#4change – A Monthly Twitter-based chat on social media for change

Yesterday I participated in the third monthly Twitter discussion called #4change.  This month’s topic was Opportunities for Collaboration through Social Media.  Some background reading @peterdeitz collab & competition http://bit.ly/zy5Z7 @hildygottlieb http://bit.ly/Po1V8

By the way, for those that don’t know, hashtags (# + a subject such as #4change) are used to follow conversations on Twitter pertaining to a specific subject.  For example, #kiva or #brooklyn.  You can read about hashtags here or just a quick search on the web.  There are many people discussing this topic at the moment.

(@ plus a phrase such as @LethalSheethal), is a Twitter username.  The @ sign signifies a specific Tweeter



This was the first time I’ve participated in anything like this.

I was training for my triathlon this Sunday so I was a bit late, but when I joined my first reactions were –

  • It’s hard to follow a Twitter chat (it’s like listening to 20 conversations at once) because people are replying to each other at different paces
  • Why can’t I filter for certain discussions to follow certain threads?  Perhaps “sub-hashtags” for threads within a chat?
  • Why do I have to spend so much time trying to figure out how to fit my thought and reactions into 140 characters and make it make any sense to someone reading my Tweets?
  • This is information overload.  I had to bookmark several links to check out later.  I am definitely a serious multi-tasker and a bit ADD, but no way could I read, follow, react, analyze and tweet

After getting over the initial issues, I was able to participate with thoughts of my own about collaboration facilitated by social media.  Some thoughts got lost and untweeted because the subject shifted.  To reiterate, it was difficult to read, react, analyze and tweet to everything.  I haven’t been on Twitter very long, so it could be that.  I would have loved to mention some examples of cities collaborating with their citizens through social media and some crowdsourcing examples.  I thought of mentioning umbrella groups asking for examples gaining scale from collaboration.  Someone probably said those things but I probably missed them.

Putting these logistical issues aside, I have many positive takeways from this virtual chat –

  • @engagejoe: I now see more kinds of collaboration: ppl-within-org, org-2-community, community-2-community, org-2-org
  • @engagejoe: I now see more kinds of collaboration: ppl-within-org, org-2-community, community-2-community, org-2-org
  • @tomjd: we must learn to collaborate as individuals first, then teach our organizations how
  • @socialedge: use socialmedia 4 greater transparency, efficiency gains thru shared knowledge/less redundant work+more sector/cross-sector collab
  • I learned again how many non-profits are having issues with social media because of the staff time, funding, etc
  • I met some great people involved with social media for positive change around the world and we are now connected
  • The discussion was still going last I checked although it was only supposed to be 2 hours long
  • KEY: Social media can be a bit chaotic and unfocused, but in this chaos, there are gems of creativity, knowledge sharing, community-building and collaboration just figuring it all out

And of course some links related to collaboration wrt social media to peruse in more depth at your convenience.

oneyoungworld.com – a platform to engage and inspire the 25 year olds of today

socialactions.com/social-entrepreneur-api -First Open Database of Social Entrepreneurs

http://bit.ly/bzVR0 – Top 10 Social Media Presentations from @socialedge

http://bit.ly/22PzS – Crowdsourcing for Social Good from @SocialEarth

LiquidPlanner.com – online project management software

BaseCamp.com – web-based project collaboration tool

Things I will do next time to make this experience better –

  • Set up the #4change search beforehand so I can follow better from the onset
  • Expect to miss the point of many @ replies without context
  • Look out for more resources to explore outside of the discussion time
  • Focus on the people and the network
  • Keep an open mind

Thanks #4change for setting this up!  Look forward to the next one.  Hopefully I’ll get my issues sorted before then.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by tomjd on August 14, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks for this great wrap-up! I’m going to be writing a post of takeaways from the #4change blog (http://4change.memeshift.com) and you’ve done half the work for me, much appreciated. And thank you for participating and all the great thoughts you did share. Twitter-based chats can definitely be chaotic and hard to follow, but I can tell you it does get a little easier as you get used to it. I hope you’ll join us for the next one!




  2. Thanks for your comment @tomjd.

    Are there other scheduled chats on social change on twitter (or other social networks)? I heard about this one from @kanter but there must be others. It adds some structure by focusing on one topic for a short period vs. the many ongoing broadcasts on social networks (disregarding the logistical issues I mentioned above)


  3. […] you to @lethalsheethal for her excellent and vastly more timely reflection on the chat. Having just discovered it I’d like to recommend http://www.printyourtwitter.com as […]


  4. […] you to @lethalsheethal for her excellent and vastly more timely reflection on the chat. Having just discovered it I’d like to recommend http://www.printyourtwitter.com […]


  5. Posted by tomjd on August 21, 2009 at 3:27 am

    #4change happens monthly. I know there’s been a couple of #p2 chats as well and there are currently weekly #socap09 chats in the lead-up to the conference. I’m sure there are others.

    Finally wrote up my reflections on last #4change chat: http://tomjd.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/4change-wrap-up-collaboration-and-social-media/


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