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Jeansonne | December 13, 2017

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Field Guide to moderating a Twitter Chat

Field Guide to moderating a Twitter Chat

Sometimes, we can just stumble into something wonderful.  I was following #designthinking and then found #dtK12.  Through a few tweets and DM’s we decided to start a #DTK12chat held every Wednesday at 5:00 to 6:00 PST.  I thought it would be interesting to have a field guide to help folks moderate a twitter chat with a group of people who are interested in building a professional learning network.  These are my observations so far about behind the scenes of a twitter chat with a network of people.

How to Begin:

  1. Follow some hashtags and people that are interesting to you
  2. Does a chat exist already?  Often “chat” is added to an existing hashtag. You should do a search first.
  3. DM’d your ‘interesting’ people with the idea of hosting a chat and provide a gmail contact.  
  4. Start a Google Doc and share it

Google Doc Live:

 Have a document that develops in a non-linear fashion.  

  1. Ideas/ Brainstorm: Set up a google doc to for discussion and general brainstorming to catch ideas. Include your name in parenthesis so people can follow up with you if needed. Sometimes there are running conversations on the page that can happen over a period of days or minutes. 
  2. chart of moderators:  that has their name, twitter handle, gmail, time zone/location, and areas of interests.
  3. Possible Time:  There are online tools that can help.
  4. Chat Topics: Figure out some possible chat topics and who would like to moderate them. Multiple names are fine.
  5. TAGS: We did not do this but I am adding it here. List  common set of categories so people have a common language for setting up pages in Google Sites or Boards in Pinterest or to use them in DIIGO.  You can also determine common hashtags to use as well. 
  6. Promotion Figure out promotion hashtags. Your local school district? Provincial? State? Associations
  7. Moderator(s) Responsibilities: (there can be more than one moderator). It is recommended that you have more than one to help people and field questions. Let people understand time commitment to do this. You may have people who will want to do more behind the scenes work.
  • Provide Topic and probing “how might we” to start the conversation. (Design Thinking is biased toward starting conversations with “How might we… “. 😀 
  • come up with a script for chat (see below for an example).
  • Promote the chat: include the topic and the time, time zone, and hashtags. It should be something other folks can copy and add their own hashtags for their interested networks.
  • document through storify (or some other tool that helps share and archive)

8. To Do’s/Job AssignmentsEveryone seemed to start just contributing but definitely some people took the lead in organizing. So far, we are noticing these roles.

  • Archiver: How to archive chats : we decided to use STORIFY : 
  • Proofreader: shared but best to have someone volunteer
  • Scheduler:  Upkeep, reminders, hustle the moderators to sign up, show up, keep up- We use GOOGLE + groups to do keep up. I am still not comfy with the whole Google + as I tend to work from tweetdeck.
  • Curator:  Where will this professional learning network grow? We used a GOOGLE Site to collect resources. I decided to use DIIGO and share the list.   Pintrest is another option.  See how those nifty TAGS come into play now 🙂  You may want to set up an LIVE GOOGLE CHAT DOC. Some people may not be comfortable with the speed of a chat.

Tips for Moderating: 

  1. I use tweetdeck with three columns:  #dtk12 #dtk12chat and my following list (mine is designthinkers and I have my moderators on there.) Some people will forget to add the hashtag ‘chat’ so a moderator may need to catch those and retweet them. This is where two moderators come in handy.  
  2. I have two computers. One to watch the screen and my active one where I have my script ready to go.  I do not do chats with a my smart phone.  It will go by too fast. 
  3. Set up a script and check the number of characters in twitter first. 
  4. Always have your hashtag in your script unless you use
  5. You may want to use an image to help break up the feed on a screen a bit. Sometimes the questions get lost in the feed.


Chat Script Sample (copy and use format at will)  


(Bonnie Jeansonne moderating)

T means a tweet.  Notes are there to explain rationale.

a few times a few days before feed your twitter promo:

T: #dtk12chat topic:  EMPATHY & the DT process. Wed. 9pm EST Bring your best research, links, ideas, & questions! #designthinking (note: figure out the best times to promote for your audience.)

5:50 – 6:00

T: Twitter up! For the next hour, my feed will be about #DTK12chat: Empathy & #designthinking. #bced #bclearns I am moderating.   (note: this is a good idea for some of your followers who may not want to see you pop all over their feed. )

T: 5:00-5:05 Intro and welcome

  • Welcome to a weekly chat about #designthinking in K12 Ed. I am an elearning k12 teacher in BC Canada & tonight’s moderator for #dt12chat  (note: you need to establish your online identity to create a social prescence. If you don’t have a link to a blog, consider it. You will begin to build a network from there as well).
  • Introduce yourself and tell us where you are and your role with design thinking. #dtk12chat (note: This part gives you an idea of how fast the pace will be based on the typing speed and who will be active in the chat) 

  • Get Set:  Here we go…. ! #DTK12chat (This is a transition from the intro’s to the topics) 

  • We will be using the Q1, A1 format. Please label your responses & use the hashtag #DTK12CHAT  (note: It will go quickly, also, it helps with organizing thoughts later.  Some people who come to the chat late will still be able to follow the ideas or contribute)

  • If you are over twitterized,  feel free to use google doc: #dtk12chat (note: some chats can be huge and overwhelming but people have good ideas. Provide the questions and the times on the LIVE google doc so people can take their time.  Not everyone has teenage thumbs). 

Schedule and questions

5:05   Q1: Define empathy. What do people with strong empathy do, think, feel or say? #dtk12chat


5:10 Q2:  Give a lesson idea/link  to develop empathy skills. Expand on doc  if you want to.  #dtk12chat

Empathy in Schools (large website) via @_Ms_J


5:30 Q3:  What are some top empathy based skills/strategies/methods/tools needed to do DT? #dtk12chat


5:45 Q4: POV are tough 2 write. What are some features of a well written POV statement? #dtk12chat


5:55 Q5: In summary, a #designthinking person needs empathy skills because…(fill-in-the-blank)…   #dtk12chat

6:00  Archive of #DTK12chat can be found here:

And that is how you begin a twitter chat with a group of people.

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