On May 25, 2017, after a long day of work, all I really wanted to do was power down and go to bed. A typical night for me usually ends between the hours of 8–10pm so my commitment to a twitter chat at 10pm EST was a challenge for me. Twitter is a new social media channel for me so the idea of participating in a twitter chat with #MediaChat featuring Tom Reid @GovConSME seemed daunting. However, I became energized once I remembered the chat would cover one of my favorite topics, mentoring.
I’ve never participated in a twitter chat so I didn’t know what to expect. I was worried that my inexperience would be embarrassing to #UFSMM. At the top of the hour, I noticed some of the first introductions so I followed suit and admitted, “This is my first chat, I hope I know how to do this!” Instantaneously, I received a supportive tweet by a stranger. The response was pleasantly surprising and helped me relax. Introductions lasted about a eight minutes and I noticed fellow #UFSMM students in the chat room. For me, the association gave me the connection I needed to feel a sense of belonging. About 13 minutes after the hour, the guest speaker, Tom Reid, introduces himself and then the chat room exploded with tweets.
It was confusing to see different tweets but what helped me stay organized was Tom’s template. He used the same black and red template to pose and answer questions. Every question began with the letter Q to denote question and answer began with the letter A. And then the numbers next to the question/answers corresponded with the order. For example, Q1 was “Have you ever been in a structured or unstructured mentoring relationship? Which is better?” My A1 response is, “I’ve been in a structured mentoring relationship, etc”. Questions seemed relatively straight forward and then it progressed into deeper questions like, “How should tough love or constructive criticism be handled in a mentoring relationship?” It sparked some ideas for me but I couldn’t come to a solid conclusion. I liked that Tom always provided a response as well as everyone else.
There were eight questions total and a conclusion. The questions were cohesive and by the end of the hour, I felt like it added value to my life. You can’t beat connecting with people on a high level in your pajamas while in the comfort of your own home. With only an hour left of this Thursday, #MediaChat ended up being one of the best hours of my day.