynclang, @GuitarWithRob, @SteveCassady, @sherrylowry, @lesliefineint, @elijahweb, @MargieClayman, @PlacesFirst, @Corbie77, @ManofLaBook, @1680PR, @tc_geeks, @michelepliner, @oziomedia, @JulieSpira, @macknowledge, @CuteMonsterDad, @LoisMarketing, @VictorCanada, @tshaka_zulu, @HeyAddy, @terez07, @LisaPetrilli, @Tatro20, @AngelaMaiers, @BrandonPDuncan, @spydergrrl, @Ron_Peck, and so many others. These names were taken from the transcript of last night’s #blogchat and ONLY from the first 15 minutes or so. Yes, this list is long, but it gives you an idea of how many people participate and the POWER of this interaction.

Here are just a few of the tweets (remember, there were 2,718!), to give you an idea of what was said:

MackCollier: If you are just joining, we are discussing how blogs can be used for good in a time of crisis #Blogchat

moondustwriter: cool to see the input in the stream – crises can happen to any of us – what will we do??? #blogchat

AngelaMaiers: Blogs can be great curation stations- we can synthesize, organize , and make calls to action from mult. conversations #blogchat

LindaSherman: Just changed the URL in my Twitter bio to http://bit.ly/GambareJapan #BlogChat gave me the idea to do that 

BruceSallan: I’m seeing a lot of young people here 2nite. Your perspective having grown up with SM??? #blogchat

VictorCanada: One challenge for those that want to help is passing on bad info. I think a blogger should take time to verify info. #blogchat

BloggerTalk: Use your blog to tell your readers why they should donate in time of crisis #Blogchat

wildheart4vr: for me I saw the #Japan disaster break on Twitter local reporters weren’t on it until an hr or so later #blogchat

allison_boyer: It doesn’t take a tragedy to do something good using your blog or social media. #blogchat

MarthaGiffen: RT @LoisMarketing: RT @BloggerTalk: Use your blog to tell your readers why they should donate in time of crisis #Blogchat

LindaSherman: The @Forever21 campaign (100% sales March 18 donated to Red Cross) was well received. http://goo.gl/GgxBC #blogchat #blogchat

michelepliner: RT @moondustwriter @BruceSallan Most important thing w/ charities is how much actually goes to help their cause vs. their overhead! #blogchat

mltiburz: Donate vs Help interesting word choice RT @BillBoorman: I would never ask people to donate, I ask them to help.#blogchat

PatRobeck1ofHis: seriously good! RT @BruceSallan: Get to know ONE organization well and then YOU can be their trumpeter in times of crisis! #blogchat

contrapuntist: awesome idea. RT @terez07: @LindaSherman Donate ad space on your blog to a cause close to your heart. Great idea! #blogchat

BruceSallan: Wise RT @BillBoorman: The best thing you could do is give pro-bono time teaching charities/causes to be social for themselves #blogchat

AngelaMaiers: Great ideas and resources tonight, what is the ONE action we can all take tomorrow as a collective group? #blogchat

ClassicLegacy: RT @chrisyates11: 3 T’s! Give your Time, Talent & Treasure if possible #blogchat

oziomedia: We would be happy to donate our writing skills to anyone looking to #helpJapan on their blog #blogchat

socmedsean: Do you have a crisis management strategy for your blog? Can you use it to help in times of someone else’s crisis? #blogchat

ManvDadhood: RT @BruceSallan: For personal satisfaction – give of yourself rather than just money (give that too) #blogchat

LoisMarketing: #blogchat Remember that your reputation is tied to the charities you recommend. Have a generous heart — but also a smart brain!

Shanan_S: You need a goal in crisis comm (ie. evacuate people, gain donations, etc) No goal = more internet blither blather. #blogchat

BloggerTalk: 10 dollars can help save a life. Imagine if all of us here right now donated $10 to Japan #Blogchat http://bit.ly/fWyhDr

MackCollier: – we agree. and we agree to get involved, don’t sit back, vette the charities, share what u learn! #blogchat

geekbabe: Amen! T @BruceSallan: @MackCollier – AND, be careful who you trust – know who to trust! Do your homework. #blogchat

BillBoorman: Tweets about #blogchat have reached 53,921 people http://t.co/c5t8RFu via @tweetreachapp > If this was a cause?

terez07: Thanks everyone for great discussion+info #blogchat

BillBoorman: @BruceSallan If we decide on one Japan post i’m all for it. I don’t care who writes it.maybe @mackcollier #blogchat

GlobalGiving: @livepath here’s detailed info on due diligence if you want it: http://bit.ly/fEaD54 #blogchat

MackCollier: Thanks to everyone that joined #Blogchat tonite, fabulous discussion! Here’s the transcript – http://bit.ly/dY167t

PatRobeck1ofHis: Fastest hour on twitter! #blogchat

elijahweb: really enjoyed #blogchat

BillBoorman: Some #blogchat stats 2718 tweets, 554 contributors, 34% RTs, 73% mentions

The above random selections from this blogchat give you a flavor of the intensity and passion that is a hallmark of #blogchat. It’s an hour lesson that is intense, helpful, and the greatest “brain exercise” you can imagine.

Read below for more about how #blogchat works:

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In the past couple of years, I have gone from tech nerd to social media addict. At least that is what my family thinks, given my obsession with my computer and especially my love of the Tweet Chat “grand-daddy” of them all – #blogchat.

A social media whiz/genius, Mack Collier, created not only this particular chat, but created the whole idea of Tweet Chats. When I asked him a bit more about #blogchat being the first, he circumspectly replied, “#Blogchat wasn’t the first Twitter Chat, I think #journchat was, but I’m not positive about that. But I think it started in November of 2008, a few months before #Blogchat. And #hcsm started a few weeks before #Blogchat. But those 2 chats are the only ones I know that have been around longer.”

A Tweet Chat is simply another form of chatting, which has been around for ages on the Internet, but in this instance it is done in a forum of Twitter users.

Mack Collier has a blog which is his introduction to his blogchat, called “What Is #blogchat?” It is the best way to learn about this great hour of intercourse, as it’s written by the man himself, who created this phenomenon that is now copied and replicated on so many other subjects. Nonetheless, I will offer my thoughts, tips, and observations as someone who adores what he has created and brought to so many.

It works as follows: A subject is chosen, in this case the subject is Blogging, and the topic covered each Sunday night at 6:00 p.m., PST is picked by Mack and/or by a poll of those that participate (the latest was chosen that way).

Sometimes, Mack will invite various experts in the field to “moderate” this free-for-all of chats and sometimes it’s “Open Mike” which means any topic is up for discussion.

Sunday January 23, 2011, the subject was “Branding and choosing topics for your posts” and over 3,800 tweets were sent by over 750 Twitter users in 60 minutes – that is a rate slightly greater than 1 per second. Note: per Mack Collier, the record number of tweets for a blogchat is 5,714, when Chris Brogan co-hosted.

How can you possibly follow such a fast-moving exchange of ideas?

You can’t.

At least not fully.

There are tricks and techniques each of us #blogchat lovers employ. I have my few, which I could jealously guard, but one of the biggest things I’ve learned from #blogchat is that giving and generosity of spirit is the number one ingredient to your personal success in Social Media. Consequently, I am happy to share my tips, for whatever they’re worth.

1. There are different Twitter applications or web-sites that allow you to view and organize tweets in a manner that you choose. The one I use is TweetGrid. You can input the hashtag (#) of the chat you wish to follow and set it up in a number of different visual displays. For me, I use one window but I set the refresh rate, and this is THE key, to anywhere from 15-25 seconds. That is the rate at which new tweets are displayed. The default is “instantly” and that makes it nearly impossible to follow the flow. With that 15-25 second delay, it is possible to follow some of the flow, but impossible to follow all of it.

2. After participating in a number of these chats, my eyes have become accustomed to the speed and to particular people that I feel are decidedly worth paying attention to. They include @BillBoorman, @MackCollier, @ChrisBrogan, @AngelaMaiers, @MargieClayman, @JDEbberly, @BloggerTalk, @ICT_GURU, @HeidiCohen, @prosperitygal, @waynemcevilly, @RickCaffeinated, @JPlovesCOTTON, @LiveUrLove, @prolificliving, @MomInManagement, @danperezfilms, @judiknight, @lesliefineint, @kikilitalien, @LindaSherman, @ManOfLaBook, @techloaded, @timmyjohnboy, @CatsEyeDesign, @savvywordpress, @GLHancock, @lovestats, @moondustwriter, @wildheart4vr, @robpetersen, @copyblogger, @altait, @AskAaronLee, @Mandy_Vavrinak, @MarianSchembari, @griner, @ChaChanna, @DLWilsonsWorld, @YourLifeInGear, @tina_yip, @NicWirtz, @KauaiTalk, @HELENSStudio (first time was 2/20!), @allison_boyer, @PlacesFirst, @MelissaGalt, @geekbabe, @IanGertler, @Selsi_Ent, @macknowledge, @ElijahRYoung, @ToughCookieMom, @theafter5edge, @skooloflife, @themomwrites @ilovegarick, @problogger, @abbisiler, @JulieDiazAsper, @sarahlipoff, @pushingsocial, @netslug, @socialmeteor, @1680PR, @kristofcreative, @spydergrrl, @lizstrauss, @ambercleveland, @Brainmaker, @Great_Marketer, @karimacatherine, @claudiabla, @neilcorman, @CuteMonsterDad, and countless others that I’ve not mentioned, for which I’m gonna get hell. This list came from the transcript of Sunday, January 23rd’s chat  and February 20th’s transcript (list updated again after March 13, 2011 chat).

3. During the chat, I RT (re-tweet) those tweets that are smart, wise, or “right on the money,” and add a word of praise, a joke, or something short to compliment their tweet. This, btw, is another Social Media form of respect and courtesy — to RT a tweet you find valuable and you choose to share with your followers.

4. Often, you can’t RT because it’s too long (over the 140 character limit), so I do a very quick edit of the person’s tweet that I want to share and add a “P” to the RT so it is now a “PRT,” which means, “Partial Re-Tweet.”

5. I believe the chats can sometimes be too intense, so being the jokester that I can be, I will offer irreverent, but I hope tasteful, jokes and comments. Consequently, I’ve occasionally been dubbed “The Court Jester” of blogchat.

6. Another thing I enjoy doing is to welcome the new people that join us. I offer encouragement because it can be overwhelming the first couple/three times. Others will chime in or have already done so and we all offer suggestions of how to follow, to not worry about reading every tweet, and remind the newbies that there is always a transcript to read later.

7. And, of course I tweet when I have something I believe is of value to offer. I also will ask questions as readily as I will offer my thoughts. It’s my belief that asking questions in no way diminishes my stature in the chat, but humanizes me and let’s others also realize none of us knows it all (least of all, me).

Think a bit about the speed of this. #Blogchat has several hundred participants who churn out several thousand tweets – all in 60 minutes! Do the math. To stay connected to the flow of information, to absorb and respond to it, to really get the value and wonder #blogchat requires maybe, wouldn’t you say, you need a bit of focus?

For a couple of chats I had a glass or more of wine. MISTAKE! On at least one of those occasions, I said something inappropriate or not well thought out and subsequently misunderstood. I hate when I do that. So, instead I now often coffee up so my energy and attention is fully focused.

I think you get the idea. I think #blogchat is great brain exercise. It is also a fantastic class, opportunity to meet people from all over the world, and a mental challenge that almost has no peer. I love it. You will, too.

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Update (2/21/11) – Last night’s blogchat was on a very interesting subject: What is more important to an entrepreneur or company – a Facebook page or a blog? It was led by David Griner whose Twitter self-description says, “Blogger for AdFreak, social media guy for Luckie, weighty moral compass for the world.” And, while he was the guest moderator, our fearless leader, creator of blogchat, and all-around brilliant human being, Mack Collier, was clearly co-leading the discussion as well. In fact, he ended the night with the #1 number of tweets for the hour with 117.  

Now, you need to understand what that 117 means.  There were 4,002 tweets in the hour.  That equals more than one a second — approximately 67 per minute. Even though tweets are limited to 140 characters, try to imagine the speed with which the tweets are flying and imagine not only reading them, but making intelligent replies, let alone following the stream?!  It’s no easy task and last night was one of the faster blogchats I’ve experienced recently.

Now, I happened to have been a bit jet-lagged so I was a bit “off my game” in keeping up, even though I use TweetGrid and can adjust the refresh rate. That means I don’t have to see each tweet as it appears in real time, but rather choose the time to see however many appear in that time choice.  I usually choose 15 seconds, which would mean approximately 18 tweets would have appeared, last night, each time my screen refreshed.  I was getting exhausted as that was too fast for me last night, so I made it 20 and then 22 seconds.

There’s good news and bad news to that choice. The good news is I got 22 seconds to read each set of tweets, while the bad news is that meant there were something like 25 or so each time the screen refreshed.  So, maybe you can appreciate the skill, intellect, and speed with which Mack was hitting those keys on his computer keyboard…he averaged two tweets a minute!

David, the moderator, kept up darn well but finished with 81.  His job was next to impossible as he had to read as much as he could while trying to maintain not only his “cool” but his stature as “the expert” of the night. He pulled it off beautifully.

It’s important to note that the content available during this hour was absolutely fantastic. In my opinion, reading and digesting the transcript (which is really the only way to fully follow a blogchat) is better learning than most college courses related to technology. Even without the transcript, this hour of lightning fast, interesting, and intelligent information contained in 140 characters or less in the 4,002 tweets was astonishing.

(End of update, other than I’ve added a few more Twitter names to my arbitrary list of participants. They are in the body of this article, above)

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Get Bruce’s new book and Limited Edition (of 500) Poster, A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation at Amazon, iTunes, BN.com, or The Store.