I'm participating in Bout of Books this week. It's a read-a-thon, and you can read all about it at my other blog.
But, since I have to write something for today here as well, I figured I'd use the opportunity to sort out my chat experience. See, the first Bout of Books Twitter chat was this afternoon, and it was . . . overwhelming, to say the least. I saved a transcript on oneQube (I'll get to that in a second), and while unfortunately it can't tell me how many participants we had, it does say that in the 65 minutes captured, there are a total of 1,969 tweets. That's roughly 30 a minute. Even given the fact that tweets can't be more than 140-characters and therefore are relatively short, that is a LOT of information coming at you.
So, how did I survive?
Well first of all, I was using oneQube's SmartStream to manage the chat. I know TweetChat is usually preferred (I've used it in the past myself), and is technically still up and running, but it's been glitchy lately, and is soon going to be going away entirely, so I wanted to take this new chat manager out for a spin.
The first downside compared to TweetChat is that you can't just jump right in, you have to actually register for an account. Weird, but whatever . . . maybe it's related to the changes Twitter is making, the reason TweetChat won't work starting June 11th (I think that was the date I heard). So, if you plan to use it for a chat, make sure you give yourself a minute or two to do that.
This Bout of Books chat was slightly more overwhelming than I would have liked as a shakedown, but all in all, the SmartStream did what it's meant to do -- captures all tweets with a given hashtag so you can view the whole thing as one big conversation, and adds that hashtag automatically (sort of) to your outgoing tweets.
I say "sort of" because, while TweetChat simply reduces your character limit by the appropriate amount and then literally adds it automatically, this one puts the hashtag in your tweet box. So it's possible to delete or change it accidentally . . . or intentionally, I suppose.
The other thing I discovered (early on, luckily) is that when you "reply" to someone, it doesn't actually reply. It adds the person's Twitter handle to the tweet box, but when it goes through, it doesn't stay attached to the conversation. This is SUPER annoying (to me, anyway), so whenever I saw something I wanted to reply to, I'd open the link to that particular tweet in another tab, and then reply through Twitter itself to keep conversations intact. I also kept my own mentions page open in a separate tab for ease of responding.
(I'm sure this is all super-confusing if you're not on Twitter. Or maybe even if you are.)
I honestly wondered if I'd be better off just using TweetDeck for chat purposes, and I'm still considering it for the future, since oneQube isn't quite the TweetChat replacement I'd hoped for. But even though the hashtagging isn't as automatic as I'd like, it's still better than having to remember to paste it in every time. Not to mention, on TweetDeck it's too easy to get distracted by the other columns. If anything I'd probably just use Twitter itself. (Crazy talk, I know.)
But the other big plus for oneQube is the ability to instantly save a transcript, so I can go back and read over it later . . . and with a chat as massive as the one this afternoon, that's a very good thing.