- New: Just like a standard email discussion list, members can subscribe to all messages, or if they prefer to reduce the number of emails they receive, they can choose to subscribe to just the top-level topics in a daily/hourly summary and then opt-in to further replies for any of the specific topics that interest them.
- A QiqoChat conversation also enables people to participate live on the Web, similar to chat. New responses stream in realtime through the “Live Updates” section. You can click on a new update and jump right into that branch of the conversation.
- Participants will enter shorter, more direct replies on QiqoChat. This allows for a more readable conversation, and one where each branch of the conversation gets attention and that important points are not lost by being grouped with others.
- Participants can reply directly by email. Not all forum software has this capability. Unlike with listservs, it’s easy to tell exactly which comment the new idea is responding to.
- Participants can co-write a summary of the entire conversation. This can be used by a skilled facilitator to provide light structure for the conversation and to help latecomers get oriented to where they should focus now.
- You can embed these QiqoChat conversations into a live event. This enables more efficient live events, because the conversation can get started prior to the event, and it enables the written conversations to get periodic surges of activity to breathe new life into them.
- Participants can bookmark ideas and return to them later.
- The facilitator can mark some ideas as “featured” so they show up in the featured section (in the search panel) and get more attention.
- There is a word cloud and the ability to search by many advanced options (most replies, most bookmarks, featured ideas, my bookmarks, my replies, etc).
- There is an easily searchable archive of conversations and responses in those conversations. This is a tremendous improvement over standard archives of email listservs.
- There are many advanced email subscription options, such as subscribing to posts that mention specific keywords or solely the responses that are down just one branch of the conversation. This prevents email overload.
- Participants can give a “thumbs up” the key ideas so that they rise to the top. The facilitator can keep those totals hidden if he/she wants to ensure more objective voting if that’s useful on a topic.
- Each circle has a main conversation to which everyone is subscribed to a daily email summary, and all members can choose to start a new conversation if they have several related questions or conversation starters and want a dedicated space to dive into all of them together.
We are comparing two formats for large-scale chats:
1. The content of an actual Twitter chat of 200+ tweets is at the bottom of this blog post. Most chat tools take this same format where everything is posted in chronological order and is hard to follow.
2. For comparison, we reposted those same 200+ tweets on QiqoChat at this link. A screenshot is below.
For a “mass chat” event with 20-200+ people in your organization, we think that you’ll find the QiqoChat format easier to follow and that the light structure it provides lets participants dig deeper into a topic and have a more productive experience.
Purpose of this Blog Post
Our company makes a tool called QiqoChat for “synchronous learning exchanges” which are similar to Twitter chats; they involve a large group of professionals getting together at the same time for a structured online collaboration.
In this case study we compare the association industry’s December 2nd Twitter chat of 200+ tweets in its original format to what those same tweets would look like on QiqoChat. We’re not trying to replace the association industry’s weekly chat format– it’s been great so there’s no need for change. Instead we’re hoping that if your association is interested in hosting its own custom “mass chat” event, then we’re hoping you consider QiqoChat as a tool you might use.
On Tuesday I enjoyed participating in an open Twitter chat with people who work in the association industry. This is a weekly event (Tuesdays at 2pm Eastern) which draws in great mix of association staff, consultants, and thought leaders.
It was hosted by KiKi L’Italien who posted 10 questions for everyone to respond to. There were about two hundred tweets shared by 30 participants within the hour. It was a useful and fun experience, but Twitter’s chronological & linear format has limitations which make a “mass chat” event like this less productive than it could be.
At QiqoChat, we’re exploring what a “multilinear chat format” could look like, and we invite your feedback. A multilinear format means that a conversation can grow in multiple directions at the same time without being too hard to follow. The goal is to make it easier for participants to interact with each other rather than just sending public messages back to the host.
Advantages of the Standard Twitter Chat Format
- The 200+ tweets from this example are posted below in their original, linear format.
- It’s easy for existing Twitter users to input their ideas.
- An event like this can reach many people, because many people have a Twitter account, but for an association’s members who haven’t already set up an account by now, there’s often a lot of resistance for various reasons.
- A Twitter chat becomes significantly hard to follow as more people participate.
- Participants are quick to share their ideas but seldom engage someone else with a response.
Advantages of the QiqoChat Format
- For comparison, here are the same 200+ tweets posted in QiqoChat’s more structured format
- There’s a slight but reasonable learning curve for participants.
- This “multilinear” format can handle much larger crowds without becoming harder to follow.
- People are more likely to interact with other participants and create conversations rather than just broadcasting their opinion.
- QiqoChat can handle a robust back-and-forth where people build on each other’s ideas, especially when an exchange involves more than two people. This gets complicated on Twitter quickly.
- Using the control panel on the left of the QiqoChat user interface, you can see the most common words in a word cloud, search for posts with specific keywords, find the questions from participants that went unanswered, find which posts are bookmarked, most-liked, and most replied-to.
- Bonus Feature: With QiqoChat there’s a unique feature that doesn’t exist on Twitter. With QiqoChat, you can let your participants connect with each other in small-group video chats before, during, or after the text chat to build deeper relationships and to explore some topics more in-depth. This functionality creates some exciting possibilities, and we’re looking forward to seeing and learning from creative uses of QiqoChat by skilled facilitators and other collaboration architects.
Twitter Chats are definitely worthwhile. They are fun, social, & informative for those that are already on Twitter, and we look forward to participating in many more of them. However, if an association wants to try a similar “mass chat” event for its members, then QiqoChat might be a better fit, especially if you expect a large crowd.
A question for you: What do you like or dislike about either format? You’re invited to post your comments below!
Raw Data for this Experiment
Tuesday’s Twitter Chat Participants
|# Tweets||Name||Twitter Account|
|1||Wendy A F G Stengel||@wendywoowho|
|1||Wired 4 Leadership||@Wired4Ldrship|
|1||Results at Hand||@resultsathand|
|1||Gnosis Media Group||@GnosisMedia|
|2||MPI Job Bank||@MPICareers|
|7||Megan Denhardt, CAE||@mdenhardt|
|8||Hrishikesh NC ||@HrishikeshNC|
|8||Jay S Daughtry M.Ed.||@ChatterBachs|
|9||Lowell Aplebaum, CAE||@Lowellmatthew|
|10||David Coriale ||@dcoriale|
Tuesday’s Tweets in their Original Twitter Format
We’re excited to introduce the synchronous learning exchange, a new and highly interactive format for online learning and collaboration!
This format works when your association gets a critical mass of people online at the same time on a recurring basis, say every 2 weeks or every month.
Members create video chat breakout rooms on the topics that are relevant to them, and the group self-organizes into these breakout sessions. Sessions are highly interactive, because members are seated at 4-person tables to give everyone a chance to participate.
Members can pop into different rooms and different tables to keep the experience fluid and dynamic. The format is the best of both worlds; it ensures that topics are timely, and it requires very little staff preparation because members choose the topics.
We’ve been experimenting with this new format over the last few weeks with members of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation and we have an upcoming event with the Maryland Association of Counties.
To test out the video chatrooms, visit our demo and click on “Connect Live”. Once you sign in, you can create video chatrooms with 4-person tables and jump between chatrooms and tables. Try it with a colleague to get the full experience.