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The weekly routine of #PKMChat – Before the party

#PKMChat starts to be like an old friend for me. It rythms my week. While the first two weeks were busy catering for details or automating stuff, it leads now to more value-added tasks.

The first week I was running behind schedule slowly and slowly discovering the hidden part of a twitter chat. It’s like an iceberg. There is 9/10th of it below the water, invisible. 10 hours for a one hour chat seems to be the rule. It starts way before Wednesday and ends long after as well. I blogged on the inaugural chat here. I maintain a resource page for chat hosts.

The second week was far more satisfactory. While I still spend 50% of my time adding features to the construction block game which is Kneaver, I was more in control of the timing and the sequence, the orchestration of the chat.

#PKMChat operates around a script. The script if afterward combined with a base script (what I call the ritual )and processed by a function of Kneaver For Chat.
In parallel with the script there is a framing post host on this site.

Both the script and the framing posts are prepared on Google drive using a template like this one. Google Doc allows the co-creation of the chat.

This is my list of tasks, it’s a kind of “Check List for Twitter chats”

  • Monday
  • Earlier is even better to engage and co-create the topic
  • Prepare new Topic
    • Create a new script file. It is simply a copy of the last one, renamed it to match the date. Questions and details are emptied.
    • Create a new Google Doc file. It is simply a copy of the last one, renamed to match the topic. Questions and details are emptied.
    • Create the framing post. I made a template post in WordPress for that. I copy it for each event and update wherever I left TBC markers. I used the “Duplicate Post” plugin, not willing to spend time coding it myself. It’s not the best solution anyway. In some case the topic has already been planned long before in which case the framing posts contains already some ideas
    • Find Links supporting the chat. I’m not sure how many participants will follow the links but it helps also to figure out the extend of the topic and make sure there are no well known contradictions or platitudes in the questions.
    • Write the framing post.
    • Change categories on the former framing post so that the new one becomes the current one.
    • Send details to some people who reblog the invite. Due to tomtimezone difference consideration this should happen at least 2 full days before the chat.
  • Tuesday
    • Write the questions. See the post on How to write questions for Twitter Chats for that. The script and the questions can be changed until the very last moment during the chat. It happens that I have alternate questions or other phrasing ready. Due to the nature of PKMChat on the edge of topics it is not always easy to come out with simple questions. It’s common that questions are changed several times.
    • Announce the chat
    • – on blog
    • – in the LinkedIn group
    • – in the Facebook group (no more used but still present)
    • Reset the invite list. The invite list keep track of who has already been mentionned to prevent mentioning tweeps several times.
    • Send invites in several waves
    • — regulars
    • — tweeps you would like to see in your chat
    • — people who expresses some interest or regret to miss
    • – Make sure topic and questions are available
    • — With Kneaver For Chat Host invites are automated based on lists, regions. The system takes direct the topic and the link to the framing post from the chat detail document.
    • — on your blog
    • – in your group
  • Wednesday
  • Choose next topic (so 10 days in advance)
    • The next topic will be announced at the end of this chat so it must be choosen before. Because it will appear in the script it’s best to choose the formula when writing the questions. Like this the script is only edited once. This means also creating the post for the next topic but clearing the Tag “#PKMChat” (plugin shortcodes would display it in lieu of current topic).
  • Upload the chat on Buffer from the script (automatic). I typically do it 4 or 5 hours before. Schedule reminders will also be uploaded in the process because they are part of the base script file. Pictures are computed, uploaded automatically.
  • I typically prepare some answers before the chat and keep them in a text file, ready to be pasted in my chat window.
  • Relax, cool down and enjoy the chat.

Next post will describe how the chat happens from chat hosts point of view.
Last one will describe the after party.