First off, here’s a 10-second description of what #edchat is. (Not perfect but it’s a start) Did you know there are hundreds of teachers and academic administrators sharing all kinds of information on a regular basis? In fact, there’s so much information being shared that it’s hard to keep up with it all.Around the world, educators are using the hashtag #edchat on Twitter to tag their posts so they’re easily found by people participating in a regular discussion.
If you need a refresher on Twitter in general, be sure to check out The Ultimate Twitter Guidebook For Teachers here. If you want to learn more about when all education-related hashtag-based chats are happening, click here.
There is so much information flowing through the #edchat hashtag that it’s unreasonable to even try and read every single tweet. I’ve tried. It made my head hurt. What’s a user to do?
Lucky for you, there are a few ways to monitor #edchat so it’s a bit easier to digest and participate. In fact, I just whipped up a monitoring site specifically devoted to #edchat right on Edudemic. Here are more details about that and a few other ways to monitor #edchat. (writeups courtesy Media Bistro)
Despite the few other ways to monitor a hashtag, there really isn’t one specifically dedicated to #EdChat. I created the #EdChat Live View after tonight’s session left me gasping for air. There was just so much information shared and I didn’t have time to participate as much as I’d like due to the fact that I had to a) sift through my tweets to find the best #edchat tweets and b) my feed kept stalling or not working properly.
#EdChat Live View is an auto-loading feed of everything #EdChat. No need to reload or anything, just watch the information flow. Want to take part? I added in a helpful tweet box at the top of the page so you can join in the fun. I’ll be adding in the ability to reply and DM people in the future but for now the page is ready to have you use it for all things #edchat. Let me know what you think by tweeting (perhaps from the Live View site!) to me over at @edudemic.
NOTE: I know it’s not perfect. It needs a link shortener, @replies, etc. It’s a work in progress so please let me know if you have technical issues with it.
Monitter lets you monitor hashtags like #edchat in real-time from their website. You can monitor up to 3 hashtags (#edchat, #mathchat, #spedchat perhaps?) at once, which appear in three columns with the newest tweets in each column popping up at the top. While there is no option to store the data, you can still watch what’s being said on a particular topic as-it-happens, which is a powerful way to get in on the conversation. Monitter also offers the ability to populate the columns with Twitter’s current trends, which will give you insight into the top three things that people are talking about on Twitter, right now.
While HootSuite is known primarily as a tool to manage multiple social networks from a single dashboard, it has great hashtag monitoring functionality as well. Once you’ve set up your dashboard, you can add up to 10 streams per account that can monitor hashtags like #edchat, @mentions, keywords and more. HootSuite displays these in real-time, and also stores them when you’re offline so you always have access to the entire conversation, whether it happened when you were on vacation or in the other room.
If you’re looking for simplicity, TwitterFall’s the app to go to to monitor #edchat (and really any other hashtag). It displays a single stream of tweets related to a hashtag that you’re interested in following. It displays the pic and username of the person tweeting within your hashtag conversation, and it also gives you the ability to retweet, follow, DM, or otherwise interact with that person. You can also follow lists, trending topics, geo-location-based tweets and more.
TweetChat lets you join in on the #edchat conversation as well as monitor it. Once you sign in with you Twitter account, you simply select the hastag to monitor and TweetChat will display the most recent tweets that include that hashtag. But what’s most interesting about this app is that it adds that hashtag to your own tweets so that you can be an active participant in the conversation. This effectively puts blinders on all the other conversations happening on Twitter, and creates a chat-room style experience for you that revolves around a single hashtag.
What Do You Use?
These are just a few of the ways that people follow hashtag chats. Do you use Twitter.com? What about some other unknown-to-me fancy site that may be the answer to my prayers? Let me know in the comments or by mentioning @edudemic on Twitter!