Instant Ideas and Collaboration
#uklibchat is a monthly discussion group that takes place on Twitter, usually from 7pm to 8.30pm (UK time) on a Monday (it used to run on a Tuesday).
All of our topics for discussion are proposed by participants and are added to an agenda circulated in an open document format via this site and Twitter the week preceding the talk. The document is available for editing by anyone, so please feel free to add things that you would like to see discussed! Questions from the agenda will be posed during the discussion and moderated by a member of the #uklibchat team. Responses from different respondents are grouped together by including the hashtag within the replies.
If you would rather just follow the conversation, as opposed to contributing, you can do so by searching for #uklibchat on search.twitter.com, or use an external website such as Twitterfall. We feel that to truly get the most out of the discussion though, it is best to chip in!
The conversations are summarised and posted as blog entries on this site so that they can be referred to at a later date.
So, you think you know about Twitter? If you are of the opinion that it is a series of 280 character messages predominantly talking (or “tweeting”) about what was eaten at lunch, who Tom Cruise is going to divorce next, or if Charlie Sheen has done anything odd lately, then you are missing out on a lot. Whilst Twitter does have endless celebs spouting nonsense, there are also lots of normal people, discussing issues and collaborating, all within that 280 character limit. Before you go any further in this guide, we recommend that you look at this blog post by theREALwikiman, explaining the basics of Twitter.
Ok, so you’re back. Now create yourself a username – it doesn’t matter what it is, though we think memorable is always better. Now you can either put some thoughts out there, share some links, or reply to someone else’s post by including their name in your Tweet. For instance, if you wanted to send a message to us at #uklibchat, you would start your message with @uklibchat.
The term “hashtag” might sound a bit weird – but it’s simply a way to have a conversation on Twitter. We use #uklibchat as a hashtag to have a conversation about particular library topics once a month on a Tuesday evening.
The #uklibchat hashtag serves as a great way for people in the library and information sector to come together and “find” other like-minded individuals on Twitter.
If you’re using the Twitter website, you can search #uklibchat Tweets by typing #uklibchat in to the search box. You can also click on the hashtag #uklibchat when you see someone using it in a Tweet and Twitter will do the search for you. Please note that when you search for Tweets, Twitter will just display the “top” tweets (the most relevant). To make best use of Twitter during #uklibchat, we recommend you select “all tweets” as the display after you’ve searched so you can see everyone’s contribution.
If you’re using a Twitter client such as Tweetdeck, you can create a column so that you automatically receive Tweets with a certain hastag – they’ll come up for you automatically when you login to that client, without having to search for them.
Our chats get pretty busy, and we have been known to have 100+ people all discussing the same topic or issue. Whilst this is great, it can be a bit like being in a very noisy room trying to have an in-depth discussion with someone. Pretty overwhelming, and hard to keep up with. For this reason, we recommend using a Twitter client if you have trouble following the discussion on Twitter.com.
The client is a third party piece of software that improves the Twitter experience. A number of the team use TweetDeck. Basically, they allow you to separate discussions with a specified hashtag applied to them from the rest of the discussion, pulling all relevant information together.
Alternatively, you can use a site such as Twitterfall to follow discussions – sites like this allow you to search for and display Tweets in a different way to Twitter.com without having to download a programme to your PC or Mac.
Try a range of clients and see which you prefer – it really is down to personal preference.
Google Docs and Our Agendas
Our agenda of questions for #uklibchat is always available beforehand as a file in Google Drive (previously called Google Docs). Google Drive is an easy way of sharing documents on the web – and is similar to other cloud based services you may have used such as SkyDrive by Microsoft. The advantage of using Google Drive is that it allows editing to documents without requiring a login. This means that even if you do not have an email address enabled for use on Google’s services, you can still join in and add items to our agenda.
To find our agenda you’ll need a link to it from either Twitter or from our blog – you can’t search for them directly via a search engine. Once you have accessed the document and made your changes, you don’t have to press save – any changes you make will save automatically.