More Effectively Managing The Twitter Data Stream While Participating With The MusEdChat

TwitterQuick Update 4/5/2010: I’ve updated the TweetGrid Template.  –Try this new template here

Last week was the inaugural launch of the weekly Music Education Twitter Chat.  If you participated, you witnessed and were involved with one of the most significant Music Education Web 2.0 Events to ever take place to date.  This first-ever “chat”was captured in its entirety using twapperkeeper.com and has been saved in Google Docs so that it can be mined for data at later dates. 

This purpose of this article is to provide detail about the MusEdChat event and suggest a number of ways to more effectively manage and process the deluge of information that is generated during the musedchat session.   For the sake of simplicity, I am going to continue this post using multiple headers:

Twitter Basics:

  • In order to participate in the Music Education Twitter chat you need to have an active twitter account
  • Concept -> Twitter is a type of messaging/syndication service that allows you to type a message up to 140 characters long -known as a TWEET
  • Concept -> Following a user allows you to “tune in” messages from the people that you have selected to Follow
  • Concept ->@pisanojm or @yourname is your twitter username – your Twitter URL is simply http://twitter.com/pisanojm (your @name without the “@”)
  • Concept -> @name when placed in a message will alert a Twitter User that you are tweeting to them or replying to them
  • Concept -> RT (usually followed by @user) in a message signifies that a message being posted by an @user is being RE-Tweeted and the content is someone else’s not yours
  • Concept -> Direct Message a “d” preceding a username signifies a Direct Message (Ex. d @pisanojm) -You can only send a DM if both of the users are following each other
  • Concept -> Hash-Tags -These are used in Twitter to allow users to maintain observation and focus on a particular subject –Hash-tags are preceded by a “#” sign (Ex. #musedchat)
  • If you are new to Twitter and the #musedchat, consider following @pisanojm and @Zweibz7 when you sign up for your Twitter account -tweet them any questions you may have…

#MusEdChat Basics:

  • The home of the #musedchat phenomena is found here at MusicEdMajor.Net
  • A Twitter Topic Poll will be conducted prior to each of the Music Education Twitter Chats and anyone may vote on the topic
    • The link to the current poll may be found at MusicEdMajor.Net
    • Each Music Education Twitter Chat will be archived in a Google Doc (Spreadsheet) at MusicEdMajor.Net
  • The time of the Music Education Twitter Chat is currently EVERY Monday at 8:00 p.m. EST and ends at 9:00 p.m. EST
  • The Hash-Tag used to filter and funnel the Music Education Twitter Chat is #musedchat (Barbara -crystal clear?) :)
    • You must be searching and displaying the #musedchat tag in a Twitter Application in order to participate effectively with the Twitter Chat -else you will be missing just about everything discussed
  • An academic, civil, and friendly conversation is the order of the day for all participants

Managing the Flow of Information:

Contrary to common-sense for most novice Twitter users, the Twitter.com website is NOT the best tool to use for the #musedchat.  In actuality, it’s quite cumbersome for this purpose.  The following are my suggestions of alternative Twitter applications that will allow you to get the most out of the #musedchat and manage the flow of the #musedchat data stream more effectively:

TweetChat.Com @ http://tweetchat.com

TweetChat App

  • Very Fast Twitter Updates (Selectable API)
  • You do not need do download any additional programs to use this program
  • Enter the #musedchat hash-tag in the top center to start tracking the conversation
  • Tweetchat.com offers two basic modes of operation: Not Signed In and Signed In
    • When Not Signed In -TweetChat will function as an easily viewable time-line of Tweets
    • When Signed In -TweetChat will allow you to participate in the @musedchat in a much more focused and direct way
      • You will be able to Tweet directly from TweetChat Application without having to enter the hash-tag -it will automatically be added every time you type and update your status (provided you entered it in initially)
      • You can control the Refresh Speed and the Font Size as well as pause the stream.
  • TweetChat offers a good starting place for novice and casual users that don’t want to use a multi-columned format

TweetGrid.Com @ http://tweetgrid.com

TweetGrid

  • Very Fast Twitter Updates (Selectable API)
  • You do not need to download any additional programs to use this application
  • I have made a pre-set template for anyone to use with the #musedchat –Try this template here
    • Note: You must fill in the Hash-Tag to the right of the Tweet for it to be automatically entered as you Tweet
    • Note: You must enter your Twitter Username in the far right column if you want to follow your @replies
    • Note: You SHOULD change the settings in each column to reflect at least a 3-5 second delay -This is necessary to conserve Twitter API
      • Twitter limits the amount of API Calls that a user can make per hour  -Each column will pull against this API Reserve -Adding a delay will ensure that you have enough API to make it through the hour.
    • Note: You will have to Enter your Username and Password before you are able to Tweet
  • You can change the number of columns to suit your needs in the upper right drop-down box (be warned, more columns more API)
  • You can change the amount of Tweets per box by choosing a different number in the upper right drop-down box

TweetDeck.com @ http://tweetdeck.com

TweetDeck

  • Fast Twitter Updates (Complex, but Selectable API)
  • You will have to download this application by visiting the site
  • You will also have to install Adobe Air -you will be prompted to do this when installing
  • Tweetdeck will allow you to track and add multiple columns (information streams)
  • Tweetdeck is available in mobile versions
  • You can explore Tweetdeck here
  • TweetDeck will display the amount of API that you have left per hour by HOVERING over the column selector (middle bottom of TweetDeck)
  • May not be the best choice for the fastest updates…but still a good choice if you have the API setting set to update as fast as possible and you don’t mind being 10 to 30 seconds behind the other two applications above

Hootsuite.com @ http://hootsuite.com

HootSuite

  • Slow updates compared to the above three applications
  • This is a Web-based application
  • HootSuite will allow you add and view multiple columns (information streams)
  • HootSuite is available in mobile versions
  • You can explore HootSuite here
  • A great application, but I would not use this for the #musedchat as the quickest updating available (other than manual) is two minutes -If you are a casual reader and not really Tweeting within the #musedchat session it will be a pleasant view with this app.

I hope that this quick article will help many of you to get a better “handle” on the #musedchat.  If you have questions please Tweet me at @pisanojm or Andy at @zweibz7.  I hope to Tweet you all on on Monday!

                  

Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is the creator of many education websites, a lecturer, clinician, trumpeter, and conductor. He is currently the Associate Chair of Music and Director of Bands in the Calderwood School of Arts at Grove City College in PA. He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award and the PA Citation of Excellence. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators and the current Vice-President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He also writes for DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and is the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. Find out more at his website jpisano.com.
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