Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Pros and Cons of Moderating a Slow Twitter Chat

This week I moderated our first #LibChatNZ slow Twitter chat.  After reading this blog post I asked Craig Kemp for some more information.

We decided it was worth giving it a go, and here's what I thought about it:


  • The format allows for a considered response to be posted at the most convenient time for the participant.
  • The speed of the chat is more user-friendly for new Twitter users, as opposed to the high-speed one hour chat version.
  • There is enough time to consider all the responses and reply to most of them.  A conversation about a particular comment can take as long as required and not feel rushed by the fact that a new question has just been asked.
  • It allows for an extended consideration of one question.

  • It is hard for participants to remember to contribute every day for a week, but if you are constantly reminding people that it's on it feels like you're nagging!
  • You lose the momentum that comes from having everyone contributing at the same time.  People can post when no-one else is online so opportunities for conversation can be missed.
  • Moderating takes a whole week!
  • The questions used need to be meaty enough to generate a whole day's discussion.  This takes out the smaller, introductory questions that you might use to build up momentum with a traditional Twitter chat.

Our chat this week was also badly timed as it was the first week back to school for many of us.  That makes it hard to know whether it was the timing or the format that reduced the amount of participants...probably both!  

If you are moderating a smaller slow chat I would recommend using and adapting a recipe that allows you to get sent an email every time that someone uses your hashtag.  I hadn't used the site before but it was relatively easy to do.  And you can turn it off once you are finished.

I think that a slow chat might work nicely if you are trying to gather information and not necessarily needing to chat as much.  Or, if you have a large amount of participants who are going to be regularly contributing over the course of the week.  Otherwise, I prefer a traditional one hour chat where you can interact immediately with others and it feels more vibrant and energetic.

Have you taken part in a slow chat?  What did you think about it?


  1. You did really well to moderate such a long chat over a first week of the term, Michelle. I think I prefer a shorter, more focused chat for most topics too. In previous chats I have finished buzzing with ideas and, although I still picked up lots of food for thought, I didn't feel as connected with the other participants.
    Thanks so much for all the hard work you do for #libchatnz, Michelle, it was great to try something different to ease us back into the new year.

    1. Thanks Esther! I think you're right about the buzz being missing. I love our little #libchatnz team and the fact that we are willing to try new things, even if they don't work out as expected :)