Part 4: Online Discussion Group: #slpchat

This post is brought to you by the word:

concatenation [kon-kat-n-ey-shuhn] /kɒnˌkæt nˈeɪ ʃən/

1. a series of interconnected events, concepts, etc.
2. the act of linking together or the state of being joined.

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Blog Hop graphicAt the recent ASHA convention, I was proud to volunteer behind the scenes and help organize the the Social Medial Learning Center booth.  At both the booth and the Learning Lab that was offerred, they talked about why it is imperative that SLPs understand and embrace the world of social media that is taking our profession by storm.  Whether you want to interact daily or prefer to sit back and listen, social media has become an invaluable resource for communicating with colleagues and staying on top of recent research and trends (as you well know if you read my blog – I can’t shut up about it).

The booth and panel were both quite popular and visitors expressed an interest in learning more that they could take home with them to digest at their leisure.  We anticipated that this would be the case, so several of us “#SLPeeps,” together with Heidi Kay at PediaStaff, co-authored and produced a simple e-book that we would like to share with you as a blog hop. If you are stumbling into this post midway into the e-book, please see the end of this post for all links in the blog hop.

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WHAT IS #SLPCHAT?

Shareka Bentham, a Barbadian SLT, and I wanted to take the increasing professional network of SLP/Ts on Twitter a step further, and created a discussion group called “slpchat” (speech and language professionals chat). While the #SLPeeps have constant discussion and interaction occurring on Twitter, #slpchat allows for a more structured discussion forum on a specific topic, at a previously advertised date and time (usually Sundays at 2 pm Eastern Time), moderated by @SLPChat – a profile created on twitter solely for that purpose. As moderator, @SLPChat poses questions to stimulate discussion and may suggest sources/resources, but does not provide definitive answers. The discussions surround a wide variety of topics in the field of communicative disorders.

The #slpchat discussions have been occurring regularly since January 2011, all held on weekends for greater convenience. Topics covered have ranged from Cycles for phonology, dysphagia/feeding, oral motor therapy, autism, first words, evidence based practice, literacy, fluency, AAC and many other topics. They have received great attendance and feedback from professionals in the USA, Canada, Barbados, the UK, Ireland, and Australia/New Zealand. Also, full archives of the previous chats are available on the blog (slpchat.wordpress.com)

The chat has become so popular that, in February 2012, #slpchat began to be hosted a second time, running the same chat topic in the same weekend, from an Australian time zone – primarily moderated by Lauren Osborne (@speechieLO) from Sydney, Australia. Also, Bronwyn Hemsley (@bronwynah) at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia helps out a great deal behind the scenes to support Lauren as well as the chat topics and blog posts. This expansion has allowed many more twitter users to participate in the chats, as well as more diverse topics with 4 people writing blog posts and taking the lead.

Anyone in the speech and language field or anyone related to that field (parents, teachers, therapy assistants, etc) are invited to participate. @SLPChat is also open to suggested topics for future discussions.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

If you would like to participate in #slpchat, you must have a (free) Twitter account. Once you have a Twitter account you must follow @SLPChat’s tweets. Be sure to be on Twitter at the designated time (posted on the blog and on Twitter when chats are upcoming) and follow the #slpchat hashtag to participate in the discussion and see what everyone else is sharing.

The only hard and fast rule for participation is that you include the #slpchat hashtag in EVERY tweet during the chat. This way, everyone can follow the chat and not miss anyone’s contribution. You do not need to follow everyone in the chat to participate and interact with them, so long as you tag EVERY tweet you make during the chat.

Also, if you are tweeting ‘privately’ (your tweets are protected) you need to turn your protection setting off during the chat for everyone to see your tweets. Protected tweets don’t show up (even tagged) to your non followers and sometimes don’t show up to your followers either in a hashtag search.

HOW TO FOLLOW THE #SLPCHAT TAG WHEN PARTICIPATING

There are several ways to do this, depending on how you prefer to use Twitter. Here are the most popular options:

  1. Search for #slpchat on Twitter (once you are signed in). You can then refer to this search (by clicking on the search bar and selecting it from the drop down menu) whenever you want.
  2. If you use Hootsuite or the old version of Tweetdeck, you can create a column based on a search. In Hootsuite, for instance, you would click ‘add column,’ (‘search’ and then type #slpchat as the search word). You will then have a dedicated column feeding only tweets with the #slpchat tag.
  3. You can use Tweetgrid to search for #slpchat in a column and even have more than one column (e.g. mentions, direct messages). Here is an overview of how to use Tweetgrid (thanks to @thecleversheep, Rodd Lucier, for posting this for his #educhat discussion group tutorial).
  4. Similar to Tweetgrid, you can use tweetchat.com to follow tweets with a particular hashtag. It will also remember to keep the hashtag in all your replies automatically so you can’t forget.

We strongly recommend Tweetgrid and Tweetchat during the chat itself to make following and replying to others easier.WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE CHAT

slpchat on AACDuring the chat, questions will be posed to get discussion going and keep it moving. People respond to the questions and begin discussing their responses. This is not a neat and tidy process. You can expect to see multiple responses at once but not in perfect order, since people take different amounts of time to respond and Twitter sometimes gets bogged down for a moment now and again.

It will usually take a moment for someone to respond to someone else and others will have responded in the meantime. However, if you read the tweets as you go, you can make sense of it without too much trouble. A few times during the chat it may appear that no one is tweeting, but really Twitter is somewhat overwhelmed by the number of responses. Be patient for a minute or two and then the tweets will pop up for you to read.

@SLPChat will continue to put forward discussion questions throughout the chat to keep everyone on topic (more or less) and keep discussion moving.

HOW TO FIND OUT MORE

You can subscribe to the SLPChat blog (slpchat.wordpress.com) to find out by email about upcoming chats so you don’t miss any, as well as visit the blog to learn more about how to participate in the chats and read various tips. You can also tweet @SLPChat, me (@SLPTanya), or @speechreka and ask questions at any time on Twitter.

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To continue reading the document and follow the blog hop, please go to Part 5:  Other Social Media Platforms

We will post the entire PDF next week, but in the meantime, please hop away and support all the great contributors to this fantastic resource! You can find all posts (in order) from our blog hop here:

A Letter from a Founding Member of the #SLPeeps

Discovering Social Media:  Growth Starts Here

Part 1:  Using Pinterest

Part 2:  Embracing Blogs

Part 3:  #SLPeeps on Twitter

Part 4: Online Discussion Group #slpchat

Part 5: Other Social Media Platforms

One comment on “Part 4: Online Discussion Group: #slpchat

  1. [...] Part 4:  Online discussion Group – by Tanya Coyle [...]

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