Thursday, 24 July 2014

EdChats by Numbers

Any regular readers of my blog will know that the changing landscape of EdTech sales intrigues me. This has led me to exploring the importance of sales in the EdTech ecosystem, social selling, EdTech review sites and other alternative rollout processes... which includes EdChats.

Given my sales background, and the fact that I am on the supplier side of the fence, I've perhaps viewed EdChats from a slightly different perspective from other participants who are mainly educators. I've found that EdChats;
  • Have been a great listening post to hear what concerns educators have on various topics
  • Has been the where a quiet revolution is taking place with word of mouth sales in EdTech
But it has been difficult to listen to all the conversations when there are so many EdChats, but given what I've learned from the chats that I do join, I felt it was important to try.

For example, in the first 5 weeks of #EdTechChat I noticed that 40 companies were mentioned almost 400 times... and not one of these companies were present (I don't know if these companies even replied to the Tweets, if they did, they didn't appear to use the EdChat hashtag).

How many other EdChats were promoting the EdTech products that they liked in this way? 

I set out to explore this and have continued to do so at various times over the last 18 months.This exploration has been a source of frustration and opportunities in equal measure;

Mining Data...Nuggests of Gold & Pearls of Wisdom
ISTE13 Conference Twitter Data
The Connected #EdChatModerator
ISTE13 Reflections: Record, Rewind & Replay

I felt that the ideas that I had about some kind of EdChat moderator resources had merit but, until recently, couldn't find a platform that could deliver this kind of functionality.

NB I feel that the way that Voxer has rolled out amongst educators has confirmed the potential role that Twitter and EdChats can play with the adoption of effective tech.

EdChat Resources 
Last month I found out that the Twitter Chat platform, Nurph, had developed a Chat record and replay function recently which included the kind of analytics that I felt would deliver value to individual EdChats and help to drive EdChats collectively forward in a number of ways.

I discussed my ideas with Nurph who confirmed that the features that I was looking for would be possible, so we imported all the EdChat details into the Nurph & Chat Salad, and have been working on an EdChat strategy document.

We are about to enter into a consultation phase where we share our ideas with EdChat moderators to get their feedback before confirming the development of these plans. EdChats will be the focus of my next few posts to compliment this work, starting with this post which looks at some EdChat stats.

Moderator Best Practice and Cmgr Support
I've been joining Community Manager hangout every Friday since I heard about this group 6-7 months ago and have found this to be a fantastic source of information and ideas for the kind of ethical and welcome approach that I feel suppliers will need to effectively engage with educators.

I don't see many EdChat moderators attend any #Cmgr events but think they would get a lot out of them. I have assisted some of the moderators at the EdChats I join by passing on advice from these #Cmgrhangout sessions. For any moderators reading this post I think you will find these 4 #cmgrhangouts particularly useful;
I also think that most educators would benefit from some #Cmgrhangout sessions for engaging students, parents, employers and other stakeholders (more on that in a future post).

For the purposes of EdChats one of the main reasons that I feel this is important is because;

“Starting a community is the easy part… keeping people and growing the community is the hard part” David DeWald, Experienced Community builder during a weekly #Cmrghangout session.

Community building is not easy! Anyone who is trying to do so needs all the help they can get! In Managing Online Forums Patrick O'Keefe goes into the minutia of this topic. The kind of detail that he goes into when discussing choosing a name is phenomenal, the reason for this detail is because "You don't need anything extra weighing against you" when building a community... For an EdChat this could include the time you choose.

EdChats by Numbers
We've identified at least 219 EdChats with a total of 482 moderators. However, the difficulty with establishing an EdChat can be evidenced by the fact that some 86 other EdChats have been established at some point but appear to have been abandoned.

The feedback I have gotten has been due to the fact that there was lack of participation and moderators found the time involved to organise was significant. How much did some of these factors play a role:

Time of EdChat: There are 10-15 EdChats on during these times
Monday       20:00-22:00 ET
Wednesday  20:00-22:00 ET
Thursday     21:00-22:00 ET

EdChat Focus: Geographic based: 58, Subject Based: 44, Tech Based: 24, Student Services, Counseling & College Admissions: 19, Professional Development: 15, Leadership/Admin: 13, Age Based: 11, Teaching Methods: 7, Library: 6, Faith Based: 6, New Teacher: 4, Private Edu Based: 4, Student Based: 2, Assessments: 2

Number of Moderators: 3 EdChats have more than 10 moderators; 28 EdChats have between 4-9 moderators sharing the load, the rest have less than 3 people.

EdChat Branding: 48 EdChats have a Twitter account that matches the EdChat hashtag; 79 have account currently available, 84 accounts are taken (Although 57 of these appear to be dormant).

Even the most proficient Twitter user will struggle to keep up with 15 EdChats at any one time and, as keen as I am on all things EdTech, attending 24 chats a week on the topic sure would take its toll (I currently attend 10 Twitter chats a week and that's enough of a challenge!)

However, with (at least) 219 active Twitter EdChats there are a lot of analytics and data that can help current moderators with their community building efforts, and to assist any aspiring moderators. Here's just one example of this: EdChat Twitter Accounts

Missing EdChats & Consultation
We have a number of ideas and more data like this in our strategy document (Including an idea to get moderators to events like ISTE FOC), if you are a moderator and would like to receive a copy of the plans we have to develop some dedicated EdChat resources please let me know.

Also, while we have spent a while sourcing all these EdChats we know that new EdChats may have been established please feel free to let us know of any new chats in the comment box below or complete the details on this link: EdChat Survey (or if any changes are required for an existing EdChat).

Please also keep an eye out for other posts including "EdChat Moderators: ISTE or Bust"

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