Let’s Get The Party Started

Original post at ianinsheffield.wordpress.com

Last night on EdTechRoundUp, Doug raised the question of #ukedchat and what people felt they got from it. There were plenty of the moderators there to respond (@colport, @dughall, @janwebb21, @ianaddison), in addition to others who also take part in these weekly Twitter unconferences/discussions. Without wishing to put words in Doug’s mouth, I guess he was asking whether it’s possible to draw value or sense from the cacophony of tweets . . . or whether it’s just like coming into a noisy room where everyone’s talking (shouting?) at once.

I guess I look at it a bit like a party. Being there from the start allows you the chance to acclimatise, perhaps start off a few conversations. If you walk in when it’s underway however, the room can seem incredibly loud and perhaps a little intimidating; difficult to pick out threads from the general hubbub. But then you join a smaller group and chat with them a while, become more comfortable and settle into the ambience. If the conversation in the group isn’t to your taste, or you want to speak with other folk, you politely move on. Maybe you find a group in which the topic is particularly stimulating, so you linger a little longer. Whilst nibbling from the buffet, you might ‘lurk’ on the chat from a group nearby. It’s pretty much the same in #ukedchat – you might lurk for a while, add a contribution, follow those of others, reply to them and follow up replies to yours. A bit less relaxed than a party perhaps and there’s a lot to squeeze into an hour; I know I find it tough:

My Tweet after the session on 15-07-10

It’s certainly a jam packed session, but is all the effort worth it? For me, yes. I’m exposed to issues and standpoints I might not enjoy during a normal working day. And I’m exposed to a discursive form which demands a different approach to the lingering discussion I might otherwise have over a cuppa or a pint. So it challenges me because it’s not my preferred way of working. . . and I like that!

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