Content, Conversation, & Context: How Educators Talk to Each Other in Twitter #Edchat
On November 11, 2019, I gave a talk on a recent research project as part of the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology (EPET) brownbag series at Michigan State University.
Despite potential benefits, conversations on Twitter are often hard to follow. Several factors contribute: the volume of new messages, the unruly mass of content, and the mashup of features that comprise the platform. For educators to participate in professional learning on Twitter, they must be able to find coherence in these conversations. Hashtags have been conceptualized as affinity spaces where educators can participate; however, Twitter’s threading replies together potentially expands the scope of the space in a way that has not been studied previously. In this study, I collected more than one million #Edchat tweets over a span of eight months and analyzed this dataset by volume of tweets, content interactions, and social interactions. Findings suggest #Edchat is busy and getting busier, intersects with numerous other Twitter hashtag affinity spaces, and hosts multiple kinds of conversations. I conclude with implications and recommendations for educators and researchers.