For LSE Teaching Day 2010 we heavily promoted the use of Twitter as a backchannel communication tool and were very pleased with the results. Twitter updates relating to Teaching Day were identifiable by the event tag: #lsetd10
The 249 updates* were made by 29 people, 16 LSE staff & students and 13 non-LSE showing how backchannel communication can extend beyond the walls of a face-to-face event. The event had 180 delegates.
A large majority of tweets came from a small number people:
- Only 7 people reached double figures
- One person, @tweeduizendzes was responsible for almost 1/3 of the updates
- Top 5 tweeters accounted for 77% of the updates
Types of Updates
Tweets can be standard updates, replies (directed at someone in response to an update), mentions (an update referencing somone else) or retweets (one person re-posting another’s earlier update).
- Updates 63%
- Retweets 26%
- Replies 6%
- Mentions 5%
I have attempted to classify the 249 tweets based on their purpose with the following results:
- Reporting 43%
- Commenting 29%
- Enhancing 16%
- Assisting 7%
- Asking 6%
Below are some examples of updates from a wide variety of people (so the top tweeters are heavily under-represented!)
The largest group of tweets (43%) were ‘reporting’ what was being said, what people were doing & so on.
@Puplett: #lsetd10 Leape: challenge is to share good teaching practice
@jsecker: LSE Teaching day Nicola Lacey says skills should embedded in a course #lsetd10
About a quarter of the reporting updates were retweets. So in the following example my original update was retweeted by @Dcotton11 (non-LSE) amplifying the message by forwarding it to a wider audience.
@DCotton11: RT @mattlingard: ‘Digital refugees’ have been thrown into the mix by student panelist those who don’t engage or see a benefit #lsetd10
Almost a third could be classified as commenting. This may be a comment on what is being said or being done at the event as well as comments on other online comments.
@jenibrown: Definitely agree that there is too much PowerPoint in teaching talks conferences etc. #lsetd10
@jobadge: @mattlingard I see your point another of out staff @jon_scott does 6 mins audio summaries of key points much better for revision #lsetd10
@amber_miro: #lsetd10 really enjoyed the lecture capture debate
There were 39 updates that I have classified as ‘enhancing’ because they add some further information such as an example, a link or a photo .
@mattlingard: ASKe website that Liz just highlighted in the Feedback session http://www.brookes.ac.uk/aske/ #lsetd10
@dave_lew: #lsetd10 in the final session before the wine reception http://twitpic.com/1ow3sp
‘Assisting’ tweets include announcements & answers to questions. They mainly originated from the conference organisers.
@tweeduizendzes: RT @mattlingard: LSE staff – watch Nicola Lacey’s Teaching Day keynote online from 10am http://ow.ly/1Moo6 (LSE login required) #lsetd10
@lseclt: First session is the keynote by Nicola Lacey Teaching Skills through Substance starting soon in Sheikh Zayed #lsetd10
15% of the updates were questions:
@NanaChatzi: #lsetd10 how do we assess effectiveness of P-S?
@authenticdasein: most imp question of the day – what shall I wear for #lsetd10?
Promotion of the Backchannel
The use of twitter for backchannel communication at #lsetd10 was promoted by running two pre-conference workshops (slides) and a flyer in the delegate pack as well as making sure the tag was included in emails, on the website & mentioned in the welcome speech. During the event we also used visibletweets.com to display updates on various plasma screens at the venue.
* The statistics in this post are based solely on the 249 updates that were tweeted during the event.
Photo © Chris Fryer 2010