SLPChat is a (not so) new way for S-LP/Ts to share and collaborate on the internet – primarily through Twitter. The ‘chats’ are a designated time, date and topic that everyone can discuss together. We know you must have lots of questions, so here is an attempt to answer them.
So what is this SLPChat thing anyhow?
In the SLPChats (speech language professional chats), we will designate an article or topic for discussion. Once the topic is announced, everyone will have a week or two to read the article, view a video, or otherwise ‘research’ or think about the topic and then the chat will occur at the announced date and time. We will give you sources in preparation for each chat when we announce the topic and time for every chat. The chats will be formal in that they will occur on Twitter at a designated time, over the period of 1 to 1.5 hours. However, people will have the ability to tweet about it after the date and at no particular time.
Can I participate and what do I have to do to participate?
The SLPChat is open to everyone and the more people who participate, the merrier! All you would need to do is make a reasonable effort to read (or glance over) the designated sources or otherwise give some thought to the topic. There will be discussion questions and twitpolls throughout the chat time to keep discussion going. Even if you don’t read the sources provided, you may have ideas to contribute on the topic once you see comments others have made.
Do I have to be on Twitter to participate?
Yes, at this time you must be on Twitter to participate in the actual chat. If you only want to participate in the SLPChats and not use Twitter for any other purpose, it is easy to do so. If you already have a Twitter account, you need only follow @SLPChat to get updates on when the next chat is and the designated topic.
I don’t have a Twitter account yet – what do I do?
If you do not yet have a Twitter account, you can go here to create one – it is easy and free to join. Here is a brief description of how to use Twitter. When choosing your twitter username, please choose something short and descriptive – in Twitter, every character counts because you only get 140 characters per tweet! Once you have signed up, please ‘follow’ @SLPChat to get updates and to participate in the chat, since @SLPChat is the discussion group leader. The only other thing you need to learn about is using hashtags to follow a specific topic (in our case, #slpchat). A hashtag is a search word preceded by the # – it allows users to search for any tweets with this tag and makes it easier to follow conversations or topics on Twitter. Another important hashtag for speech and language related tweets is #SLPeeps.
What if I’m not interested in the chosen topic?
It’s no problem if you don’t read every article or participate in every chat. That’s the beauty of the discussion group – it’s open and informal with no obligations. If you are uninterested or unavailable for a certain chat, you are still welcome to drop in on the next one. You can also read the entire chat by searching for #slpchat or saving this search in your Twitter account (see below) plus we post an archive of the entire chat to the blog following each chat.
Are there any rules to participating?
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’ you need to turn your privacy setting off during the chat for everyone to see your tweets. They often don’t show up (even tagged) to your non followers and sometimes don’t show up to your followers either.
Finally, if you find yourself in a side conversation with someone else in the chat (e.g. a conversation on a topic not related to the chat topic), please don’t use the #slpchat tag. It makes following the conversation somewhat difficult for those who are not a part of your side conversation but want to participate in the chat.
How can I follow the #slpchat hashtag to participate?
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) and click ‘save search’. You can then refer to this search whenever you want.
2) If you use Tweetdeck or another Twitter client, you can create a column based on a search. In Tweetdeck, 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 dicussion 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 follwoing and replying to others easier.
What can I expect during the #slpchat?
During 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 overwhlemed by the number of responses. Be patient for a minute or two and then they will pop up for you to read.
@SLPChat will continue to put forward discussion questions and twitpolls throughout the chat to keep everyone on topic (more or less) and keep discussion moving.
At the end of the chat there will be an opportunity for everyone to provide links to their blogs and websites.
I still have questions – who can I contact?
If you still have questions, please email SLPChat@hotmail.com, or send a tweet or direct message to @SLPChat on Twitter. Or, you can add your question to the comments below and we will post answers.