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